Last August, I joined a Facebook Group started for Aaron Sorkin (writer of The West Wing, Sports Night and A Few Good Men) by his assistant Ian Reichbach. Ian was internet savvy enough to manage the Sorkin Facebook presence as Aaron poked around the social networking site so he could better write a Facebook movie for producer Scott Rudin. Vulture confirmed with Rudin that Sorkin wasn’t crazy and there was such a movie in development.
Cut to: yesterday, when a Variety story filled in some of the gaps for this mysterious project:
Columbia Pictures is in advanced talks with David Fincher to direct “The Social Network,” the Aaron Sorkin-scripted film for Columbia Pictures about the formation of Facebook.
The film will focus on the evolution of Facebook from its 2004 creation on the Harvard campus by sophomore Mark Zuckerberg to a juggernaut with more than 200 million members.
Scott Rudin and Michael De Luca are producing with Trigger Street’s Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti.
You’re probably picturing what I’m picturing: West-Wing-style walk-and-talks with Fight Club/Panic Room style CG tracking shots through floors, walls and keyholes. Which actually sounds kind of nauseating, but if you’re David Fincher and you need to make dialogue visually exciting, that might just happen.
What was not reported while the internet erupted in a simultaneous cry of “this is stupid” is that The Social Network is actually based off a non-fiction book titled The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by author Ben Mezrich, who also wrote Bringing Down The House, the book that would spawn the film 21…also produced by Kevin Spacey.
Logic would suggest that Spacey and producer Scott Rudin got their hands on an advance copy of The Accidental Billionaires and decided to option the project a year before the books publication date (us normals can buy our copies starting on July 14th), slapped Aaron Sorkin on the job of adapting it, tossed Sorkin’s script to Fincher, added some yeast and they’re ready to go later this year.
The book’s official description goes like this:
Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were Harvard undergraduates and best friends–outsiders at a school filled with polished prep-school grads and long-time legacies. They shared both academic brilliance in math and a geeky awkwardness with women. Eduardo figured their ticket to social acceptance–and sexual success–was getting invited to join one of the university’s Final Clubs, a constellation of elite societies that had groomed generations of the most powerful men in the world and ranked on top of the inflexible hierarchy at Harvard. Mark, with less of an interest in what the campus alpha males thought of him, happened to be a computer genius of the first order. Which he used to find a more direct route to social stardom: one lonely night, Mark hacked into the university’s computer system, creating a ratable database of all the female students on campus–and subsequently crashing the university’s servers and nearly getting himself kicked out of school. In that moment, in his Harvard dorm room, the framework for Facebook was born.
What followed–a real-life adventure filled with slick venture capitalists, stunning women, and six-foot-five-inch identical-twin Olympic rowers–makes for one of the most entertaining and compelling books of the year. Before long, Eduardo’s and Mark’s different ideas about Facebook created in their relationship faint cracks, which soon spiraled into out-and-out warfare. The collegiate exuberance that marked their collaboration fell prey to the adult world of lawyers and money. The great irony is that while Facebook succeeded by bringing people together, its very success tore two best friends apart. The Accidental Billionaires is a compulsively readable story of innocence lost–and of the unusual creation of a company that has revolutionized the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another.
Call me crazy for not hating this project, but if both Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher can safely put their names on it, shouldn’t I not dismiss it just because, up until today, it was “The Facebook Movie?”