Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009 by Peter Sciretta
Yesterday it was revealed that David Fincher is in “advanced talks” with Columbia Pictures to direct The Social Network, the story of the creation of Facebook, as written by Aaron Sorkin. But apparently almost everyone (even the hollywood trade newspapers) failed to realize that the film is actually an adaptation of Ben Mezrich‘s upcoming book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal.
Some might recognize Mezrich as the author of the bestselling book Bringing Down the House, which was adapted for the screen under the title 21. And those of you who read the story from yesterday might recall that Kevin Spacey is producing this new Facebook movie with Scott Rudin. Connecting the dots: Spacey produced and starred in 21. Yes, it all makes sense now. A lot more information is available after the jump.
The 272 page book doesn’t hit book store shelves until July 14th 2009, but Amazon already has a review from a very unbiased critic – Kevin Spacey (yeah, I was being sarcastic about the “unbiased” remark):
I first met Ben Mezrich when I produced and starred in 21, the film adaptation of his great bestseller Bringing Down the House. Ben has a gift for finding high-energy, strange-but-true tales and The Accidental Billionaires is no exception.
You may think you know the story of the Facebook phenomenon, but you haven’t heard the whole story and never like this. Recreating the unbelievable rise of the world’s biggest social network—not to mention the planet’s youngest billionaire, Mark Zuckerberg—Ben tells a captivating story of betrayal, vast amounts of cash, and two friends who revolutionized the way humans connect to one another—only to have an enormous falling out and never speak again.
Eduardo Saverin and Mark Zuckerberg were two geeky, socially awkward Harvard undergrads who wanted nothing more than to be cool. While Eduardo chose the more straightforward path of trying to gain acceptance into one of the school’s ultra-posh, semi-secret Final Clubs, Mark used his computer skills by hacking into Harvard’s computers, pulling up all the pictures of every girl on campus to create a sort of “hot-or-not” site exclusive to Harvard. Though the prank nearly got Mark kicked out of college, he and Eduardo realized that they were on to something big. Thus, the initial concept of Facebook was born; what happened next, however, was right out of a Hollywood thriller.
The Accidental Billionaires is the perfect pairing of author and subject. It’s pure summer fun—a juicy, fast-paced, unputdownable Mezrich tale that adds to his canon of lad lit. And Hollywood has come calling again: I’m currently working with Dana Brunetti, Scott Rudin, Mike Deluca, and Aaron Sorkin on the movie adaptation of The Accidental Billionaires. If the book is any indication, the film is going to be a must see.
All of a sudden this story is sounding a lot more interesting. Want to learn more? Here is the official description from the book:
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.
The book is available for preorder on Amazon for $16.50 ($25 cover price). Thanks to /Film reader Irwin for the tip.