We were baffled last Summer when Golden Globe nominated screenwriter/producer Aaron Sorkin had joined Facebook and announced that he was writing a Facebook movie for mega-producer Scott Rudin. Today Variety offers an unbelievable follow-up, filmmaker David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en, Benjamin Button) is in “advanced talks” with Columbia Pictures to direct the film, which has been titled The Social Network.
The movie will tell the story of how Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook with his dorm roommates, and how the social networking revolution grew to over 200 million members. Mike DeLuca and Kevin Spacey are also producing, and hope to have the film in production by the end of the year, if not early next.
Not knowing a lot about Zuckerberg’s story, I’m wondering if the creation of Facebook is enough to warrant a big screen film, nevermind one with David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s involvement. On the surface, the history of Apple and Microsoft has a lot more to offer, but was produced as a 1999 television movie (The Pirates of Silicon Valley). What has happened in the creation of the social networking website or the five years that followed that is so very interesting or dramatic? And why is technophile director Fincher interested?
For those interested in how Facebook was created, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
The advent of Facebook came about as a spin-off of a Harvard University version of Hot or Not called Facemash. Mark Zuckerberg, while attending Harvard as a sophomore, concocted Facemash on October 28, 2003. Zuckerberg was blogging about a girl and trying to think of something to do to get her off his mind. According to The Harvard Crimson, Facemash “used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the ‘hotter’ person.” To accomplish this, Zuckerberg hacked into the protected areas of Harvard’s computer network and copied the house’s private dormitory ID images. “Perhaps Harvard will squelch it for legal reasons without realizing its value as a venture that could possibly be expanded to other schools (maybe even ones with good-looking people … ),” Zuckerberg wrote in his personal blog. “But one thing is certain, and it’s that I’m a jerk for making this site. Oh well. Someone had to do it eventually … ” The site was quickly forwarded to several campus group list-servers but was shut down a few days later by the Harvard administration. Zuckerberg was charged by the administration with breach of security, violating copyrights and violating individual privacy and faced expulsion, but ultimately the charges were dropped.
The following semester, Zuckerberg founded “The Facebook”, originally located at thefacebook.com, on February 4, 2004. “Everyone’s been talking a lot about a universal face book within Harvard,” Zuckerberg told The Harvard Crimson. “I think it’s kind of silly that it would take the University a couple of years to get around to it. I can do it better than they can, and I can do it in a week.” Membership was initially restricted to students of Harvard College, and within the first month, more than half the undergraduate population at Harvard was registered on the service. Eduardo Saverin (business aspects), Dustin Moskovitz (programmer), Andrew McCollum (graphic artist), and Chris Hughes soon joined Zuckerberg to help promote the website. In March 2004, Facebook expanded to Stanford, Columbia, and Yale. This expansion continued when it opened to all Ivy League and Boston area schools, and gradually most universities in Canada and the United States. Facebook incorporated in the summer of 2004 and the entrepreneur Sean Parker, who had been informally advising Zuckerberg, became the company’s president. In June 2004, Facebook moved its base of operations to Palo Alto, California. The company dropped The from its name after purchasing the domain name facebook.com in 2005 for $200,000.