During one of the depositions, it is mentioned that the invention of Facebook made Mark Zuckerberg "the biggest thing on a campus that included nineteen Nobel Laureates, fifteen Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star." One of the lawyers then asks, "Who was the movie star?" and the response is, "Does it matter?" This movie star was, in fact, Natalie Portman, who was enrolled at Harvard from 1999 to 2003 and helped screenwriter Aaron Sorkin by providing him insider information about goings-on at Harvard at the time Facebook first appeared there.
Jesse Eisenberg, who is diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), said in an interview that one of the hardest things about the role was having to deliberately speak and behave in a manner he had struggled against in his own personality his entire life.
Mark Zuckerberg originally planned never to see this movie. He ended up taking several of his employees to see it. He later remarked that, despite some of the film's inaccuracies, they got his clothing right.
The only scene Jesse Eisenberg had a problem with was the scene where Mark Zuckerberg films his friends jumping into a swimming pool from a rooftop. Originally Zuckerberg, instead of just filming it, was supposed to join in as well. Eisenberg couldn't imagine Zuckerberg having that kind of fun. By the time it came to film the scene he was relieved the script had been changed so he just observes it instead.
The Winklevoss twins were both played by actor Armie Hammer. However, Ralph Lauren model Josh Pence played one of them strictly from the neck down. His face was digitally replaced with Hammer's to make them appear identical, as the two men are unrelated and look nothing alike. The two spent 10 months in twin boot camp to match one another's subtle movements and rapport.
Natalie Portman revealed during "Newsweek's 2011 Oscar Roundtable" that she gave a dinner party for writer Aaron Sorkin, while he was writing the script for this movie, to which she invited a bunch of her friends from Harvard. She wanted to give him the chance to listen to first-hand stories about the social life at Harvard University.
Justin Timberlake was the only actor who met his real-life character (Sean Parker) before the founding of Facebook and this film. Armie Hammer and Josh Pence met their real-life characters, the Winklevoss twins after filming. The twins enjoyed Hammer and Pence's performance so much they attended a couple screenings of the film.
Andrew Garfield came into rehearsal with a copy of Economics for Dummies. Inspired by that move, Jesse Eisenberg bought C++ for Dummies. According to Eisenberg, both he and Garfield read the introductions of their books and then put them down.
As part of his research, Jesse Eisenberg read a copy of Mark Zuckerberg's college application. Zuckerberg's essay focused on his love of fencing, so Eisenberg took a couple of lessons. He quickly realized it affected his posture and the way he moved, and applied that knowledge to his portrayal of the character.
The real Lawrence H. Summers called the film's portrayal of his meeting with the Winkelvoss twins "fairly accurate". He went on to say "I've heard it said that I can be arrogant. If that's true, I surely was on that occasion. One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole. This was the latter case. Rarely, have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind."
Andrew Garfield was originally asked to audition for Mark Zuckerberg but David Fincher decided he was too good at wearing his heart on his sleeve to play such an emotionally guarded character. Garfield found it helpful to go from reading for Mark to reading for Eduardo, because he felt that Eduardo tried to understand Mark through Mark's point of view.
During the night club scene the extras are miming their dancing and the music was added in post-production. Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake had to shout their lines as though they were talking over the music. Eisenberg said it was a challenge to not lose their voices.
Aaron Sorkin directed the last shot in the film. David Fincher announced he was leaving- Sorkin thought it was a joke until the production crew came up to him asking how to film it. It only amounted to a second's worth of footage anyway, but Sorkin got to announce the final wrap at the end.
On the DVD commentary, Armie Hammer and Josh Pence recount meeting the real Divya Narendra and taking him to meet Max Minghella, who plays him in the film. As a practical joke, Hammer and Pence told Narendra to talk in an Indian accent, as Minghella had been worried about his portrayal and wanted it to be as accurate as possible. Narendra played along, much to the horror of Minghella. Hammer recalls, "Max just turns white and he just starts going, 'I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!' And profusely apologized to him, for, like, thirty minutes."
Some behind-the-scenes footage presented as a DVD extra reveals that during the filming of the "facemash montage" (which shows various groups of Harvard students perusing facemash and rating Harvard women against each other for relative attractiveness), one of the actors was instructed to say, "of course she's hot; she's Natalie Portman" while comparing two female Harvard students. That dialogue didn't make it into the finished film, but another oblique reference to Portman's presence on campus did (she is the movie star referred to during the deposition).
Most outfits that Mark wears in the film are things that the real Mark Zuckerberg has been seen wearing in pictures, with at least one exception, a T-shirt from a theatre company that Jesse Eisenberg had belonged to.
When Facebook hits one million members, the number 1,000,046 appears on the screen after Sean Parker requests a refresh. The producers purposely chose the number to correspond with the running time of the movie at 1:46:46.
In October 2010, the real Sean Parker told Vanity Fair that he actually once met Justin Timberlake and that Timberlake wanted to get to know him better for his preparation for his role in this movie. Parker then replied getting to know the real Sean Parker wouldn't help Timberlake at all, because the Parker from Aaron Sorkin's script has little to do with the real person.
According to David Fincher, Harvard wasn't very helpful to the crew when they wanted to get as realistic a portrayal as possible of campus life. They had refused filming there ever since significant physical damage to the campus during the shooting of Love Story (1970). Other schools had to fill in for it instead.
Before filming, Jesse Eisenberg created a false Facebook account for research. Eisenberg opened his account under the name of Peter Sagal, the host of the radio show Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me! (2008), which Eisenberg was listening to at the time. He closed the account when filming wrapped.
The original banner at the top of Facebook.com included a stylized portrait of a young Al Pacino. It was designed by Andrew McCollum, a friend of Mark Zuckerberg. The banner used on the website in the film uses a portrait of actor Jesse Eisenberg (who plays Zuckerberg).
Because director David Fincher was unable to find any suitable identical twin actors to play real-life identical twins Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss, two unrelated actors were hired to play each brother - Armie Hammer as Cameron and Josh Pence as Tyler. Fincher thought that Hammer looked more like the real brothers, so for some scenes, the visual effects team photographed Hammer speaking Tyler's lines and created a computer-generated model of his face to paste over Pence's. Traditional split-screen work, with Hammer's separate performances as each brother stitched together in the same frame, was also used.
After Mark finishes the coding marathon in his dorm room, he then closes his eyes and slowly moves his head back and forth, and Eduardo asks him, "Mark, are you praying?" On the DVD commentary, Aaron Sorkin explained that what Mark was doing was davening, a word that comes from Yiddish and which generally refers to prayer in Judaism, but which also specifically refers to the type of head and body movements that Jews traditionally make while praying. Sorkin mentioned on the commentary that he considered writing Eduardo's line as "Mark, are you davening?" instead of "Mark, are you praying?" to make it clearer to the audience what Mark was doing.
The song that plays during the Opening credits is only played two more times during the film, and each time, Trent Reznor recorded the piano from farther away. Giving the illusion of echoing and isolation in the final cut.
Despite the "Erica Albright" subplot and Mark's depiction in this movie as being generally maladroit with women, during much of the period covered by the film, the real Mark Zuckerberg was actually dating fellow Harvard student Priscilla Chan. Chan, who was one of the very first people ever to join Facebook (on February 5, 2004), graduated from medical school in 2012, the same year that she and Zuckerberg got married. They had their first child, daughter Maxima Chan Zuckerberg, in 2015.
At one point, Mark calls the Winklevoss brothers the "Winklevi", facetiously using the Latin plural for nouns ending with an s. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg is quite the Latin scholar, having excelled in the classics while attending the Phillips Exeter Academy and taking advanced courses in subjects such as Greek and Latin while at Harvard.
During the climactic confrontation between Zuckerberg and Saverin, Zuckerberg can be seen wearing an Arm & Hammer t-shirt. Armie Hammer, who plays the Winklevoss twins, is named after his great grandfather Armand Hammer, who is speculated to be named after the company.
There is actually a Facebook page for "Erica Albright," a character in the film. The profile pictures are of the actress Rooney Mara who plays Albright. It is also listed that she attended Boston University.
Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher wanted to do the movie based solely on a 14-page book proposal that somehow got leaked to Gawker.com right about the time 21 (2008) came out; the book hadn't even been written yet, and Ben Mezrich wound up writing it in a hotel room with Sorkin right next to him, handing Sorkin the chapters as they were finished.
Joseph Mazzello claimed that he accepted the role as Dustin Moskovitz partly because he had just completed a World War II miniseries, The Pacific (2010), and playing a college student sounded like fun after such an exhausting role.
In Zombieland (2009), Jesse Eisenberg's character said that the best part of the zombie apocalypse was not having to worry about updating his Facebook status. While making that film, he had to have the directors and cast explain to him what a Facebook status was.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was not involved with this film adaptation of author Ben Mezrich's biographical novel 'The Accidental Billionaires', neither did he meet Jesse Eisenberg prior to, or during, the movie shoot.
Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz called the film a "dramatization of history ... it is interesting to see my past rewritten in a way that emphasizes things that didn't matter, (like the Winklevosses, who I've still never even met and had no part in the work we did to create the site over the past 6 years) and leaves out things that really did (like the many other people in our lives at the time, who supported us in innumerable ways)". According to Moskovitz: "A lot of exciting things happened in 2004, but mostly we just worked a lot and stressed out about things; the version in the trailer seems a lot more exciting, so I'm just going to choose to remember that we drank ourselves silly and had a lot of sex with coeds.... The plot of the book/script unabashedly attacked [Zuckerberg], but I actually felt like a lot of his positive qualities come out truthfully in the trailer (soundtrack aside). At the end of the day, they cannot help but portray him as the driven, forward-thinking genius that he is".
As an indicator of David Fincher's habit of shooting multiple takes, Armie Hammer pointed to a shot in which he takes exactly one bite of a hamburger before the scene ends, claiming that he was gorged by the time they wrapped shooting that scene.
Main video editing was done with Final Cut Pro, with extensive work on tweaking, conforming and fixing up shots done with Adobe software, namely After Effects and Premiere. In 2011, the film became the first Academy Award-winner for Best Editing that utilized Final Cut Pro.
Despite the fact that director David Fincher has been a big proponent of digital filmmaking since Zodiac (2007), this is his first film to have been completely shot digitally (both Zodiac and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) had certain shots/segments shot on film).
At the time of release, there were about 750 million active users on Facebook. If everyone who had a Facebook account at the time went to go see the movie during its theatrical release, it would have grossed somewhere around US $6 billion.
At the D8 conference hosted by D: All Things Digital on June 2, 2010, host Kara Swisher told Mark Zuckerberg she knew he was not happy with the film being based on him, to which he replied, "I just wished that nobody made a movie of me while I was still alive." Zuckerberg stated to Oprah Winfrey that the drama and partying of the film is mostly fiction, explaining "this is my life, so I know it's not so dramatic," and that he spent most of the past six years focusing, working hard, and coding Facebook. Speaking to an audience at Stanford University, Zuckerberg stated that the film portrayed his motivations for creating Facebook inaccurately; instead of an effort to "get girls", he says he created the site because he enjoys "building things". However, he added that the film accurately depicted his real-life wardrobe, saying, "It's interesting the stuff that they focused on getting right - like every single shirt and fleece they had in that movie is actually a shirt or fleece that I own."
Divya Narendra said that he was "initially surprised" to see himself portrayed by the non-Indian actor Max Minghella, but also admitted that the actor did a "good job in pushing the dialogue forward and creating a sense of urgency in what was a very frustrating period."
While Mark forgets to pick up Eduardo at the airport in the film, Mark Zuckerberg actually remembered to pick up Eduardo Saverin in real life. It was changed in the movie to add more depth to the characters.
Indian American Divya Narendra was played by English actor Max Minghella, who is of Italian, Scottish, and Chinese descent, not without minor controversy. The DVD Commentary with the cast stated that Minghella was artificially tanned for the role, which lead to a hilarious moment when Armie Hammer and Josh Pence met the real Divya Narendra. They decided to introduce him to Minghella and convinced him (as a joke) to speak in a thick Sim Sim Salabim accent. Upon hearing him, Minghella turned white and spent the next 30 minutes apologizing profusely for his performance.
The sequence where Mark leaves a classroom and meets the Winklevii in the hallway was filmed at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The classroom he exits is in a different building (Taper Hall of Humanities) from the hallway in which he meets the twins (Grace Ford Salvatori Hall).
In the opening sequence, when Mark opens his laptop, you will notice a 'K'-gear icon at the lower-left corner of the screen. That icon is what KDE uses for its version of the Start Menu (known sometimes as the K-menu)
The Thirsty Scholar Somerville Bar and Grill featured at the start of the film is very close to Harvard University. However, it is expensive and unlikely to be frequented by students (a burger is $12).