Why are creators of ‘Social Network’ now trying to please Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook?


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Aaron Sorkin has said from the beginning that he intended to ‘do no harm’ when writing the script for ‘The Social Network.’ He used court documents, first-person interviews and even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s own words from the night he created Face Mash and blogged about it. But Sorkin never had access to Zuckerberg nor any cooperation from the now billionaire when he was creating ‘The Social Network,’ which walked away with four Golden Globe wins Sunday night.

Sorkin always seemed rather content with that, emphatic that he wasn’t making a biopic on Zuckerberg, that this film was much more than that. The screenwriter has spoken very highly of Zuckerberg, as a great philanthropist and a good sport for taking his staff to see ‘The Social Network’ the day it opened, but the need for the man’s approval or support never seemed to be of issue.


Yet, his acceptance speech Sunday night, along with producer Scott Rudin’s, seemed to be much more than a show of respect for the man on whom the film is based. It felt like a new set of ‘talking points’ for a group of politicians trying to get a man elected.

First, Sorkin appealed directly to Zuckerberg: ‘If you’re watching this, Rooney Mara’s character makes a [negative] prediction at the beginning of this movie. She was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a visionary and a great altruist.’

Rudin then thanked everyone at Facebook. Adding, ‘For Mark Zuckerberg allowing us to use his life and work as a metaphor for us to tell a story about communication and the way we relate to each other.’

It’s odd considering Zuckerberg and Facebook had absolutely no involvement in the making of ‘The Social Network,’ and it’s curious as to why these two men, who could simply ride high on the waves of accolades that keep piling up behind this movie, suddenly feel the need to appeal to Zuckerberg’s base. Or, even worse, are they now, as the Oscars near, trying to depict their ‘anti-hero’ lead character as a real hero instead?

Oscar campaigns have long been compared to political ones with their intense glad-handing, public appearances and quest to appeal not just to voters’ minds but to their hearts as well. Is that what’s going on here?

Is ‘Social Network’ a movie people appreciate more than love? Are those behind the campaign worried that it’s not enough to reward director David Fincher and his talented cast and crew for a well-made flick? Do they worry that the emotional pay-off audiences receive from the warm ‘The King’s Speech’ is going to stick with academy voters more than the ‘want-to-talk’ factor that comes with the conclusion of ‘The Social Network’?

The motives for the shout-outs are still unclear. But the filmmakers’ attempts to friend Facebook seem unnecessary. Check out Facebook’s mild response to the praise received Sunday night.

-- Nicole Sperling