GEEK MYTHOLOGY; MOVIE TELLS AMAZING T TALE OF SHY HARVARD STUDENT BEHIND Pounds 16BN WEBSITE Jesse's in Oscar Frame but He Couldn't Get One Facebook Friend

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Byline: JOHN MILL AR

JESSE EISENBERG is being tipped for an Oscar for his role in the film that Facebook didn't want you to see.

But the Hollywood you ngster admits he had not even joined the internet phenomenon when he won the part of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.

One-time programming geek Zuckerberg , 26, is the for mer Har vard student who created the websit e, now reckoned to be worth pounds 16bil lion. At the UK premiere of The Social Network in London, Jesse - who stars with Andrew Garfield in the film - joked: "I don't have a Facebo ok page but I set one up under an alias, as Andrew Garfield, for a few week s and made no friends.

"No one was interested, except Andrew's alias who wanted to be best friends with his own fan page."

He also revealed that Zuckerberg saw the movie on its opening day in the USA - despite repor ts t hat he wa s fiercely critical of the fil m .

Jesse, 27, said: "Mark rented a movie theatre in Palo Alto, California, and took all of his employees to see it."

The actor had inside information that Zuckerberg didn't give the fil m the thumbs -down because one of his cousins works for Facebo ok. Jesse said: "My cousin sent me a message say ing Ma rk really liked the parts of the movie that he thought we got right, which is the n icest reaction I could have hoped for."

Bringing Zuckerberg to the screen wa s tr ick y because of t he obvious lack of cooperation and the fact that there is an air of mystery about the world's youngest billionaire.

Jesse sa id: "Mark is publicly enigmatic as well as arguably the most accessible person in the world because he has created this thing that allow s us a l l to b e a s a c c e s s i b l e a s w e would like to be."

"He is a ver y interesting character. The more you find out about hi m , the more mysterious he becomes."

Empire ma gazine has hailed Jesse's performance as "simply superb".

The mov ie tells the incredible stor y of how a socially awk ward geek launched a socia l network which became a global phenomenon with 500million members.

Fou nding the website led to bitter legal cases, with Zuckerberg being sued by his best friend Eduardo Saverin and twins Cameron and Tyler Winkl evo ss, who claimed he had stolen their idea.

The twins, who are Olympic row ing aces, are thought to have received a $65million pay-off, while it's been claimed that Saverin - whose $1000 investment helped to start Facebook - got a $1billion settlement. The film, which also sta rs pop idol Justin Timberlake, is fast becoming one of the most talked-about big-screen events of the year.

Especially as it was made without the cooperat ion of Zuckerberg or the former friends w ith whom he had such a dramatic fall-out. Jesse celebrated his birthday last Tuesday by being top of the US box office with The Social Network.

But although he's about to become an instantly recognised face, he rema i ns refreshingly down to earth.

Jesse is combining acting with his st udies for a universit y degree in ant hropology - and his next film is Rio, a cartoon in which he and Anne Hathaway prov ide the voices of two birds flying down to Rio de Janeiro for an adventure.

Having made his mark in quirky f ilms such as the horror comedy Zombieland and theme park romcom Adventureland, The Social Network is shaping up to be his crucial breakthrough to the big time. …