Geek Mythology; Movie Tells Amazing

Article excerpt

Byline: JOHN MILLAR

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 youngster 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 former Harvard student who created the website, now reckoned to be worth pounds 16billion. 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 Facebook page but I set one up under an alias, as Andrew Garfield, for a few weeks 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 reports that he was fiercely critical of the film. 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 film the thumbs-down because one of his cousins works for Facebook. Jesse said: "My cousin sent me a message saying Mark really liked the parts of the movie that he thought we got right, which is the nicest reaction I could have hoped for."

Bringing Zuckerberg to the screen was tricky because of the obvious lack of cooperation and the fact that there is an air of mystery about the world's youngest billionaire.

Jesse said: "Mark is publicly enigmatic as well as arguably the most accessible person in the world because he has created this thing that allows us all to be as accessible as we would like to be."

"He is a very interesting character. The more you find out about him, the more mysterious he becomes."

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

The movie tells the incredible story of how a socially awkward geek launched a social network which became a global phenomenon with 500million members.

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

The twins, who are Olympic rowing 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 stars 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 cooperation of Zuckerberg or the former friends with whom he had such a dramatic fall-out. …