Controversial from the get-go! In the years before Facebook became little more than a lightning rod for criticism, the social media platform and its cofounder Mark Zuckerberg were the subject of the 2010 film The Social Network.
Jesse Eisenberg starred as Zuckerberg in the movie, which was based on The Accidental Billionaires, a 2009 book by Ben Mezrich. The project followed Zuckerberg as he created Facebook and weathered lawsuits surrounding the venture.
The Social Network won Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Film Editing at the 2011 Academy Awards. The film’s eight Oscar nominations included Best Picture and Best Actor for Eisenberg. The 2011 Golden Globe Awards doled out trophies for Best Motion Picture — Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score too.
Despite critical acclaim, the movie received backlash from the businessman who inspired it. “I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that movie in a while,” Zuckerberg noted during a November 2014 live Facebook Q&A. “I kinda blocked that one out. It was a very interesting experience to watch a movie that was supposedly about my life … supposedly.”
The CEO then claimed that some aspects of the film were fabricated. “I think the reality is that writing code and building a product and then building a company actually is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about,” he said. “So you can imagine that a lot of the stuff they probably had to embellish and make up. If they were really making a movie, it would have been of me, sitting at a computer coding for two hours straight, which probably would have just not been that good of a movie and these guys, I think, want to win awards and sell tickets.”
Zuckerberg added that he was not impressed with the plot because “they just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful” rather than focusing on his mission of connecting the world through Facebook.
The entrepreneur then revealed that he only met Eisenberg once while on Saturday Night Live, recalling: “I think he was a little afraid to meet me after his portrayal, but I tried to be nice.”
Although Eisenberg earned rave reviews from most, he confessed years later that he felt detached from the role. “The Social Network was just a bigger movie with more specific expectations,” he told The Guardian in June 2016. “And so, as an actor, you’re more conscious of those expectations, and it necessarily feels less personal. Even if it’s of a high quality, which of course that was, you just feel like it’s impossible to have that real connection.”
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Scroll down to see where the cast of The Social Network ended up after the film.