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The Social Network

Director David Fincher

Producers Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, Cean Chaffin

Production companies Columbia Pictures, Relativity Media, Scott Rudin Productions, Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions

Worldwide distribution Sony Pictures

US release date October 1, 2010

Scott Rudin, the Oscar-winning producer of No Country For Old Men, is once again in contention with The Social Network, the decidedly unauthorised account of the creation of Facebook.

Rudin first sniffed the possibility of a film back in 2008. “Dana Brunetti had a relationship with Ben Mezrich because of 21 [an adaptation of Mezrich’s book about MIT students who beat the house at a Las Vegas casino] and knew he was doing a book about the origins of Facebook [The Accidental Billionaires] and they were talking to Sony,” Rudin says.

“At the same time, I was slipped a treatment of the book and took it to [Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman] Amy Pascal and I knew Aaron Sorkin wanted to write something about this.”

Along with fellow producer Michael De Luca, Rudin put it into development at Sony.

“When I got the first 20 pages of the movie, I called David Fincher and told him it would be for him,” Rudin explains. “It was the fastest to the screen of anything I’ve done with the exception of No Country For Old Men. Once Fincher became interested, it was clear this had to be made right away. Fincher didn’t want to wait because he didn’t want to fall behind the story.”

The speed with which it all came together — the film would shoot in Los Angeles and Boston from the end of 2009 until February 2010 — is all the more remarkable given the treacherous legal minefield the film-makers had to negotiate.

“Because we didn’t have rights from Facebook, it took a long time with a battery of lawyers telling us what we could do and could not do, how the movie could talk about Facebook and not talk about Facebook, and what we could say and not say.

“Facebook went on the offensive and said it was fiction, when in fact it was all based on fact,” Rudin continues. “We tried to get a meeting with [Facebook creator] Mark Zuckerberg but he didn’t want to do it. I told their lawyers once we started there would be no advantage to us in meeting with them — once we were rehearsing Sorkin’s script it would be too late to add the guy into the process.”

The film-makers already had their Zuckerberg in Jesse Eisenberg. Rudin recalls how the young actor got involved.

“Eisenberg put himself on tape in New York and sent it in and once David saw him he became a huge champion.”

Rudin also brought in UK actor Andrew Garfield after seeing him on stage. He declares himself “a huge fan” of the fast-rising star who will play Spider-Man in Sony’s planned reboot.

By mid-January, The Social Network had grossed almost $200m worldwide and was the big winner at the Golden Globes, with four trophies from its six nominations, including dramatic picture and director. It also has six Bafta nominations, including best film, director and adapted screenplay.

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