'Social Network' starts U.K. quest for awards

'I set up [a Facebook page] as Garfield,' Eisenberg jokes

LONDON -- Aaron Sorkin, flanked by Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, landed in the British capital Thursday ahead of the U.K. rollout of "The Social Network" and the start of its overseas' quest for Oscars and British Academy voter attention.

Organized by Sony Pictures, Sorkin provided heavyweight answers on his role in bringing the movie to the big screen while at the same time filling big shoes in the absence of the movie's director David Fincher.

Fincher is, as Sorkin reminded the room, shooting the English-language remake of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," under the watchful eye of "Social Network" producer Scott Rudin in Sweden.

When asked how much his studio backers had sweated over making a fictional movie about real-life characters, all of whom are still alive, Sorkin made no bones about how important it had been to get everything checked.

"I can't speak to how much a studio sweats generally but I can say there was absolutely nothing left to chance with this movie." Sorkin said. "There is a moral obligation not to mess around with someone's life for the sake of a good movie scene."

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His script, he said, was subject to constant legal checks. "I was required to deliver an annotated script to the studio, by which I mean one with notes on the [multiple] sources for everything that is said," Sorkin said.

He name-checked Amy Pascal at Sony and his producers for being fully behind the project from the word go: "I want to thank them for making the movie without saying you're going to have to put some sugary frosting into it."

But for a film that tells the story of how the social network of the title Facebook was created in a Harvard dorm room and wound up creating the world's youngest billionaire who is -- less than eight years later -- only 26, everyone involved is a great pains to explain one thing.

Neither Eisenberg, Garfield, Timberlake nor Sorkin are on the popular social networking website. Garfield used to be on it, he said, but isn't anymore. All noted its use to attract greater attention to charity events or social issues. But as individuals, Facebook isn't really their thing.

Eisenberg laconically conjured the day's biggest laugh when he explained his involvement with Facebook. "I set one up [a Facebook page] as Andrew Garfield for a few months but made no friends and no one was very interested in it except Andrew Garfield's own alias page," Eisenberg smiled.

Timberlake said landing the role of Sean Parker, the founder of Napster who is portrayed as a hard-partying and manipulative young entrepreneur, was a part he "would have kicked the door down" for.

He also said of the three, he is the only one who actually met the person he plays in real life. "I was coming out of a bar. He was going into one in New York," Timberlake said. "At the time I hadn't landed the part so it was a bit awkward because he'd read on the internet I was going to do it. I had to sheepishly tell him I hadn't been told if I had it yet or not."
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