Act Like You Mean It: Stars Jesse Eisenberg & Armie Hammer

The Social Network's Jesse Eisenberg & Armie Hammer

Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg
Armie Hammer (l)
Armie Hammer (l)

With leading roles in such films as Zombieland, Holy Rollers, and Advertureland, as well as his lauded breakout in The Squid and the Whale, the not-quite-30-year-old Jesse Eisenberg is already a veteran film and stage actor. Asked what drew him to the part of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, he replies: "I thought I knew the way in. This character appears emotionally detached and often enigmatic. I thought the way in was this feeling of loneliness and also, occasionally, superiority. I think he feels like he's wasting time in a lot of the rooms he's in and he's 10 steps ahead of the people he's with. I think he's just really frustrated. It's two seemingly opposing feelings: One is feeling superior, and the other one is desperately trying to connect and not knowing how. And I thought I kind of understood that dichotomy. I can certainly relate to it."

As for working with director David Fincher, Eisenberg confirmed reports that the opening scene was filmed 99 times, yet he found it to be a valuable process. "The movie is framed from three different perspectives. And while we're all the protagonists of our own version of the story, we're the antagonists of the other characters' versions. So while we were filming, David Fincher would come up to each actor and say, 'You know, your character is really right in this scene.' Then he'd go up to the next actor and say, 'You know, your character is really right in this scene.' And so we all felt that our character was doing the right thing and was justified. [Fincher created] an environment where every character felt like they were doing the right thing, even though there's a great dispute at the heart of the movie."

Armie Hammer is having his breakthrough moment in The Social Network playing not only one but two roles. Cast as the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler, Hammer is making the jump to the big screen following roles on the small screen in TV's Gossip Girl and Reaper. Though the "twins" are identical in appearance, they differ in personality, especially in terms of their decision to pursue a lawsuit against Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. When asked whether screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's complex dialogue and pacing posed extra challenges to a young actor, Hammer insisted that Sorkin's script made things "100 percent easier. Normally, in other scripts the lines don't inform each other. So you have to act more to make the lines seem like they work. But in this it was so flawlessly written and it flowed so well. There was almost a sense of musicality to it. Like if you missed a word in one of the lines, it would be like hitting the wrong note while playing a piano piece, and you know it and you'd feel it."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More The Social Network
Swanning Into 2011
Swanning Into 2011
But first, a look back at the films of 2010

Marjorie Baumgarten, Jan. 7, 2011

2010 Screens Top 10s
Marjorie Baumgarten

Marjorie Baumgarten, Jan. 7, 2011

More Screens
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Austin Artist Brings Gamera to Vibrant Life in a New Box Set
Matt Frank builds the perfect monster

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 28, 2020

SXSW Film Reviews: 'Hey Bartender'
Daily Reviews and Interviews

Andy Campbell, March 15, 2013

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
SXSW Film Review: The Greatest Hits
SXSW Film Review: The Greatest Hits
Love means never having to flip to the B side

March 16, 2024

SXSW Film Review: The Uninvited
SXSW Film Review: The Uninvited
A Hollywood garden party unearths certain truths

March 12, 2024


The Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg, Armie Hammer, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle