RSVIP: Cinema Society Toasts "the social network" with Justin Timberlake
A breakout success, "the social network" is based on a book by Ben Mezrich called "The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook."
Mezrich also wrote "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions," made into the hit film "21."
In "the social network," pop icon Justin Timberlake plays Napster founder Sean Parker, a dangerously slick character who arranged considerable early funding for Facebook. "Justin was always the suave one," former fellow 'N Sync band member Lance Bass told Luxist on his way into the theater. "Even at 13, he was Mr. Joe Cool. He's been ready for this role ever since he was a kid."
At the theater, Timberlake wore a sleek, double-breasted sweater and Clark Kent glasses. "We had a lot of fun making this movie together," he mentioned at the side of his new BFF, Jesse Eisenberg, far right.
"Never met the guy," Timberlake answered a reporter when asked if he had ever encountered Parker.
"500 million members becomes a phenomenon," continued Timberlake. "And this movie is the catalyst . . . the story of how [Facebook] came to be."
The film depicts Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as brilliant, conflicted, and socially awkward in the extreme. But the truth may be more complex. "Dozens and dozens of lawyers have vetted this script within an inch of its life," explained Aaron Sorkin, who penned the screenplay and indicated that some insightful scenes had to be cut.
"If you're telling a nonfiction story about people, simply because we all knew something was true wasn't enough if we couldn't prove that it was true," explained Sorkin, left.
After much research, he realized that there were three very different versions of the truth. "So instead of picking one version," he indicated. "I decided to tell the story of three conflicting versions . . . like a courtroom drama."
Enter Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, graduates of Harvard and Oxford, and well-built U.S. Olympic oarsmen. The Winklevoss twins each stand 6-foot-5, displaying the same matinee-idol good looks as Armie Hammer, the Hollywood actor who plays both of them in the film. Hammer who grew up in Los Angeles and the Cayman islands so happens to be the grandson of the late oil tycoon Armand Hammer.
While undergraduates at Harvard, the Winklevoss twins created their own online social network concept, similar to Facebook, and attempted to hire Zuckerberg to program the site. In the film, Zuckerberg's character takes the idea and runs . . . without them.
"I thought it was excellent," said Tyler Winklevoss of the feature while waiting for popcorn in the lobby of the theater. "This will be my third time seeing it."
And are the Winklevoss brothers pleased with their $65 million legal settlement? "Well, the settlement was not upheld by the other side," claimed Tyler Winklevoss. "They misled us with regard to the valuation of the stock component they agreed to give us. And we also found out, after the settlement, that they had suppressed . . . deep-sixed . . . smoking-gun documents, the electronic instant messages of Mark Zuckerberg for over four years. They had a duty and a legal obligation to produce them."
And can the Winklevoss brothers reopen the settlement? "We're in the process of doing that right now," answered Cameron Winklevoss. "To describe it as a closed chapter would be incorrect."
According to Tyler Winklevoss, the film doesn't accurately portray Mark Zuckerberg. "It's hard to dislike Jesse Eisenberg," explained Cameron. "You can see some turmoil and wrestling with the feeling of remorse. But the real-life individual, Mark Zuckerberg, has never evinced any emotions of that sort."
"He's capable of withholding evidence and misleading us in stock valuations and is the type of individual who will gloat about it," adds Tyler.
And was the President of Harvard as dismissive with the twin brothers in person as he was in the film? "Artistic license, yes," said Tyler. "But, yes, Larry Summers was as undiplomatic to us in real life."
During the Cinema Society after party at the new Gansevoort Hotel Penthouse on Park Avenue, the Winklevoss brothers mingled with New York society and Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, "30 Rock"'s Jack McBrayer and Katrina Bowden, right, and Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe.
But life didn't completely imitate art. The party at the Gansevoort Penthouse remained tonier than the frat-inspired madness depicted in the film--trays brimmed with splits of Mionetto Prosecco, straws inserted.
In the film, Timberlake's character watches friends snort lines of cocaine on the stomach of an underage female undergrad. But at the Cinema Society soiree, Timberlake stood in a corner, buttonholed by middle-aged actor Oliver Platt.
Jesse Eisenberg, who on camera in "the social network" accidentally smashes beers against a wall as he tosses them to a friend, snuck out early . . . practically before the Prosecco-fueled fete began.