Hot on the heels of this controversy comes news out of Hollywood that probably won't help Zuckerberg's image. A leaked version of the script for The Social Network (aka the "Facebook Movie"), which dramatizes the fledgling company's rise, paints the young entrepreneur as a "ruthless and untrustworthy sex maniac," writes the Times of London.
The film, slated for an October release, is set to star Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake. Written by Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network is based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires. The film unfolds during flashbacks that occur while Zuckerberg (Eisenberg) faces former business associates in court in 2008.
An early flashback, reprinted by Newsweek shows teen-aged Zuckerberg (in 2004) being dumped in a bar:
MARK: You're really leaving?
ERICA takes MARK's hand and looks at him tenderly...
ERICA: Listen. You're going to be successful and rich. But you're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like you because you're a tech geek. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole.
In a scene that follows, Mark returns to his Harvard dorm room with the emotional fuel he needs to complete coding for his pet project, a hot-or-not website for Harvard undergrads to rate one another based on their official Harvard photos.
The film also portrays the soon-to-be-CEO dropping out of college and moving to Silicon Valley, where he continues work on his social network with Sean Parker (Timberlake), the co-founder of Napster. The Times of London has details:
The film claims that after Zuckerberg quit Harvard his personal life spun out of control, with Parker helping him indulge his fantasies with a stream of "groupies". Sorkin's screenplay suggests Parker knew Zuckerberg was driven not just by money or fame but also sexual insecurity. While he is depicted as receiving sex in bars, Parker runs the business.
Newsweek asserts that The Social Network takes a clear stance against the real Zuckerberg and that the script suggests "[Zuckerberg] stole the idea for the site from three Harvard students (twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra) and later betrayed Saverin out of his ownership stake." The article goes on to say, "Much of the movie takes place in a deposition room, with Zuckerberg's undergraduate machinations played out in flashback, and some of the film's final frames inform audiences that the Winklevosses received a $65 million settlement."
While Sean Parker is portrayed as a "high-flying but functionally homeless cocaine fiend who plies Zuckerberg with girls and venture capitalists," Zuckerberg receives the brunt of the film's black-comedic depiction and, according to Newsweek, comes off as a "borderline autistic, entirely ruthless conniver."
The film is set to be released in October 2010.