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The Social Network Asks, ‘What Does It Mean to Be an Asshole?’

The Social Network, the David Fincher–directed, Aaron Sorkin–written film about the founding of Facebook, opens the New York Film Festival next week and arrives in theaters on October 1, but Mark Harris goes deep on the film in next week’s cover story. He spoke with Fincher, Sorkin, Jesse Eisenberg, and Justin Timberlake, among others, about the film, its meaning, and how it came to be. Harris writes:

The [film] may be what Fincher kiddingly calls “the Citizen Kane of John Hughes movies”—not to mention a gimlet-eyed study of old-money, we’re-all-gentlemen-here entitlement versus the equally cutthroat stylings of classless (in both senses) New Economy titans. But it’s also something uniquely Sorkinian: an earnest, unsparing feature-length exploration of the question “What exactly does it mean to be an asshole?… How much of a jerk are you allowed to be in the name of getting the job done? And if you’re the smartest guy in the room, you know it, you act on it, and you don’t care who gets hurt, then what is the word for what you are?

“When you’re writing nonfiction,” Sorkin says, “that’s always a question that you’re wrestling with, especially when you’re writing about people who are still alive. On one hand, you don’t want to screw around with people’s lives, you never want to say anything that isn’t true, and you don’t want to mess with history. On the other hand, this isn’t a documentary….This isn’t the movie that’s going to tell you ‘Mark Zuckerberg stole Facebook,’ or that he didn’t. But we would sure love for those arguments to happen in the parking lot.”

Inventing Facebook [NYM]

The Social Network Asks, ‘What Does It Mean to Be an Asshole?’