MTV: How was working with Justin Timberlake?
Eisenberg: He plays Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, who comes in after Facebook is established and Zuckerberg becomes infatuated with him to the point where it’s like a platonic love triangle between Saverin, who bankrolled the operation and Parker, who has this Silicon Valley aura and rock star status in the dot-com world.
MTV: Were you a fan of Timberlake before the shoot?
Eisenberg: Certainly after and during. I can’t say I knew his music too much except for knowing about him because he’s so ubiquitous. But I heard such great things about working with him both personally and professionally from so many people. He’s certainly lived up to that and more — extremely professional and charming and modest, which is probably unique for someone that famous.
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The pedigree is impressive, and I think some people were confused as to how Justin Timberlake, who isn’t a full-time actor …
[Laughs.] «Full-time actor.» I don’t know any full-time actors.
Well, are you willing to go to bat for him and say this is the movie that’ll change people’s minds on his acting abilities?
I don’t know, that would be accepting the premise that there’s already this perception that’s negative. No, I always thought of him as great, and he held up to that of course. The part he’s playing is very interesting: It’s the guy who created Napster, and you have the added irony of Justin Timberlake playing the guy who basically brought down the music industry. So it’s inspired casting just beyond him being really great in the movie.
Did you get to spend much time with JT?
Yeah, such a good guy. At first I was very intimated because he has this iconic status. Which is such a weird thing for a human being to have. He’s just a good person, genuinely funny, engaging, warm, supportive. Very generous. That was one of the other great things, there was no competitiveness between any of the actors on the set.
Really? I’m surprised. I would think that because of the nature of the story that that would actually help the dynamic onscreen.
Yeah, he was pitting us against each other in the scenes. But outside of that, he cast a group of people that got on very well. Everyone felt very lucky to be there, so that permeated the feeling on set. But Justin was amazing, and great to work with, and I love Jesse so much.
The 2010 MTV Video Music Awards happened this past Sunday, and it was a wildly successful event. Last year’s show was almost entirely dominated by the infamous Kanye West/Taylor Swift showdown. This one was almost entirely drama-free, leaving fans time to focus on what really matters: the spectacle inherent in a large gathering of celebrities and the dynamite musical performances from a handful of the honored attendees.
Also on hand were Andrew Garfield, Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, who were there to present an award and promote their upcoming film collaboration, Facebook founder biopic «The Social Network.» Garfield told MTV’s Rick Marshall in an interview yesterday that he and Eisenberg were completely floored when they were faced with the fact that their group’s third, Timberlake, is in fact pop music royalty.
«Me and Jesse had known Justin from doing the movie with him, and we had known him as the actor, Justin Timberlake, one of us,» Garfield said. «We were all in the same bandwagon together doing our thing, and then suddenly we were on stage. [Jesse and I] both had this moment where we were like, ‘Oh, that’s Justin Timberlake… right!'»
«Other people’s reaction to him, it creates a different persona,» he continued, adding quickly, «in a very positive way.» It figures too. A guy like Timberlake, someone with as much experience on a live stage as he has, would undoubtedly feed off the energy of those around him. Garfield enjoyed seeing their friend in this other, musical world, and he was quick to point to himself as a fan of Timberlake’s work.
«I think he’s an incredibly gifted artist and incredibly charismatic,» Garfield said. «It was surreal, man. It was surreal to be there, and it was surreal to be with Justin in his element, so to speak. It was really exciting. I felt like I could be a fly on the wall, because no one knows who the hell I am.» — that’s about to change, Spider-Man — «I could just be there and observe all this weirdness going on all around.»
Your leads in the film are already being given bumps into even bigger roles, and Garfield was tapped for «Spider-Man» based on his work here, according to Sony. One of your cast members, though, was already a superstar walking onto the set, but as a musician. Whose idea was Justin Timberlake, and how was your experience working with him? He’s been good on film before, but never this good. Did he model his performance after footage/research on the real Sean Parker, or did you push your actors to approach these as performances instead of impressions?
Fincher’s reply: «Justin Timberlake was one of those ‘do we dare?’ kind of conversations — he could easily have upset the apple cart in any number of ways… we put him through Hell shooting screentest after screentest to make sure we could walk the razor’s edge of ‘extremely famous person as spoke of an ensemble.’ But he’s just so mercurial and fun to watch that it because an easy choice. I needed someone who knew what it meant to seat two people at the same table and collect an annuity — and that’s a lot to ask from a twenty-something. Justin is a record producer. He knew exactly what I was talking about.»
Brenda Song has revealed that working with Justin Timberlake on The Social Network was the fulfillment of a fantasy.
In an interview with Trailer Addict, the star suggested that she got to live out every girl’s dream by being in such close proximity to the ‘SexyBack’ singer.
«I actually got to share a trailer wall with Justin Timberlake,» she said. «I got to hear him warm up in the morning and that’s just about every girl’s fantasy. I had nothing to complain about. It was so much fun working with everyone.»
Song also admitted that she was initially unprepared for working with what turned out to be a mostly male cast.
«I kind of had no idea what I was walking into. And it was strange because throughout this whole process I was really kind of the only girl.
«And it was kinda scary because I am a huge fan of Jesse [Eisenberg]… I love him even more now [after working with him].»
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