Because Everyone Knows That Facebook is Still Relevant
by Erin Kirkpatrick
The Oscar winning film The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, exposed the behind the scenes drama of Facebook’s rise to the social media powerhouse we all know. Last week, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin told AP entertainment he has been thinking about writing a sequel to the film saying “First of all, I know a lot more about Facebook in 2005 than I do in 2018 — but, I know enough to know that there should be a sequel”. Along with that, he exposed that producer Scott Rudin has been pushing the idea for years as Sorkin has “gotten more than one email from him with an article attached saying, ‘Isn’t it time for a sequel?’’’.
If the original film documented Facebook’s rise, the sequel will almost surely portray its fall. After the 2016 presidential election, Facebook came under fire for allowing tactics of fake news and data harvesting that are widely thought to have affected the overall outcome of the presidential race. Fake news, as well as the Cambridge Analytica controversy, in which President Trump’s election campaign hired a political data firm called Cambridge Analytica to access information from 50 million Facebook users has led to massive changes in Facebook’s app and website, as well as their PR choices. This includes Facebook giving tech help to congress, running ads during the NBA playoffs, and creating educational content to teach people how to spot fake news. These controversies as well as the mania that was sure to have ensued at Facebook headquarters lead to an abundance of good content from a film making perspective.
While the original Social Network’s film structure was based around Mark Zuckerberg’s lawsuit with the Winklevoss twins and Eduardo Saverin, I expect the sequel will be based around Zuckerberg’s testifying in front of congress about selling data in 2018. Not only would that be parallelling the original film structure, it’s an Aaron Sorkin staple to focus a movie around one event, such as his stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird is centered in a courtroom during Atticus Finch’s trial. This basis for the screenplay would allow Aaron Sorkin to work his “West Wing” magic and make Congress entertaining, as well as allow for some cameos by older, well respected actors like Donald Sutherland or Sean Connery as Congress members.
While Zuckerberg’s testimony is interesting from a political and real world perspective, the idea of watching Jesse Eisenberg babble in front of the United States Congress is even more entertaining. Of course I am assuming that Eisenberg will reprise his role, and coming off of two big upcoming movies Zombieland 2 and Justice League Part ll his face will bring more recognition to the project than he did at the time of the original. While other Social Network actors, notably Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider Man) and Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) have also gained notable career traction, audiences should not expect to see their faces, as Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss twins have little to do with the current Facebook narrative. New characters, however, should prove to be very interesting. Since the original film, Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chen. For her role I’d pick Gemma Chan, an actress who has been on the rise after her parts in Crazy Rich Asians and Mary Queen of Scots, who’s upcoming role in Captain Marvel will surely make her more recognizable by the time of the filming of Social Network 2.
The only concern I have is that the original film was based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal that Eduardo Saverin consulted on. Without a book with personal insights on events that transpired behind closed doors, I wonder if it’s even possible for Sorkin to tell the full story the way it actually happened. Along with that, a lot of the controversies are still being dealt with from both a corporate and legal standpoint, as within Zuckerberg’s testimony he noted that he couldn’t talk about his work with the Special Council Mueller’s office in an open session due to its confidentiality. But, there is the opposite possibility that with Facebook trying to regain credibility they may wish to help with the creation of the the film to try to get ahead of the narrative. That being said, a lot of what occured in the original film has been called into question as being untrue or an inaccurate representation of facts, but that doesn’t affect my personal or many other people’s love for the movie.
Overall a sequel to Social Network will surely be a box office hit, and any film created by Aaron Sorkin and original Social Network director David Fincher will have Oscar buzz from the moment it gets announced.