ScriptShadow blogger Carson Reeves claims to have landed an early draft of “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin’s script for the upcoming Facebook movie.
Summarizing and then reviewing the script, Carson calls it “impressive.”
The script is sprinkled with a lot more humour than I expected – to the point where I wondered if it should be classified as a comedy. What’s wonderful is that all of it works.
Probably the most interesting choice Aaron makes is casting Napster cofounder and early Facebook advisor Sean Parker as the movie’s bad guy.
Actually, in Carson’s summary (pasted below), Sean kind of comes off sounding like Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club. Maybe that’s why that film’s director, David Fincher, is in talks to make the Facebook movie.
Anyway, we have no idea if ScriptShow actually obtained a copy of Aaron’s script, but Carson’s summary of the story makes for a pleasant enough read:
We start out in a campus bar with a young couple. The guy is Mark Zuckerberg, a slightly cooler Bill Gates. The girl is Erica, his girlfriend. The two are having a conversation. Actually, they’re having five conversations because Mark can’t focus on one thing. He’ll occasionally backtrack into a previous conversation within the flow of the current conversation, all while preparing for the next conversation. He’s clearly smart as hell, but the habit makes him incredibly annoying. Add a side of selfishness and an order of condescension and we can see why Erica becomes more frustrated the longer the conversation continues. Mark is so into his own problems, in fact, that he’s completely blindsinded when Erica breaks up with him.
Convincing himself that he could care less, Mark heads back to his Harvard dorm to do what any computer nerd does when he gets dumped by a girl he never should’ve landed in the first place. He starts blogging about it! “Blah blah blah, Erica’s the biggest bitch whore in the world…” But the dumping ignites Mark’s imagination and he comes up with an idea for a website – a sort of “Hot or Not” which allows Harvard guys to compare Harvard women against each other. His best friend Eduardo pops in to help him and they have the site live in less than an hour. Within half an hour after that, the site is so popular, it takes down the entire Harvard computer network. Though he manages to piss off a number of faculty (and Harvard women), Mark earns some ivy league street cred and makes a name for himself (not easy to do on the hallowed Harvard grounds).
The stunt also brings Mark to the attention of Cameron and Tyler: two extremely rich and handsome brothers who are star members of the Harvard row team. Impressed by his creativity and speed, they want him to code their new website – an exclusive Harvard “Myspace-like” network. Mark digs the idea and agrees to help. Over the next month, however, he starts dreaming up his own variation of the site: a social networking experience built on exclusivity. His site would work like real life. Someone could only know your personal details if they were friends with you (unlike Myspace which at the time let anybody know anything about anyone). An exclusive network of friends. He called it “TheFacebook.”
He and his best friend Eduardo come up with the plan – Mark is geek patrol and glues his fingers to the keyboard, Eduardo is business-central and plots the site’s future. The coding wizard needs less than a month to build the site. It goes live a few days later and takes off like a Malibu brush fire. Within weeks everyone at Harvard’s using it. Cameron and Tyler, still in the dark about Mark’s secondary endeavour, are eagerly awaiting their website code. Imagine their surprise when “theFacebook” shows up on every desktop in school. They demand Mark shut down the site but Mark’s already onto the next conversation. He expands into other Ivy league schools and continues to improve the interface. The success is both exciting and terrifying. Eduardo wants to be cautious and look for ways to monetise the site. Mark wants to grow and add more features.
It was only by chance then, that such a crucial juncture in the website’s existence fell upon the end of the school year. Eduardo had to go back to New York for an internship. Mark flew to Norcal to rub elbows with Silicon Valley. Little did either of them know that Mark was about to meet someone who would completely change the game.
Maybe you remember the name “Sean Parker”, maybe you don’t. Parker is the late-nineties time capsule that blew the music industry wide open, exposing their ridiculous CD markups when he co-founded Napster. When Parker falls into Sorkin’s mini-opus, it was like finding some old 8mm film with Jimi Hendrix and Elvis hanging out. You had no idea these guys knew each other! Parker, who at this point had lost every single penny to the record companies, was so poor he was couch-surfing between friends’ apartments. When he sees his ladyfriend playing on this new weird site, “theFacebook,” it’s as if his world’s been turned upside-down. He calls Mark and Eduardo asking for a meeting right away. A week later they meet at some swanky New York restaurant. Parker arrives a good half an hour late, and even without a penny to his name, rides in with the confidence of 10 Michael Bay’s. He explains to them that he doesn’t want to crash their party or pitch them anything. He just wants to let them know how awesome they are. With that remark, he’s got places to be, so he’s up and gone as fast as he came, but not before casually dropping a suggestion: “Drop the “the” and just call it “Facebook.” “It’s cleaner,” Once gone, Eduardo turns to Mark. “What a douchebag,” Eduardo’s eyes say. But Mark’s googly giddy expression tells a different story. He’s a 13 year girl at her first Jonas Brothers concert. A mancrush is born.
Needless to say, Parker *did* want to crash the party. He just wanted to make sure Mark’s parents weren’t around (Eduardo) when he showed up with the keg. With Eduardo back in NY, Parker made his pitch: “What are you doing with that guy?” he demanded. “He’s holding you back.” The more Parker points out how little Eduardo is doing, the more things Mark gives Parker to do. And to Parker’s credit, he gets things done. Working for free, he takes Facebook international within three weeks. Mark eventually hires Sean without telling Eduardo, giving him a 5% stake in the company. When Eduardo finds out about the tomfoolery, he makes a bold statement and freezes the company bank account, potentially putting Facebook in major jeopardy. It’s the last straw. Mark and Parker trick Eduardo into signing a contract that screws him out of hundreds of millions of dollars, effectively firing him. In the process, a friendship is destroyed.
The script ends with a chilling and heartbreaking scene. It’s 3 years later, with Mark being sued by Eduardo, Tyler and Cameron, for the full 16 billion dollars the company is worth. We’ve been cutting back and forth to this deposition over the course of the screenplay, and now the long day has ended. Mark sits alone in a dark room, in front of his computer, all the money in the world and not one true friend to show for it. Looking back to the last time he was happy – his relationship with Erica – he pulls up Facebook, the site he invented, slides the mouse up to “add friend” and sends her a friend request. Afterwards, despite the millions of daily operations requiring his attention at that moment, he waits for her to accept. He’ll wait forever if he has to.
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