Curious about The Social Network? The talked-about film, which explores the disputed origins of Facebook (first known as thefacebook.com) at Harvard University in 2003, hits theaters Friday. (Read Us Weekly's review.) It stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the controversial founder of the hugely influential social networking site; Justin Timberlake costars as Sean Parker, founder of music-sharing site Napster and an early Zuckerberg collaborator.
Here's what you might not know about the flick:
-Natalie Portman helped screenwriter Aaron Sorkin pen the script! Well, sort of. The star attended Harvard herself from 1999 to 2003 -- and unexpectedly reached out to Sorkin. "Natalie Portman got in touch with me when she heard that I was doing this to say, 'Listen...come over for dinner and I'll tell you some stories,'" Sorkin said last week, according to Entertainment Weekly. He joked of the beautiful actress, 29: "I would've come over for dinner under any circumstances. But that was really helpful." Sorkin thanked Portman by referencing her in one scene, in which one character mentions Harvard's most prestigious grads: Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, future Olympians and a movie star.
-The film features Rooney Mara as the Boston University girlfriend who dumps Zuckerberg, leading him to angrily blog about her, and eventually conceive of a campus-wide social networking site. The 25-year-old American actress was branded the next "It" girl after she beat out more established stars to land the coveted, lead role of Lisbeth Salandar in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, based on the worldwide bestseller.
-Details-obsessed director David Fincher did 99 takes (!) of the movie's first scene, in which Mara's character breaks up with Zuckerberg.
-The real-life Zuckerberg, now 26, has a net worth of $6.9 billion, Forbes reported last week. The youngest self-made billionaire in history, he's currently #35 on the Forbes 400 list of Wealthiest Americans -- making him wealthier than Apple founder Steve Jobs. Zuckerberg refused to cooperate in the making of the film.
-Timberlake, 29, was the only actor to meet the real-life person he played in the film. The singer/actor chatted briefly with Sean Parker as he was in contention for the role, according to New York mag. But once actors were cast, director Fincher forbade his actors from reaching out to their real-world counterparts. Last week, Timberlake told UsMagazine.com that taking on the intense film "scared the s--t out of me." He added: "This movie's dense. There's a lot there."
Tell Us: Will you see The Social Network this weekend?