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'Social Network' continues its push; makes 'behind-the-scenes' doc available online and on-demand

February 2, 2011 |  4:14 pm


The "making-of" documentary has become a standard DVD/Blu-ray extra, but, like most things, notoriously exacting filmmaker David Fincher has his own approach to telling the behind-the-scenes story of his productions: Since 1999's "Fight Club," Fincher has worked with David Prior to shoot and assemble the featurettes, and their most recent collaboration -- a telling look at the filming of "The Social Network" -- was just made available both online at and on-demand in New York and Los Angeles via Time Warner Cable (and can be seen on "The Social Network" DVD and Blu-ray).

Told in four parts, the documentary offers a detailed look at the set of the Facebook film and casts something of a different light on the notoriously exacting filmmaker and his shy star Jesse Eisenberg. Fincher is shown joking with his actors even as he readies them for 60-70 takes of one scene, while the 27-year-old Eisenberg seems like an energetic, funny kid who feels like he just won the lottery to be starring in the movie.

"Fincher doesn't like the usual 'electronic press kit' fluff that you usually get," says Prior, who traveled from Boston to Los Angeles to capture candid footage of the production and spent every day on set. "I don't think those dishonest publicity pieces do anybody a service, certainly not the viewers. Fincher is committed to telling the truth about the thing, whether or not it makes everyone looks good."

As such, during the making-of "The Social Network" you see Fincher getting upset with the crew, you watch actors being rather honest when talking about their characters and their roles; it gives the viewer a much more intimate than usual look inside a film from the rehearsals to the script reads and the costume fittings.

"I've watched a lot of these things," says Prior, "but I don't think I've ever seen a look that 'inside' in any other piece. That's because Fincher is willing to let it all show, warts and all."

As for the actors' interviews during the making-of, Prior attributes their honesty to the absence of a giant star on the set. "The cast was much more available and forthcoming and excited to be there, [in contrast] to a lot of other movies I've worked on. I wonder if it was because there were no megastars on it. The only big star was Justin Timberlake and he was just as down with it as everybody else. There was also a lack of publicist veneer that you get with people who have been doing this for a long time."

The other real treat of the doc is finally understanding just how Fincher and Co. engineered the Winklevoss twins. Josh Pence, the unknown Winklevoss twin, is featured prominently in the movie, as are all the intricacies of how the twins were created. "Josh showed a tremendous willingness to just do the work, knowing his face was never going to be visible. I wanted to try and celebrate him as much as possible."

It's rare that a behind-the-scenes documentary would get so much play, but with Oscars a month away, and "Social Network" in the underdog role, any additional reminders of the movie's success is something worthy of sharing.

--Nicole Sperling

 Photo: "The Social Network" Credit: Sony