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Jesse Eisenberg was in awe of 'The Social Network' co-star Justin Timberlake since he was a child, does not use Facebook himself

10/01/2010 by Corinne Heller

Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg appear in a scene from 'The Social Network'. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures / Relativity Media) Jesse Eisenberg was excited to star alongside actor-singer Justin Timberlake in The Social Network, a film about the co-founders of the social networking website Facebook, because he admired the pop singer when he was a child.

In the film, which opens on Friday, Eisenberg, who turns 27 on Tuesday, plays Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Timberlake plays Sean Parker, who in real life co-founded the music file sharing application Napster and became president of the Facebook firm, which is now believed to be worth billions. The movie depicts the squabbles and a legal dispute that develops between the major players in the company, which started out as a networking tool for Harvard University students.

"When I heard that he was going to play that part I thought it was such a great choice, and selfishly so, because my character sees him as a rock star," Eisenberg said in an interview provided by studio Columbia Pictures. "Seeing this guy as though he's kind of descended from heaven was easy because I already had been in awe of him since I was a little kid because I had known who he is - I liked him."

Timberlake, 29, was a member of the boy band N' Sync between 1995 and 2002 and is now a Grammy-winning solo pop star. The former Mickey Mouse Club member made his acting debut in 2000 with the film Model Behavior and also starred in the movie The Love Guru in 2008. He also voices Yogi Bear's sidekick Boo-Boo in an animated movie remake of the popular 1960s cartoon series.

Einsenberg, a New York native, starred in films such as Zombieland and Adventureland before landing The Social Network. He also created the wordplay website OneUpMe.com.

Eisenberg says he has never met Zuckerberg in person, telling the Reuters news wire that it was "an impossibility", but added he would like to. He also said that he does not use Facebook himself because he values his privacy and that one of his cousins works at the company in real life.

"Mark came up to him at a party during his first week on the job and said: 'I think your cousin is playing me in a movie; that's really cool," Eisenberg told Reuters. "I couldn't have heard better things from my cousin both personally and professionally about Mark. It coincides with how I feel having played him as well."

The Social Network also Rooney Mara, star of the rebooted The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the new Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield.

Actress Natalie Portman, who studied at Harvard from 1999 to 2003, reportedly helped the film's screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, with research about the university's elite, private organizations by providing information about one of her ex-boyfriend's clubs.


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