The Social Network hits theaters this Friday, October 1st and is fast becoming one of the most anticipated films of the year.
I was lucky to get to chat with some of the great folks involved with the film in anticipation for the release, including Armie Hammer, who stars with Josh Pence using the same face-swapping technology used in Benjamin Button as Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss in the film. The Winklevoss twins were entrepreneurs who hired Mark Zukerberg in Harvard to help them launch their social networking site The Harvard Exchange and you can probably tell from the trailer how that went.
Most of you may know Armie from his roles in television or as the great-grandson of oil tycoon and philanthropist Armand Hammer, but what some might not know is he was also slated to play Batman in Justice League:Mortal a film that was on the fast track in 2007 that simply disappeared. We touch base on all these things in this great interview so enjoy!
How did you come to be in this film?
I would say I was blessed to be part of this film. I heard about it through my agent who called and said, “Fincher is working on a new project” and I said “What is it? I have to be in it!” He was like it’s kind of perfect because it’s about college students and they need someone who is 6’5 an athletic and I was like, “I’m 6’5!”
So because I respected David and Aaron so much I busted my ass on that audition and did everything I could, I only had two auditions and I got the part.
What was the process like working David Fincher?
It was like going to film school, and getting the best cliff notes ever from the professor who was like “everything else they are going to teach you is bullshit, this is the deal.”
I mean him and Sorkin as well; those are two of the brightest minds in Hollywood, who have teamed together to produce something that is beyond both of them. I think both of them really accentuates each other’s positives and sort of negated anything you could say negative about both of them, and I really think they turned out something amazing.
Did you have to do any research on twins for the role?
Tons, and Josh and I spent a lot of time discussing their physicality, how they would speak to each other, because if they are twins do they have to look at each other when they talk? Can they just talk to each other and know they are talking to the other? Is there physical contact? How would they communicate physically, a lot of that stuff we spent a lot of time researching.
How did you feel about these characters you played? Do you feel they got a raw deal that they got screwed? What are your feelings about them?
Well, initially when we filmed the project we sympathized with them, we had to realistically accept their point of view as the truth and say, “we got robbed this is not fair” in order to bring truth to it.
But now, having walked away from the project and kind of putting that behind me I think the twins did get a raw deal. Maybe they were irresponsible in the way that they approached people.
I don’t know the truth and I really think this project is a great example of 3 different perspectives being told in a way that makes all of them plausible, but I really think no one really knows the truth about what happened in 2003.
I know you we hand picked by George Miller to play Batman in the Justice League film, is there anything you more you can tell us about what happened to that project?
I was so excited, that was supposed to be such an amazing project. George Miller was creating something that was spectacular. It was unlike anything anyone had seen.
When we went down to his production offices in Australia where we were there for two months training. You would walk in and see he had the entire film storyboarded around a room that is like four-times the size of this room. He had the entire film figured out in his head. They had pre-visualized all the fight sequences, they had done EVERYTHING.
So the actors were there as a last resort to step into what he had already created. So it was going to be one of the most epic comic book films out there. They were approaching this in such a different way, it was the psychology of it all.
He was really doing everything right, down to how he was having everyone trained. Like Batman, as being the only human in the Justice League with no superpowers he had to be the consummate martial artist and he had to earn his place there. He also had to have that analytical detective mind so I spent hours everyday working with the Australian special forces learning how to fight and think like a predator.
The guy that was playing Superman DJ Cotrona, his workout schedule was very different he was mostly doing power lifting and boxing to be strong and built like Superman. The guy playing the Flash Adam Brody was doing all rubber band work so he would be real twitchy and fast. Santiago Cabrera who was playing Aquaman, was being sent to northern Australia to swim with dolphins for hours a day so that he would be use to being in the sea with animals.
George was doing everything right and I really wish he to got to show everyone his vision.
What happened with that film? Because the production on it just stopped very abruptly, I wasn’t aware it had actually gotten that far along into production.
Well there was the writer’s strike at the end of 2007 that really lurched the gears. That was a devastating hit for the movie I think, we were actually in the rehearsal phase when it all happened. So if there was a problem where this line doesn’t really work the writer’s strike was on and no one can change it, because you don’t have a writer here. It was difficult to work in that aspect.
So we kept training and the Australian government denied a tax rebate that they said was going to be available because there weren’t enough Australian actors in the film to qualify. There were several factors that all built up till it was too much, I think; it was a large budget at a precarious time.
What went in to the performance because you took what could have simply been the jock role and not only made it very self aware but very well rounded as well?
I think you are exactly right. It could have very well been a very one-dimensional character if you look at all the pieces you are given. They are blue blood aristocracy, they go to Harvard, they are rowers, which can be a pretentious crew. They have been given every opportunity and have never wanted for anything.
I think it would be easy to create these twins as “douchebags” essentially. But we owed that respect to them to not turn them into clowns. They competed for this country in the Olympics, they went on to create several more internet startup companies these are sharp guys.
As an actor you never really want to judge your material. Sorkin had a great quote, when he writes an anti-hero he doesn’t write them as a villain he writes them as if he is pleading their case to God why they are a good person. So even if they do have those aspects in them that are detestable you have to play them as if you are pleading them to God as a good person.