David Fincher is not interested in speaking.
To be fair, he’s happy to talk about other people involved with “The Social Network,” the story of Facebook’s founding. Just nothing about himself. Please.
“I made the movie. It’s done,” he explains later, calling from Zurich on the set of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
So how often does he revisit his old films, for inspiration or just because?
“Never,” he says emphatically. “It’s like looking at high school photos.”
It doesn’t take much to break through Fincher’s apprehension. Fincher, who was Oscar-nominated two years ago for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” livens up when discussing the ensemble of “Social Network” and reveals personal factoids piecemeal.
Nuggets include how ensemble members were selected by employing Fincher’s odd but strangely sound logic. (Except for Jesse Eisenberg, who in Fincher’s words was “genetically created in a petri dish to spout Sorkin.”) He hired Armie Hammer for the dual role of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss rather than twins because “you always learn there’s one evil twin and one good one.”
And for his decision to go with Justin Timberlake as Napster mastermind Sean Parker: “It became apparent that whoever Sean is in real life, I needed him to be somebody Jesse could look at and go, ‘He’s figured it out,’ ” he explains. “We looked at a lot of actors, but the thing that none of them had that Timberlake had was this innate understanding of the value of a seating chart.”
Fincher blends the movie-real and the real-real in the name of creating an effortlessly cohesive ensemble. He also has his actors do take upon take upon take, breaking them of preconceived notions.
“Acting isn’t like tennis; it’s way more like basketball,” he says. “The person throwing you the ball is trying to get you closer to the goal.”
As for why “The Social Network” became one of the year’s most talked-about films, Fincher explains: “When I think about it, the movies I’ve found inspiring all involve impeccable ensembles — ‘The Godfather,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers.’ There’s no weak link. Everybody is peaking at the right time.”