Who will ultimately step into the flip-flops of billionaire Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg for "The Social Network," the David Fincher-directed, Aaron Sorkin-scripted biopic about the company's founding? There've been a number of names floating around the Web – most prominently "Adventureland" star Jesse Eisenberg – but as late as July, when I spoke with "Network" producer Kevin Spacey, no actor had so much as read for the role (or so the Oscar-winner assured me).
On Wednesday, while Eisenberg was promoting his action-comedy "Zombieland," I asked the 25-year-old actor if there was any truth to the rumors.
"They are rumors," he replied. "That is true."
I'm going to go ahead and call that a classic non-denial denial. As you can see from the video, the most I could learn during the interview is that co-star Woody Harrelson is a huge Fincher fan. But! If I took off my journalist cap and threw on my irresponsible speculation glasses, I'd say that Eisenberg has most definitely had some sort of discussion with the "Network" folks. Just look at the way he squirms a bit, looks toward the ceiling, neither shoots down the rumors nor confirms them. Then again, maybe that's just me hoping Eisenberg lands the part.
I recently read "The Accidental Billionaires," Ben Mezrich's book on which "Network" is based. The portrait the author paints of Zuckerberg – nebbishly awkward, introverted, possessing a quiet confidence in his brilliance – is a veritable checklist of the traits of past Eisenberg characters in "Adventureland," "The Squid and the Whale," "Roger Dodger" and the upcoming "Zombieland."
So Jesse, if you're reading this – and apparently you are since you're an admitted obsessive self-Googler – try Zuckerberg's flip flops on for size, dude!