The Social Network | 2010
Writer Aaron Sorkin adapts The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich (who also wrote Bringing Down The House, which was filmed as 21, with Kevin Spacey), the story of Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook.
The setting is largely Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and although the film wasn’t allowed to shoot on the university’s campus, there is some scene setting in the area.
The opening, setting up the self-absorbed Mark Zuckerberg character (Jesse Eisenberg) getting dumped by exasperated girlfriend Erika (Rooney Mara), is in the Thirsty Scholar Pub, 70 Beacon Street, Somerville, just north of Cambridge.
As Harvard no longer allows filming on campus (Love Story was filmed here back in 1970), the campus scenes were shot elsewhere. As Zuckerberg heads back to his room, it’s across the campus of Johns Hopkins University on North Charles Street in Baltimore.
He runs down the steps by the pillared colonnade separating Keyser Quadrangle from Wyman Quadrangle.
‘Kirkland Hall’, the dorm where he vents his spleen by setting up ‘Facemash’ to ‘rate’ the women on campus, and where the first algorithms are scrawled on the window, is Latrobe Hall, home of the Civil and Mechanical Engineering Departments, on the west side of Wyman Quad. It’s the hall’s south entrance seen in the film.
Across the quadrangle from Latrobe and a little further south stands Shaffer Hall, a modern addition built in 1965, which is where Zuckerberg gets probation after his bright idea crashes the university’s computer system.
557 Tremont Street, at Union Park, in Boston, is used as the premises of the exclusive ‘Porcellian Club’, where the Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) and Divya Narendra (Max Minghella) ask Zuckerberg to programme their ‘Harvard Connection’ site – though naturally the outsider is not allowed past the ‘bike room’.
Realising the potential of the idea, Zuckerberg controversially develops the project for himself, fending off the Winklevii and their friends with delaying emails.
The ‘Harvard’ quad where Zuckerberg’s collaborator, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), is initiated into the prestigious Phoenix Society, alongside the statue that’s not ‘John Harvard', is Phillips Academy, Salem Street at Main Street in Andover, about 25 miles to the north of Boston.
More campus scenes were filmed at Wheelock College, 200 Riverway, in the west of Boston.
It’s not all filmed in the Boston area. The film finds quite a few of its locations in Los Angeles.
The Alpha Epsilon Pi ‘Caribbean Night’ party, with its strangely irrelevant backdrop of Niagara Falls, when Saverin breaks the news that he’s been approached by the Phoenix club, is filmed in the ballroom of the Pasadena Masonic Temple, 200 South Euclid Avenue. The building’s grand interior also hosted the ‘Washington DC’ hearing at the opening of Iron Man 2.
(though when they pop outside to discuss developing the Facemash idea further, the exterior shot outside the door is Milton Academy, 170 Centre Street, Milton a few miles south of Boston).
It’s not until ‘The Facebook’ site goes live that the Porcellian boys realise what’s happened. The acapella concert where Narendra hears the news is in the Lounge of the Ebell Of Los Angeles, 4401 West Eighth Street at Lucerne Boulevard, off Wilshire Boulevard, midtown Los Angeles. The Ebell has been seen in many films including Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, Air Force One, Forrest Gump, The Artist, and Fincher’s previous The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button.
The Auditorium of the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, becomes a ‘Harvard’ lecture theatre. It’s after a talk here by Bill Gates that Eduardo Saverin realises their growing fame brings groupies.
The appearance of Napster founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) on the scene promises to take the Facebook concept to a whole new level, but also plants the seed of the acrimonious split between Zuckerberg and Saverin.
In a pumping ‘San Francisco’ nightclub, Parker hypes up Zuckerberg with a chat about business, and a diversion into the history of Victoria’s Secret. The club is actually Exchange LA, 618 South Spring Street (in the old Los Angeles Stock Exchange Building), downtown Los Angeles. The exterior of the building also became 'San Francisco' for Fincher's 1997 The Game, with Michael Douglas.
Citizen Smith Restaurant, which was at 1600 North Cahuenga Boulevard, at Selma Avenue in Hollywood (until it closed down, to become Saint Felix) was the bar where Mark Zuckerberg bumps into ex-girlfriend Erica as ‘the Facebook’ starts to take off, and she off-handedly wishes him well with his “video game”.
“You know this is where they filmed Towering Inferno?” says Parker to Zuckerberg as the pair wait in the office reception to see the moneymen, who subsequently make a half million dollar investment after suggesting some ‘restructuring’.
The exterior highrise shot is 555 California Street in San Francisco, formerly the Bank of America Center, which indeed supplied the entrance to the doomed tower in the 70s disaster movie. It’s also the rooftop from which a sniper picks off victims in Dirty Harry and went on to become Will Smith's workplace in The Pursuit Of Happyness.
The Winklevoss twins row frantically to The Hall Of The Mountain King at ‘Henley Royal Regatta’ in England. Although it is filmed in the UK, the location is Dorney Lake near Windsor in Berkshire. A world-class rowing and flat-water canoeing centre set in 450-acres of parkland, Dorney Lake hosted the Rowing and Kayak events during the Olympic and Paralympic Games for London 2012. It’s owned by Eton College but, unfortunately, not open to the public.
It’s back to California, and more specifically Beverly Hills for the post-Regatta party, where the twins are not only deeply unimpressed by minor European royalty, but are incensed to discover that Facebook has crossed the Atlantic and reached the UK. It’s the Dining Room of the familiar Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Drive. The mansion (it’s not open to the public, though the surrounding park is) usually has supplied grand interiors for films such as The Big Lebowski and Spider-Man.