Andrew Garfield breaks down the filming of The Social Network’s iconic laptop smashing scene, and how director David Fincher helped him through it.
Andrew Garfield has recalled his experience filming the iconic laptop smashing scene in The Social Network. Garfield played Eduardo Saverin, a co-founder of Facebook and friend-turned-enemy of Mark Zuckerberg, in the 2010 film. Written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher, the movie was a critical and commercial hit and has come to be seen as a classic movie of the 2010s. Nominated and adorned with many awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing Oscars, it lost out on Best Picture to The King’s Speech.
Though incredibly well-received at the time, the movie seems to have only grown in acclaim since its release. Many scenes have become famous in their own right, from the opening five-minute dialogue scene between Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg and Rooney Mara’s Erica Albright, to Justin Timberlake’s “You know what’s cool? A billion dollars,” remark as Napster co-founder, Sean Parker. Perhaps more well-known than this, however, is the final confrontation between Garfield’s Saverin and Eisenberg’s Zuckerberg, where Saverin smashed Zuckerberg’s laptop in rage. The scene has been recreated and imitated by fans and celebrities alike. Last year, Maze Runner actor Dylan O’Brien recreated and posted the scene online.
Speaking with Collider, Garfield spoke about filming the laptop smashing scene and how Fincher helped him through it. Referring to Fincher as the “perfect sports dad,” Garfield said the director encouraged him through each take so they could get it “absolutely perfect.” Garfield claims he did 35 to 40 takes of the scene, and that at the end of the day he had left it “all on the field.” Read Garfield’s full quote below:
“Jesse, laptop smash, that day, that long goddamn day, and Fincher being such a good dad that day. He was the perfect sports dad. He was instilling me with, “Keep doing it, and you can keep doing it, believe that you can keep doing… I know I’m going to ask you to do this a lot, and your voice is going to be tired, and your heart is going to be tired, and your body’s going to be exhausted, and I know you’re going to hate me, and that’s okay, because we are going to get it absolutely perfect.”
And then at the end, instead of saying, “We’re moving on,” I was sat on the floor after take 35, 40 of my closeup of that scene, which you can imagine would have been a lot of screaming and agony. And I’m sat on the floor, just wiped, exhausted, thinking we’re probably going to go again another 10 times. He just walks up to me, up that corridor from this monitor, and he puts his hand out to me and pulls me up and shakes my hand, and he says, “Moving on.” And that was that. So that was a beautiful moment. I felt very gratified. Leaving it all in the field. That was a beautiful day. I loved it.”
While Garfield is full of praise for Fincher and his directing style, other actors have reportedly not been so keen on the auteur’s exhausting work rate and demands for numerous takes. The director recently spoke his taxing directorial style on Zodiac, and the tension on set with his lead actor, Jake Gyllenhall. Fincher also jokingly called his Gone Girl lead, the Bostonian Ben Affleck, “unprofessional” for refusing to wear a New York Yankees cap in a scene. Nevertheless, Fincher’s movies tend to speak for themselves, with award-winning actors choosing to work with him over and over again.
While The Social Network’s laptop smashing scene may have been exhausting for Garfield, more intense movie experiences were to follow. In preparation for Martin Scorcese’s 2016 film Silence, Garfield and co-star Adam Driver visited a silent retreat in Wales and went a week without speaking a word by themselves or to one another. Fincher’s trying directorial methods may have paled in comparison. Regardless of Fincher’s methods, the laptop scene and The Social Network remains an important movie documenting iconic events of the 21st-century. Last year, Sorkin stated he would like to write a follow-up to The Social Network exploring the darker side of social media, but only if Fincher agreed to direct. Garfield fans can only hope that the actor himself would also be eager to appear.
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