Techies are being celebrated on the small and big screens with a Facebook movie and another series of cult British comedy, the IT crowd
The rise of Facebook has sometimes played out like some convoluted Hollywood script so the news that a movie based on Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to fame is nearing release won’t surprise many.
The official website of the film – which will be known as The Social Network – launched this week. The fact that the film doesn’t have the word Facebook in the title may mean that the filmmakers have had to take some artistic license with the source material to avoid any unwanted attention from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s lawyers.
The film, due for release on 1 October, is based on Ben Mezrich’s 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding Of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg and former pop-sensation Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker – founder of Napster and one-time Facebook president.
But whatever deviations from reality emerge, the film appears to be in good hands when it comes to documenting political machinations thanks to a script developed by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin. The potential for irony in some of Zuckerberg’s pronouncements on privacy ishopefully too great to resist.
The film’s director David Fincher is also at home ploughing through acres of source material as evidenced by his recent work on the real-life serial-killer film Zodiac.
Techies Ripe For Comedy
Meanwhile on the small screen, a British TV show that has enjoyed lampooning the Facebook phenomenon is back for another season.
In an interview with The Guardian this week, the writer of the popular Channel 4 series The IT Crowd has discussed why he believes techies are a ripe source of material.
Graham Linehan related how the idea for the show came about when a computer repairman visited his house. “My wife opened the door and instead of saying: ‘Hello, I’m here to see Graham’, he [the repairman] just said: ‘You’re not Graham’. Later, I asked him why there weren’t more people doing this door-to-door IT stuff. He replied: ‘They don’t have the people skills.’ And I thought, OK – there’s a sitcom,” he told the paper.
But rather than seeing techies as a focus for ridicule, Linehan is adamant that the profession attracts the finest minds. “IT people are geniuses”, he told the paper. “They’re working in offices and they’re barely noticed; they’re tolerated because they do something that other people don’t really understand.”
Old Models Are Broken
Linehan also goes on to address the issue of file-sharing which he is not quick to condemn, unlike some people in the content creation business. “With piracy, people think it’s about getting stuff for free,” he says. “It’s not – it’s about getting rid of the middleman that stands between you and your enjoyment of the film or music.”
He believes that the old models for distributing films and TV are fundamentally broken. ” I get contacted daily by people in America saying is there any legal way to download The IT Crowd, but the whole mechanism is too rigid to allow for things like that,” he told the paper. “Consumers aren’t going to put up with the old system, because it fucks them over too much.”
The fourth series of the IT Crowd starts on Friday 25th June on Channel Four.