There is a strange, subtle reference to Natalie Portman in “The Social Network” which I’ve been wondering about since I saw the movie. So I was delighted to discover that last week at an early screening of the film at Harvard, writer Aaron Sorkin explained it.
Here’s what happens: Sitting around a long boardroom table during one of the film’s many deposition scenes, one of the parties suing Zuckerberg explains the genesis of Facebook, and how practically overnight, Mark Zuckerberg had become “the biggest thing on a campus that included nineteen Nobel Laureates, fifteen Pulitzer Prize winners, two future Olympians, and a movie star.” One of the lawyers then asks, “Who was the movie star?” And the litigant answers, “Does it matter?”
It’s obvious Sorkin was talking about Portman, since was enrolled at Harvard from 1999-2003 around the time Zuckerberg created Facebook. Initially, the line sounded like a dig, so I wondered if Portman had turned Sorkin down for a date, but apparently it’s quite the opposite.
“Natalie Portman got in touch with me when she heard that I was doing this to say, ‘Listen…come over for dinner and I’ll tell you some stories,’” Sorkin told the group of Harvard students.
Since Sorkin’s story suggests that Zuckerberg modeled Facebook after the elite final clubs at Harvard, he needed some background information on how the whole system worked. Portman reportedly dated a member of the famous Porcellian Club and dished over dinner.
“I would’ve come over for dinner under any circumstances. But that was really helpful,” Sorkin said.
The blogosphere has now dubbed Portman “Sorkin’s secret weapon”.