When I saw “The Social Network” for the first time, my only thought about Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the Olympic rowers who sue Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) for supposedly stealing their idea for Facebook, was “Man, where’d they find two twins who could act and row?” I had absolutely no idea that they hadn’t found two twins, that, in fact, they’d found two totally different actors — Armie Hammer and Josh Pence — and then grafted the face of the former onto the face of the latter using digital trickery. When I learned that, I was absolutely astonished. Then I remembered “The Social Network” was a David Fincher film, and nobody is as good at invisible digital effects as David Fincher.
I just rewatched “The Social Network” again last Friday, the first time since I learned the secret of the Winklevi. Knowing that Cameron and Tyler were really Armie and Armie (with help from Josh) completely changed the way I watched their scenes. Now, the Winklevoss twins’ scenes were wildly impressive and totally distracting. I couldn’t stop looking for the seams, trying to find where Josh ended and Armie began. Ultimately, Fincher and his team of artists did such a good job that I couldn’t. But that didn’t stop me from trying. I’m definitely glad I saw the film once without knowing about all the trickeration going on behind the scenes.
That said, now that I do know the truth, I’m fascinated to learn more, and that’s why I love this clip from Vulture that reveals how Fincher gave one actor another actor’s face without anyone noticing. I also love watching the notoriously detail-oriented Fincher on set — really, he’s the perfect guy to shoot a movie where you have to precisely recreate performances over and over again, because he’d probably be just as crazed about body posture and continuity even if it wasn’t absolutely necessary for the purposes of pulling off insanely complex special effects.