The Larry Summers moment in "The Social Network," and how actor Douglas Urbanski nailed it
White House economic adviser Larry Summers loves to talk, but he's been quiet about his breakout Hollywood moment in "The Social Network."
In a short but memorable scene, Summers (then president of Harvard) meets with twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who want the university to punish Mark Zuckerberg for supposedly ripping off their big idea for what became Facebook. Played by Douglas Urbanski, Summers is depicted as dismissive and arrogant, mocking both the twins and the idea that a social network site could be worth millions.
"I'm sorry, President Summers, what you just said makes no sense to me at all," says one of the twins.
Retorts the celluloid Summers, sarcastically: "I'm devastated by that."
Is that really how it went down? A rep for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin told us only that "everything in the scene is sourced." While the encounter is played for laughs, the actual meeting was much more contentious, according to one party involved. "He had a massive opportunity to put some teeth into the university ethics code," Cameron Winklevoss told our colleague Monica Hesse. Instead, he says, Summers blew them off.
What's not in dispute is the dead-on impression played by Urbanski, a Hollywood producer ("The Contender") and occasional guest host on Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Although he's never met Summers, Urbanski -- who bears a more than passing resemblance -- was asked to take the role by director David Fincher.
"Excellent, wasn't it?" said the actor, who was surprised by his ample minutes of screen time: "I thought if you'd blink, you'd miss me." Instead, friends of Summers keep asking him how he nailed him. Urbanski told us it's all the script: "Aaron's words are perfectly put together."
Urbanski said his contacts told him the White House screened the movie recently. "The president and his friends liked me as Larry Summers," he said. (The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.) And the real Summers? An aide said the National Economic Council director (who is set to head back to Harvard as a professor later this year) hasn't seen the film and had no comment.
But if he wants to meet his doppelganger, there's a standing invitation. "I'm told he's quite good company," the actor said. "If he's ever in Beverly Hills, he's welcome to come by."
The Reliable Source
| October 7, 2010; 1:05 AM ET
Categories: 44: Obama's Washington, Politics
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