How David Fincher Apologized for Replacing ‘Social Network’ Actor with Armie Hammer’s Face

Josh Pence went through countless auditions to play a Winklevoss, then he found out he'd only be a body double.
"The Social Network"
"The Social Network"

David Fincher’s “The Social Network” opened 10 years ago this month, making instant stars out of cast members Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Rooney Mara, and Armie Hammer. The Oscar-winning Facebook drama allowed each actor to break through in a big way, and it might have done the same for actor Josh Pence had moviegoers gotten to see his face. Hammer appears in “The Social Network” as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, but, on set, Hammer only played one twin. Pence was cast as the other twin, with Fincher using visual effects to put Hammer’s face onto Pence’s body. In a new interview with HuffPo, Pence looks back at his most iconic role that most people don’t realize is him.

“It was really motion capture acting in a way, that’s how we would almost categorize it now,” Pence said. “But at the time that was still, ‘What is this really? How do we define this?’ The press says, ‘Oh, you’re the body double. You’re the body double.’ You hear that enough, and it’s easy to get in your own head about it.”

The truth is that Pence wasn’t hired as a body double. The actor reminded HuffPo that he spent weeks auditioning for the part of one of the Winklevoss twins, which meant learning countless pages of Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue and and hiring a rowing coach to get him into shape for the part. Pence had no idea the role would become that of a body double until early in production.

“We’re being told, me and my agent at the time, that there’s some kind of technology that’s probably going to be used, and there’s a very good chance that we’re not going to see you in the movie, and I said, ‘What?’” Pence remembered.

How did Fincher break the news? Pence said the director delivered the gut punch with the utmost respect, noting, “The conversation I remember was [Fincher] just saying, ‘I am so sorry that I’m gonna have to ask you to do this. There’s not a lot of people that probably want to do this, but I’m gonna bill you as a lead. I’m going to contract you as a lead of this film. I’m gonna treat you as a lead of this film. But at the end of the day, I need you to create this character. And I need you to know both characters, and I need you to pass that character off. And no one’s going to know, because it’s going to be that good.’”

Pence wasn’t going to pass up the chance to work with David Fincher, so he agreed to become a body double for Hammer. After a decade, Pence humorously reflects, “You know what, I felt happy for [Armie] because it was flattering for him physically to be on my body.”

The actor added, “It’s really weird, and here’s what’s also crazy, it’s kind of freaky because I remember when they scanned my face during preproduction, and they had to create this whole 3D model and mold of you, and then they use the tracking dots to track you. You know — Andy Serkis in ‘Lord of the Rings’ — it’s the same thing. So that image and that mold is stored forever … On the one hand, of course it was exciting — the technology, the movie — but there’s just this moment, almost a little bit of a terror in you.”

Pence would go on to have roles in films such as “Gangster Squad” and “Draft Day.” Head over to HuffPo’s website to read more from Pence’s “Social Network” anniversary interview.

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