In the David Fincher-directed ensemble drama The Social Network, musician-actor Justin Timberlake plays Sean Parker — the real-life controversial co-founder of file-sharing Web site Napster. Parker was Facebook’s first president until his firing in 2005 for a cocaine-related arrest.
In the film, Timberlake portrays Parker as a hard-partying, smooth-talking Internet kingpin who teams up with Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) to bring Zuckerberg’s start-up social-networking Web site to the next level with the help of venture capitalists.
When Napster debuted its free file-sharing platform in 1999, both Parker and his site were blamed by the music industry as the preliminary cause of nose-diving profits for record labels and musical artists.
Timberlake — who found success and fame around 1999 as a member of the pop group *NSYNC — told AMC News correspondent Jacob Soboroff that, as a musician, he saw the irony in taking on the role of Parker but that he didn’t get “caught up in a projection” of Parker’s status in the music industry and instead just played the part as written.