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Continued: 'Internship' film focuses on Google's good side

  • Article by: MICHAEL LIEDTKE , AP Technology Writer
  • Last update: June 4, 2013 - 2:30 PM

"Google was the company that seemed the most interesting to me," Vaughn said. "It was the right complement to this story."

One of the movie's producers, Sandra J. Smith, used to work in the tech industry and tapped into some of those connections to set up the early meetings with Google. The company agreed to help out with the movie, without any veto power over the script, after Levy promised Google officials the movie wouldn't be cynical or mean-spirited.

"In retrospect, the amount of creative autonomy that they handed over to me was excellent, but also it could have really bitten them," Levy said during an interview with The Associated Press at Google's headquarters. "It turned out in a way that we're all happy."

Just as Google didn't pay for its products to appear in the movie, filmmakers didn't pay for Google's assistance or access to its headquarters.

Google's cooperation stands in contrast to Facebook's refusal to participate in the making of "The Social Network," a 2010 film that drew a darker portrait of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. In that instance, Facebook stressed the movie wasn't anything like what really happened within the company.

"The Internship" doesn't directly mention Google's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, though Brin makes two short appearances playing himself. Brin is seen happily cruising around the Google grounds when the characters played by Vaughn and Wilson arrive to start their internship. Brin also appears near the end of the movie to congratulate the interns.

The first appearance wasn't even in the script, according to Levy. The director said he simply saw a bearded guy riding around Google's headquarters on an elliptical bicycle while wearing clothing better suited for yoga. When someone told Levy who that person was, he asked Brin if he could film him. Brin obliged.

Page, who is Google's CEO and is less outgoing than Brin, doesn't appear in the movie, though he wanted to see it made in hope that it will get more young people interested in pursuing careers in technology.

"The reason we got involved in that is because computer science has a marketing problem," Page said last month during an appearance at a Google conference for programmers in San Francisco. "We are the nerdy curmudgeons."

Page believes the movie's coolest character is a headphone-wearing, mostly silent engineer who ends up playing a key role in the climactic scene. "We are really excited about that," he said.

Although he said he didn't set out to make an ode to Google, Levy leaves little doubt about his admiration for the company.

"I realized what they're about is really a certain quality of personhood that yes, has to do with intelligence, but has as much to do with ethical soundness and compassion and a sense of trying to do more good than harm in this world," Levy told the AP.

While meeting with Google's real-life interns, Levy also hailed a company ethos that has become known as "Googleyness." When asked at the Google screening how he defines that term, Levy said: "It's all the things that make you a complete person beyond being smart."


AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this story from Mountain View, Calif.



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