INT: Justin Timberlake
It might very well be a strange thing for those of us that remember N*Sync, that one of those guys would become a successful actor. But look at Mr. Justin Timberlake. He not only was able to continue with a successful solo career, but he has had the opportunity to play a wide array of characters in such films as BLACK SNAKE MOAN, ALPHA DOG and his latest, THE LOVE GURU. He also gets to travel in similar territory as Jacques Grande a French Canadian hockey player with an infamously large íle cockí. And with his work on ďSaturday Night LiveĒ including the ever popular ĎDick in a Boxí, it seems like he has found a way to play with his own SexyBack image. And yesÖ I knew what I was doing when I wrote Ďplay withí.
When he stopped by to talk Love Guru with us at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, I found myself actually liking the guy. And yes, it is me who tried to get him to admit that Celine Dion might just be terribly annoying. But no, he smiled and only said it was Ďcoolí to listen to her. He does a great chest pound in the film, much like she does on stage. Is it true that all French Canadianís have Celine Dion love? Possibly. But I do appreciate Justinís humor and the way he offers respect to folks like Mike Myers and others that he has worked with. You can see Mr. Timberlake in speedo glory (if that is your type of thing) when THE LOVE GURU opens this Friday at a theatre near you.
Itís always been a dream of mine. Iím happy that I was able to meet the mark.
They [Mike Myers and Marco Schnabel] said that after they saw ĎDick In A Boxí they kind of stepped up your character in the show. What did you think of your character?
I didnít know that, as a matter of fact when I was filming I didnít even put them together. Iím starting to realize that Iím digging myself a nice big hole of penile humor.
Did the comedy ever get too big for you? Do you like doing the really far out and wacky comedies? You always do so great on ĎSaturday Night Liveí.
I think that, with Mike [Myers] coming from ĎSaturday Night Liveí as well, there is such an element of that in his style of comedy. Isnít it cool that there is a Mike Myers style of comedy? I was talking about that with someone, which is sort of what makes him a legend already to me, that heís already carved out his own and thatís a great thing. I think itís important to know how you fit in and I knew exactly. After doing ĎSNLí, and knowing Mike, you know what you are getting into.
Where did you meet him? Was it from working on the SHREK THE THIRD?
I met Mike prior to being cast in SHREK THE THIRD and then after working on that and promoting the film together. Now Iím actually working with him in the flesh, not just as a presence.
What was it about this? He told us he always wanted to do something with you and he thought this would be a good role for you.
Thatís what he said, but I didnít know that.
Tell us about that?
He called up and said ĎIíve got this character and I could cast two or three other people in it, but they wonít do it the way youíll do it, and I think you are awesome.í I said ĎAlright.í I thought it was one of my friends, so I thought ĎAlright, stop.í And he was like ĎNo, its Mike!í and he sent me the script. I read the script and I called him back. We talked about how the character would look, I threw some ideas at him, and he threw some ideas at me, and it just really became a collaborative process. Even after accepting the role, being cast, and showing up, we still improvised so much to get the specifics of the character down.
Now during this film did you try to get the idea from him, for your character or how did you prepare?
The only real preparation that I did was on the accent. I worked on getting that down proper and showing up to set. I just stretched it as far as I could to make it funny. I didnít study Vincent Cassel though. I had to actually learn the words to the Celine Dion song, but forgive me, I didnít know all of them.
How often did you have to listen to that song?
I am slightly musical so I did get it down pretty quick.
But seriouslyÖ you had to listen to Celine Dion over and over? It had to be rough. [Laughing]
No, it was cool. It was coolÖ thatís a matter of opinion [Laughing].
Have you been to India?
Did this inspire you to go there and explore?
I would love to go to India. I donít want to go to India to work though, I want to go to India to play. I want to sight see. As soon as I get some time off Iím going to have to plan a trip. Itís on my list. India and Egypt, just the East is definitely on my list of places to go.
Do you think you can play into a Bollywood film after this movie?
I didn't. I played a French Canadian. So not too much.
This is pretty straight forward comedy, but you have so many different characters that you have done. What drives you to play a certain type of role? What do you look for when you choose them?
Just the material. Who is going to tell the story, who is the director, who is involved? Who is going to be there to help tell the story? ALPHA DOG for instance, as depressing as it was, I thought it was a story that should be told. I met Craig Brewer before BLACK SNAKE MOAN and knew that an opportunity like that was great, because I think he is so talented. I loved the story, as sketched as it wasÖ I guess you could say itís exploitive but I felt it was proper to tell that story. Itís usually about the material. This is my first comedy, so picking a comedy to do, it was laugh out loud funny. How do you say ĎNo.í to that? Iíve enjoyed playing the antagonist and itís probably because Iím always the main character in the movie. Itís always about me. I just recently did my first, I will call it my first protagonist role, with Jeff Bridges. Itís this film I just did called THE OPEN ROAD. Itís a small film I just did, and itís a little straighter forward of a film, kind of a dram-edy. Working with him, heís my favorite actor Iíve worked with.
When you were really young what did you always dream to be?
I always dreamed to be a pro basketball player and that didnít work out.
When did you dream that?
I still dream of it. Now, itís a pro golfer [Laughing].
What made you think ĎI want to do show businessĎ?
My father, my fatherís side of my family, they have always been musical. I was always around it when I was young, so it was natural for me to just be involved with it. I never knew that I would be able to be a professional at it, I just always loved it. I was a ham in school. I was just a ham. Thatís all we really all are, actors and musicians or performers, we are all just hams.
So with your acting skills now, is hockey the next big sports frontier for you?
I donít think so man, itís painful. I have the utmost respect for those athletes. I think itís physically the hardest sport to play. Itís physically the toughest.
My back. I have a bad back anyway. Wearing goalie gear from head to toe, for 12 hour days, with skates? You attach the pad to the skates so one doesnít come off without the other, then you get wet. You do one slide on the ice and it gets wet so it weighs twice as much. Not my idea of a good time.
So the 12 hours you had to shoot on the ice?
Yeah, we shot at the Air Canada Center in Toronto so we were on the ice all day.
With your music, you were working with Madonna, thatís a huge thing. Do you see yourself working with her again? Are you working on another album? WhatĎs next for you?
Right now, the whole first half of this year, I just started an independent label last year with Interscope, called Tennman Records, and all of my musical energy is going into that, so we should have some records out later this year. I have Esmee Denters and I would describe it as pop music from Holland. I found her on YouTube. I have a band that I signed from Memphis. I saw them play a show for some college kids, itís a hip-hop rap band called Free Sol. I have one of my friends, he was on a television show with me when we were kids, and he lives in Denver. I would describe that as alternative. His name is Matt Morris. Then I donít know if you guys remember that 2 years ago there was a Grammy contest? The runner up was Brenda Radney and sheís kind of R & B hip-hop. It covers the spectrum. Itís kind of cool for me because as an artist, you donít want to alienate your fan base. The Beatles did it so well, they were constantly conscious of where they were and where they were going. I think there is a lesson to be learned from that, so I kind go out on a limb, write different styles of music, and integrate it into these artists based on the fact that there are so many different styles of music now. Even with just four artists and a small label. Itís not projected onto me, so its kind of fun. I have a lot more freedom.
Let me know what you think. Send questions and/or comments to JimmyO@joblo.com.
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