Justin Timberlake is many things: music superstar, a booze baron (he owns a brand of tequila called 901), and all round mogul with a clothing line, restaurants and a record label. All that at just thirty years of age, but like so many singing stars before him, it seems what he really wants to do is act.
In fact he once said he believes it was always in the cards for him to be an actor.
“I got a phone call when I was 14 saying that there’s a record company that’s going to sign me. But two weeks before that, the plan was to drive to Los Angeles for TV pilot season. So I guess everything works out the way it’s supposed to.”
Fate aside, is his desire to act justified?
From his film debut in the 2000 Disney Channel movie Model Behavior to this weekend’s Friends with Benefits there have been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
He’s earned praise from his co-stars. “I only had a couple of scenes with him but he did a really great job,” said his Alpha Dog co-star Bruce Willis. But critics and bloggers haven’t always been so kind. “Dear Justin Timberlake,” read a 2010 blog headline, “STOP ACTING!”
Forgettable supporting roles in flops like Edison, Black Snake Moan and Southland Tales did little to enhance his reputation, but didn’t hurt it much either. Casting director Billy Hopkins said, “The way he’s handling his career is smart. If a movie fails, it’s not just his failure.”
Everything changed when he was cast in The Social Network. His take on the fast talking Sean Parker, inventor of Napster and an early supporter of facebook, was his breakthrough and won praise from critics.
That inspired performance, coupled with hilarious guest shots on Saturday Night Live (“Put any grown man in a leotard and that’s already funny,” he says.) have earned him the respect of the industry and fans, but he still doesn’t have his pick of roles.
Even though he didn’t get the lead in The Green Lantern, a part that went to Ryan Reynolds, (“I don’t think I’m the superhero type,” he joked.) he wants everyone to know he’s willing to put himself out there.
“I make no bones about the fact that I have always wanted to work in the forum of film.” he says. “I take this seriously.”
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