If I say the name, Justin Timberlake, you think of the singer, don’t you; the one who was in *NSync, the one who went out with Britney Spears, the one who sang “Sexy Back.” But what about the rest of him?
Did you know that he’d like to be taken seriously as an actor, but feels he won’t be, because his “music career hangs over him like a cloud.”
Justin was in Cannes, at the premiere of his new film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” from the magnificent Coen Brothers. Indeed, the film received a 10-minute standing ovation. Timberlake plays Jim Berkey, a folk singer buddy of Llewyn (Oscar Isaac). Llewyn has an affair with Jim’s wife Jean (Carey Mulligan).
The film is set in New York, just before Bob Dylan arrived in the early 1960s. There was a lot of folk music during that period. In an interview on Sunday, Timberlake described Berkey as, “part of the transition that is sort of the underbelly of the time. Obviously, it’s on the surface, a different style from the music that I make in real life. But listen, man, I grew up in Tennessee, the home of the blues, the birthplace of rock’n’roll – Memphis – and a lot of country music. So my first musical lessons were given to me by my grandfather on an old Gibson guitar. He taught me how to fingerpick.”
In his role as Berkey, Justin plays it light, in a similar fashion to his Saturday Night Live appearances. He isn’t the star, but he makes the role his own. He’s very happy with where his acting career is going, and quite rightly so.
In speaking to The Metro about the direction of his acting and music career Justin said,
“I feel pretty good about it. I just feel as though I try to make specific choices for the projects that are inspiring to me. If I can continue to do that, then I’ll be gratified by whatever the outcome is. The more you get to work, the more you realize the journey and the process are the parts you remember forever. Sometimes movies are an experience you didn’t expect they were going to be. I think you hope for the best and expect the worst, and if it ends up in the middle, you’re fine.”
He recommends people disregard how their work is received. Once it’s out there, it’s out there.
“There’s a lot of analysis now, a lot of analytics on what might be success and what might be failure. I don’t know that I would measure the success or failure of it by how it’s perceived because once it’s done, it’s sort of out there. You have to let it live in the ether.”
And yes, he sings in this film – he and co-stars Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac team up on a folk song, “Please Mr. Kennedy” (which Timberlake co-wrote) - but don’t let that detract from his skill as an actor.
What lies ahead for Justin Timberlake? More acting? More music? More business ventures, such as the revamped MySpace? Only Justin knows for sure. Whatever it is he does, he’ll do it well, that’s certain.