Cameron Diaz is keen to teach her ex, Justin Timberlake, a thing or two, write Nathalie Gale and Cindy Pearlman
A risque role for the Hollywood temptress.
BUMPING into a former boyfriend can be a terrifying experience – but not if you are Cameron Diaz.
The There’s Something About Mary star asked to work with her former flame Justin Timberlake in her new movie, Bad Teacher.
‘‘ We wanted Justin because he is such a brilliant comedian. He is such a funny guy. He is very talented and he’s got the southern sweetness,’’ Diaz says of Timberlake. The pair ( pictured inset) dated for almost four years.
In the movie, Diaz ( pictured) plays Elizabeth, an alcoholic high school teacher who has no qualms dropping the F-bomb and tries her best to woo a wealthy colleague ( played by Timberlake).
It’s the second R-rated funnywoman film to be released in the past few weeks and follows the success of Bridesmaids, a comedy which has grossed more than $ 150 million worldwide.
Diaz says the increase of women taking on risque roles is refreshing.
‘‘ It’s great. I mean, it’s nice because usually I’m always ruining takes because somehow it [ swear words] slips out,’’ she says. ‘‘ And to be able to do a film where they’re like ‘ Could you do that [ swear] a little bit more?’ I’m like ‘ Really? All right’. So it’s a lot of fun.’’
Before Bridesmaids, with its all-female cast, opened in the US, there was much talk about how it would perform.
Hollywood studios have been happy to bankroll R-rated comedies starring men.
The Hangover movie franchise, with its new blockbuster sequel that smashed North American box office records, is expected to eventually make $ 1 billion.
The question Bridesmaids cast and producer Judd Apatow faced was: Are movie audiences ready for a naughty comedy with a female cast?
‘‘ It’s a lie to think that women are not as gross as men,’’ says Apatow, whose mostly male comedies include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up and Superbad. ‘‘ We’re just showing it for the first time.’’ For one, Diaz is happy for the chance to show her gross side. But, fear not male fans, there is plenty of the usual flaunting of her bikini body.
Former model Diaz began her acting career as the female lead in The Mask opposite Jim Carrey, She then honed her skills in low-budget films such as Feeling Minnesota and She’s the One.
Her next mainstream film was My Best Friend’s Wedding, in which she held her own against Julia Roberts. But perhaps her most well-known role was as the goofy leading lady in There’s Something About Mary.
Timberlake, meanwhile, had a very different climb to fame. He joined the cast of The All-New Mickey Mouse Club in 1993 along with Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling and Britney Spears.
Timberlake became the lead singer of boy band ’ N Sync, rocketing to the top of the charts in the late 1990s. In 2002, after seven years with the band, he abandoned it for a solo career.
Last year, he wowed cinema audiences with his break-out performance as Napster founder Sean Parker in The Social Network.
‘‘ It’s hard to convince the world you’re serious when you come to the acting world as someone who is known for getting on a stage every night and rocking the house,’’ Timberlake says. ‘‘ There’s a stigma attached to it.’’
The Social Network propelled Timberlake to the next level in Hollywood, putting his name over the title in two films.
In Bad Teacher, he plays Scott Delacorte. The idea of doing a broad comedy appealed to Timberlake.
‘‘ I grew up loving comedy above all else,’’ he says. ‘‘ SNL [ Saturday Night Live] was always my thing. I knew I could do Bad Teacher because I learned my comic chops watching this show, plus Lorne Michaels [ SNL producer] allowed me to host the show and rock out.’’
As for his role with Diaz, Timberlake says it didn’t cause any problems.
‘‘ We’re still friends and knowing each other was a great way to trust working with each other.’’
His next screen venture is another comedy, Friends with Benefits, a farce about friends who end up in bed together.
Timberlake says acting is more collaborative than doing his own show or making a CD.
‘‘ I’m the buck on stage – everything stops with me. On a movie, I have to trust what I’m doing and toss the ball around with the other actors. It’s a completely different, fulfilling, collaborative, creative experience,’’ he says.
Diaz, too, still loves the thrill of making movies.
‘‘ It’s something I never take for granted. It’s a gift.’’
Opens Village Cinemas on Thursday