This former Mouseketeer and boy- band member has finally taken the leap into an action-man role, writes Jonathon Moran
DON’T cross Justin Timberlake – the multitalented star is actually a crack shot, thanks to 20 years of experience in firing guns.
It’s a strange hobby for a former boy- band member but one Timberlake admits he enjoys doing in his downtime from making movies and music and playing golf.
‘‘ I’ve always been a pretty good shot,’’ Timberlake ( pictured) says.
‘‘ You have half a day’s work so I’m like, ‘ What do I do? Oh, I think I’ll go to the gun range and just shoot because that’s part of my job’.’’
The 30- year- old was given his first .22 rifle at the age of 10 by his grandfather and his shooting prowess was put to good use on the set of his latest film, In Time.
In the big- budget crime thriller the multitalented performer stars alongside Amanda Seyfried in a story reminiscent of a futuristic Bonnie & Clyde.
‘‘ It was definitely a lot of fun making this movie,’’ he says on the phone from Los Angeles, mid- afternoon his time.
Still better known for being one of the world’s biggest pop stars, In Time is Timberlake’s first real lead action role and his third film this year, following blockbuster romantic comedies Friends With Benefits and Bad Teacher.
The film tells the story of Will Salas ( Timberlake), who lives in a world where people stop ageing at 25.
Time is the currency put in place to avoid overpopulation and means the rich live for centuries while the poor spend their days struggling to survive.
Salas, one of the many poor, finds himself on the run from the corrupt authorities.
‘‘ In really zoning in on the character, I think I just saw a simple everyday ordinary guy who gets sort of thrown into this extraordinary situation because he is just pushed too far and he fights back,’’ Timberlake says.
‘‘ I think in the same way that I watched heroes when I was a kid and related to them in that way, I felt like it was something that people could relate to and that I related to. Even if I wouldn’t have worked on this film, I would have been very excited to see it.’’
In Time is another exciting project from Gattaca’s Andrew Niccol, tapping into the global issue of being time poor.
It also stars Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Alex Pettyfer and Australian up- and- comer Bella Heathcoate.
‘‘ When I first read the script, for three days straight I just felt like I couldn’t stop thinking about it,’’ he says.
‘‘ What Andrew [ Niccol] is so famous for is his metaphorical way of turning the mirror on to us using these fantastical concepts, so that was taking up all my time and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.’’
Timberlake manages six to seven hours sleep a night but would dearly love one more hour, as many of us would.
‘‘ I’d sleep a little more probably,’’ he says. ‘‘ I’d work in some time to go to the range and hit some golf balls I guess. I’d probably just sleep in more. If I can get eight [ hours], I feel much better. It’s funny how that extra hour can do the trick.’’
As well as the story, the stunts also attracted Timberlake to the film.
That said, Timberlake is a realist and admits he’ll never be an action hero of the Sylvester Stallone or Bruce Willis variety.
‘‘ I will never be able to play an action hero of the stereotypical sense and what I liked about Will is that he was an anti- hero really,’’ he says.
‘‘ He just wanted to live his life. The everyday man aspect of him was what I was more attracted to because I don’t think I’ve gotten to play that part yet.’’
With a laugh, he adds: ‘‘ But shooting guns and driving fast cars and kicking arse is definitely fun too.’’
To prepare for In Time, Timberlake adjusted his training schedule. Instead of weights, he concentrated on cardio. ‘‘ I run a lot in this film,’’ he says. ‘‘ I didn’t want Will to be a muscle- bound hero, so to speak. I wanted him to be crafty more than anything, so I ran a lot more and worked sprints into my daily routine.’’
There’s no doubt Timberlake is a busy man. As well as this year’s three films, there’s also talk the former ’ N Sync boy- band singer will release a new solo album in 2012. It’s been five years since he released
Future Sex/ Love Sounds.
Despite his success musically and as an actor, Timberlake admits some in the industry still expect him to prove himself.
‘‘ I definitely sense it and I feel that it’s out there but it wouldn’t be the first time that someone told me they thought I needed to prove myself because I was trying something different,’’ he says.
‘‘ I went solo with my music and it’s not dissimilar to that. I try not to put any added pressure on myself. I just want to do good work and continue to be inspired.’’
Having had such a busy year on the acting front, Timberlake reveals he will take a break over the coming months.
‘‘ I’m going to take some time off and enjoy some me time,’’ says Timberlake, who is rumoured to be again dating on- off girlfriend Jessica Biel.
‘‘ To be honest, my next season, the winter season for me, is very relaxed. That’s all I have on my schedule,’’ he says.
Perhaps we’ll see Timberlake in Australia. His last visit was in October 2007. ‘‘ I had a blast,’’ he says. ‘‘ I do love the Aussie energy, it’s kind of one of a kind, so I’d like to get back out there soon.’’
SCREEN STAR: ( Clockwise from top left) Justin Timberlake with Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher; with Britney Spears in
2001 and running with Amanda Seyfried in