Justin Timberlake, lead actor
Justin Timberlake tries his hand playing the leading man in a provocative science fiction film.
DIRECTOR Andrew Niccol made an impressive debut as director and writer with Gattaca – a smart, cautionary tale set in the fictional future that deals with all kinds of prejudices. Now Niccol turns his attention to In Time, which features a world in which people stop ageing at 25. In the world of In Time, time is the most valuable commodity, allowing the rich to live an almost immortal-like lifestyle, which is worlds apart from life of the poor, who know their time may be up tomorrow. Niccol chose Justin Timberlake to play the blue-collar protagonist Will Salas, who grows up poor only to inherit time and be rich.
In an interview transcript provided by Twentieth Century Fox, Niccol identified the fact that Timberlake has been working since he was a child as reason enough to know the multi-talented artiste could pull off the role of an action hero in a sci-fi flick.
As for Timberlake, the role not only challenged him as an actor but gave him a chance to explore the human spirit (Will lives his life not wasting a single moment) and basic human instinct to survive (Will is accused of murder and is forced to be on the run to stay alive).
The 30-year-old said he immediately identified with Will. “My mother told me from a very young age: ‘ You have an extraordinary ability when you step on a stage or perform, but that doesn’t make you a better or more extraordinary person than anyone else.’ That was an important value to learn. I come from a blue-collar neighbourhood outside Memphis, Tennessee, where people work hard for the things they earn, so I really identify with Will in that way. When we meet him at the start of the film he doesn’t have much at all and he values the simple things in life. I have always been that way ... I am an ‘everyman’ because that is how I have always seen myself.”
Timberlake started performing as early as 11-years-old when he participated in a talent show called Star Search. He then appeared in The All New Mickey Mouse Club, and three years later, became a member of the boyband *N Sync. The band was not just a smash hit, but a stepping stone for Timberlake to achieve even more success when he released a solo album in 2002, Justified, along with a new and sexy image. His second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Charts and had many oh-so-catchy tunes including SexyBack, My Love and What Goes Around ... Comes Around. The two albums earned him six Grammys and loads of fans, worldwide.
He was a guy who could do no wrong it seemed – well until the Super Bowl and the wardrobe malfunction fiasco in 2004 (while performing with Janet Jackson, she accidentally revealed a little too much of herself, causing a huge uproar). But like that time when he didn’t win first place at Star Search, he bounced back from the bad publicity to prove music isn’t the only thing he is good at. He ventured into films, taking on smaller parts in Alpha Dog and The Social Network before taking on bigger parts in Bad Teacher and Friends With Benefits. Timberlake also has won five Emmys for his work on the TV show, Saturday Night Live. Even away from the limelight, his personal life – mostly involving beautiful blondes – always makes for great fodder in the gossip pages.
Talent aside, Timberlake is obviously driven to explore new avenues and to be inspired. He explained: “There is always something new, maybe directing, I don’t know. Listen, when I am actually inspired to do something, I have never been shy about doing it. I grew up as an only child and I have always done things on my own. You get this real go-getter instinct without even thinking about it. When you know you want something, you just do it the best you can.
“It is important to allow yourself the ability to screw up every now and then because you learn so much from that. But really, I know nothing. I have nothing figured out. It is like starting at zero with every new project, and I like being there. I think that’s probably why, in my career, I’ve enjoyed being the rookie. I enjoy that feeling. I enjoy new things and I always will. I’m fascinated by so many different things and I think I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t need to apologise for that.”
Like Timberlake, the character Will is constantly in motion. While Timberlake has always made sure he stays fit – in order to keep up his gruelling concert schedule that sees him dancing a lot – with training and playing sports; he did tear a calf muscle working on In Time, due to all the running he was doing.
“I landed in a funny way filming a scene, nothing crazy or dramatic happened. But we had to take a week off. We changed the schedule so I could shoot some of the less physical scenes that week. When you are working on a movie, you don’t realise how much you put your body through until the next day. Sometimes you work 12 hours a day and you can spend six hours straight just on one scene. Early on, before you start filming, you will read a scene that involves walking by the ocean and you think that sounds like an amazing scene to watch from the audience’s point of view and then when it’s time to shoot the scene it’s January and it’s freezing cold and of course, you never thought about what that would be like.”
In Time also features Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde and Matt Bomer in the cast list, nine-time Oscar nominee cinematographer Roger Deakins and triple Oscar-winner costume designer Colleen Atwood. “I was looking around while we were filming feeling like I was surrounded by a lot of brilliance. But I think what people will relate to most is Will and Sylvia (Seyfried) because they’ll find so much of themselves as I did in both characters. I found myself relating to both of them very much.”
As for the theme of the film where nobody ages and time is of utmost importance, Timberlake shared: “I often find what makes you awkward as a kid, in turn makes you beautiful as an adult and you can’t embrace that without a level of maturity and without knowing who you are as a person. I think the most important thing is to be comfortable in your own skin and know what you have versus who you aspire to be, and finding a dynamic between those two ideas. The more experience you have in life, the more you realise that time is really the most precious commodity. Time is truly the most valuable thing that you have because it eventually runs out for everyone.”
But for Timberlake, he likes the prospect of getting older. “I like myself much more at 30 than I did when I was 25. You accept things more and you become more patient. I have been really lucky; I have made the most of my luck and I am happy about that.” – MumtajBegum n InTime opens in cinemas nationwide on Oct 27.
‘It is important to allow yourself the ability to screw up every now and then because you learn so much from that,’ says Justin Timberlake.
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is accused of murder and is on the run taking a rich girl (amanda Seyfried) as a hostage in