Aquí tenéis la transcripción de iF Magazine, entrevista realizada en Enero de 2007.
Justin Timberlake, who makes his first foray into acting with ALPHA DOG, doesn’t see his character as repulsive and was more concerned with getting the truth of the story out other than making himself look good. Especially when it concerns the real-life subject of white Los Angeles youth living the gangster life who get involved in kidnapping and murder.
Timberlake who started his tenure in the public eye as part of the singing group N’Sync and then later in a solo career, has gone the way so many musicians before him have gone into acting.
Timberlake’s portrayal of the character of Frankie is a revelation, taking the character convincingly through each twitch of his self-deceiving, keep-it-light persona.
IF MAGAZINE caught up with the newly minted young actor and got the inside line on playing such a down and dirty character the first time out of the chute.
iF MAGAZINE: Why pick such a repulsive guy for your first role?
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: First of all thanks for pointing that out. I don’t think the point was for the character to be repulsive; the point was just to show the truth of what was happening in the story. We had so much groundwork, as actors. There is so much information for all of the characters and I think that all of us felt morally responsible for portraying that. I don’t think it’s stretching the statement at all to say this is a tough movie to watch. But this is as close to what happened as we felt like we could make it.
As far as the repulse you’ll have to talk to the director about that because I think he definitely wanted to push that.
iF: Was that risky?
TIMBERLAKE: My only stipulation was I wanted to crack a couple of jokes here and there. That was it. To answer that question I think for me it was just to be involved with great actors and a great director and great material. And that’s what led me to this film.
iF: What about a movie career vs. music career?
TIMBERLAKE: I guess we’ll just have to see. I haven’t thought that far ahead.
iF: Did you talk to people who had experienced this?
TIMBERLAKE: I don’t know that I knew anyone growing up that was specifically like this, but I think as an actor it’s your job to find the relative to play a character. I think all of us could latch on to something that happened as kids. Kids are cruel. Speaking for myself I went with Nick and we traveled upstate Cali to go to prison to visit the guy that my character was based on. Literally when we all signed up for the project we all got a stack of files as thick as a novel, of all the police reports and all the newspaper reports about what had happened. I know that Nick was able to get a lot of information. We trusted Nick to get the information and we all signed up to portray the truth of what happened. And we followed Nick’s lead on that.
iF: Did you met your character and how do they justify this?
TIMBERLAKE: Interestingly enough, when we screened the film at Sundance, I think we all saw the film, when you see it without an audience you don’t see things like that coming, but literally when the first half of the film and the witness credit would come up people would giggle at Sundance. That sort of helps support the point that Anton just made. I think he watched it as those characters watched it happen. That’s what I think is so special about the film is you watch it literally through their eyes. No one saw that happening and I think that’s sort of the point.
iF: Did you meet any of the witnesses?
TIMBERLAKE: In California it became almost like legend. It was interesting. I found that around Los Angeles and outside of it people would come up to me and ask if I was doing the movie on Jesse James and the Nick Markowitz thing, right? And they would always label it like that. And I would say yes, and they would all say, “I knew that guy. I knew Jesse James Hollywood”. Like everybody knew somebody that knew him. It became this interesting thing. But it helped when we were making the film to hear those kinds of things because you realize how kids spread, just how young people converse with each other. You could tell that half the people who came up to tell to you about it knew nothing about it. All they knew was a kid was kidnapped and murdered, but they would always say they knew him. And I found it interesting. Through his infamy he became this weird sort of tall tale to these young people who in some weird way wanted to be involved with it.
iF: Do you consider yourselves involved in the myth since you are in this movie?
TIMBERLAKE: Yeah, I find that every conversation I’ve had after anyone has seen this film is sort of like this group therapy discussion, and rightfully so. I think it’s all in there, but I think what this film does is it doesn’t, you know, it’s fun, it’s fun, it’s fun, it’s fun, and then all of a sudden it’s not. And that’s the way it ends and that’s the way this story ended and that was the responsibility of us. We are entertainers, but this is sort of a different theme.
And what I like about the film is it doesn’t treat you like a dumb a**, so to speak. It lets you feel what really happened. And I find that 100% of the people I know, friends that I brought to screenings, they have to speak about the film. They have to talk about it and talk it through. You are right; it’s not all just rap or hip-hop. With any group of kids…what I took away from the film is how just a little bit of perspective on things could change a humongous outcome in someone’s life. That’s what I took away from it.
iF: How different is music from acting?
TIMBERLAKE: There are lots of differences. In creating music you are sort of the writer and the director and the producer because you create it from scratch. Obviously in playing a role in a film you take guidance and you put your trust in the director and the writer. And also I find it even more collaborative, especially with a project like this. You come into it and you have to trust the people you are in front of the camera with, which was very easy. I can’t speak about how amazing the other 4 actors are here. I was a sponge, the whole film, just watching all of them, except for Emile. [Laughs] I’m just joking.
It’s sort of like you feel like you are playing a position on a team. Like today we need you to play forward, we don’t need you to play point guard. That’s probably a really crappy analogy, but it’s the closest one I could think of off the top of my head. You play a role and you are part of a collaborative unit and obviously with creating music you are solely responsible for the creation of it. So yeah, to wrap your mind around this you definitely approach it differently.
iF: Which scenes were most emotionally challenging?
TIMBERLAKE: The pool scene (where Anton’s character makes out with two girls) was challenging for us to watch. That was just not fair! [Laughs]
For me personally the hilltop wasn’t the most challenging for me personally because I could relate to so many times when you might have been intoxicated or whatever and something happens and all of a sudden you are not in control of the situation. The reaction to that I didn’t find that difficult. The most difficult scene for me was the scene with Shawn and I where we are sitting at the hotel on the steps and he’s kind of talking me through why this should happen for my character to accept that. That was the toughest scene for me to wrap my mind around. For me to get through that scene I just had to accept that his decision was based solely on fear. When you are afraid of the moment you either don’t take control of the situation and do the right thing, or you let the wrong thing happen. And by doing that you don’t do the right thing. So that was probably the toughest scene for me to wrap my mind around.