Justin Timberlake en la conferencia de prensa de «The Love Guru» celebrada el pasado 9 de junio en el hotel Four Seasons, en Beverly Hills, California. El estreno de la película en España, conocida como «El Gurú del Buen Rollo», ha sido atrasado hasta el próximo 17 de octubre.
A continuación varias entrevista realizadas durante la conferencia de prensa:
MoviesOnline sat down recently to chat with Justin Timberlake about his new movie, “The Love Guru,” produced and written by Mike Myers and directed by Marco Schnabel. When Guru Pitka (Myers) is engaged to use his ancient spiritual wisdom to fix a 21st Century celebrity romance, his karma runs headlong into comedy. The all-star cast also includes Jessica Alba, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer, Meagan Good, Omid Djalili and Ben Kingsley who join Myers in this romp through the territory where enlightenment and merriment collide.
Timberlake plays the savagely seductive Quebecois goalie, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande, who lives up to his name and uses his prodigious charisma, love of chick-flicks and crooning of Celine Dion tunes to steal away the affections of hockey rival, Darren Roanoke’s (Malco) wife. When the star player of the Toronto Maple Leafs loses his wife to the L.A. Kings’ legendary goalie, his unhappy love life leads to an agonizing losing streak for his team.
For the hilariously uninhibited role, Myers immediately thought of someone unexpected: the global pop star and multi-talented Justin Timberlake, with whom he had worked on the animated hit “Shrek the Third.” Timberlake had also been seen on a number of memorable “Saturday Night Live” sketches, but this would mark his first major comedic film character.
Says Myers about TIMBERLAKE: “I do have a man-crush on him. He’s like the most talented human being I’ve ever met in my life. And as the most well-endowed player in the National Hockey League, he’s very funny. Justin instantly nailed the character. He also turns out to have a great goalie stance.”
“Justin’s comic abilities have been largely untapped,” notes Schnabel. “But I believe a new comedy star has been born. As Darren Roanoke’s romantic rival, Justin took it to a whole new level with his dancing and singing. We had to do take after take because we were laughing so hard. And Mike and I were having a ball because we just never knew what Justin was going to do next.”
Justin Timberlake is a fabulous guy and we really appreciated his time. Here’s what he had to tell us about “The Love Guru”:
MoviesOnline: When you tried on the costume and looked at yourself in the mirror, what went through your mind?
TIMBERLAKE: I said, ”This is going to be funny. I know! All I have to do is show up now and this is going to be funny.”
MoviesOnline: What do you think Mike Myers saw in you that made him think you could pull this off?
TIMBERLAKE: I can’t say, really. I would assume that my interaction with Mike promoting Shrek the Third and probably most likely my couple of stints on SNL let Mike know that I could play the part.
MoviesOnline: Did he just send you the script or did he call you up and describe it to you?
TIMBERLAKE: He called first and then he sent the script and our conversation went something like, “Hey, I want you to come play the villain in this new movie I’m working on. I’ve been, you know, workshopping the character.” I don’t know if you guys know Mike’s process, but it’s pretty amazing, right? I wish I would have gotten to workshop Jacques Grande. That was pretty amazing. Now he’s just going to be too famous. I’m not going to be able to show up and do it.
MoviesOnline: Did you work on the accent? Did you have a dialect coach?
TIMBERLAKE: Both. Yes. I figured the best way to do it was to get the accent down proper. And so I got the accent down proper and then when we got to set, for the first couple of days that I was on set, I just kept the dialect coach with me, and said, “You have to help me find ways to milk this.” Because we’re in a Mike Myers film, okay, so we have to be funny.” I didn’t think about it, somebody just pointed this out to me, I’m the only other caricature really in the film. I mean, between Mike and myself, everybody else plays it kind of straight. But we are the antagonists in the film. I’m the other guy who’s basically in a clown suit.
MoviesOnline: Does it help you to stay in character between takes? Did you keep the accent?
TIMBERLAKE: As much as possible. I would say something and then repeat it, you know, in zee accent, to try to keep it fresh. But you’re kind of just going, you know. A lot of it, like I said, was picking out certain words where you could mess with the rhythm of them and sort of make them funny.
MoviesOnline: Was comedy always something that you could do easily?
TIMBERLAKE: I don’t think it’s easy.
MoviesOnline: Why do you think you’re funny? Where does that come from?
TIMBERLAKE: Well look at me! Apart from that. I know that there’s certain people in the world like Mike who just enjoy making people laugh. My earliest memories as a kid was I would always try to make my mom and my stepdad laugh at dinner. Or make my friends laugh in class. I don’t know. It’s just something I really enjoy doing, especially to be a part of something like this. You don’t get this call every day because Mike doesn’t do this movie but every so often. So, you know, I jumped at the chance I think.
MoviesOnline: Did you go anywhere in that outfit to see if anybody recognized you?
TIMBERLAKE: No, but funny enough, the first day that I worked there were a handful of crew members who didn’t know it was me for the first half day. Actually the director came up to me and he said, “This is so funny, you’re going to love this. A couple of the crew guys just came up to me and said, “Hey, isn’t Justin Timberlake supposed to start today? Doesn’t he start shooting today?” And he was like, “Yeah. Did he not show up?” And he was like, “That’s him.” So when things like that started to come to my attention, I was like, this is going to be something memorable.
MoviesOnline: Do you know anything about hockey and are you a Celine Dion fan?
TIMBERLAKE: I’m a Celine Dion fan. Maybe not as obsessive as my character. I knew a little bit about hockey, but obviously I learned a lot. I got a crash course in how to play goalie, which is not easy at all. I was okay. I did pretty good. I got to actually [play]. I’ll tell you what’s fun is you get in these situations, because that’s what I really wanted to do when I was a kid, I wanted to be a pro-basketball player. That’s the only other thing I did that I cared about when I was a kid. I played AAU ball. I played junior Olympic. I did the whole thing from the time I was 8 until I was 14, and then all of a sudden I’m 14 years old and I get a phone call saying, “Hey, they’ll give us a record deal.” I was like, “All right, that sounds pretty promising.”
MoviesOnline: What was the most fun moment on set?
TIMBERLAKE: Well the set was kind of a party the whole time. I think the most fun moment on set was actually getting to take slap shots from Rob Blake. That was probably the most fun moment on set. Meeting these legendary hockey players and then skating around with them and them giving me tips on how to actually play goalie. I’m never going to do this after this movie’s over, it’s too painful. But I didn’t tell them that, I was just like, “Thanks man, thank you.”
MoviesOnline: You’ve hosted two very good episodes of Saturday Night Live.
MoviesOnline: Do you get nervous when you’re hosting and did you know that Dick in the Box was going to be what it was? I heard you even performed it in concert.
TIMBERLAKE: Yeah, no, we totally were thinking Emmy. I was looking at Andy, I finished the last lyrics and melody, and I said—Emmy. (Laughs) Uh, no. We knew it was funny to us. We knew, we were laughing and that must count for something. And I think comedy translates that way, you know? Just like I feel like live shows translate that way. If you’re having a good time, it bleeds onto people. But it was something Lorne wanted us to do, you know, after the Chronicles of Narnia. Lorne said, “We’re having Justin on the show. We have to do some sort of digital short.” And Andy [Samberg] and I just got together, and I remember him and his co-writers, I think one of them said, “What about the old Dick in a Box Joke?” And we were like, “That could be funny.” Then all of a sudden, I can’t remember who said it, but it was like, “What if we made a cheesy, early nineties R&B song out of it?” I was like, “Alright, I got that.” And we just started writing it. They had written down a bunch of lines. You know, we came back the next day and one of his co-writers had done a bunch of lines. So I just basically modified the lines, added words here and there, and put it together like a puzzle and put a melody to it.
MoviesOnline: What about performing it in concert? How did that go over?
TIMBERLAKE: We did it at the Garden. Imagine a sold-out Madison Square Garden singing the whole song. It was pretty magical. As far as getting nervous for SNL, it’s just pure excitement. You get that little bit of nervousness because you know the next hour and a half you’re just going to be running. You don’t have time to think about it. I think that’s why they give you a week to figure it out, because you really don’t have time to think about it when it’s happening. If you’re able to, do me a favor and YouTube the Christmas episode with Dick in a Box, and watch the opening segment because I went from a suit into the Cup of Soup in literally 30 seconds. It should give you an idea. Because there’s no commercial break between the intro with Alvin and the Chipmunks and the next sketch, and I walk into the next sketch. And it’s a short amount of time. So that’s how fast you’re changing clothes. You don’t have time to think about anything when the show is actually being taped.
MoviesOnline: Was acting always an extension for you of music? Was that always a plan of yours?
TIMBERLAKE: Funny enough, I remember, it’s interesting, my stepdad and I just had a conversation. He goes, “You know, it’s so funny that you’re actually still finding a way to get into film.” And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Remember when you were 14 and you were recording demos in Nashville.” The television show had gotten canceled and I was going back to school and I was going to start high school. Our next thing was to try to drive out to LA for pilot season, and that was what I was going to do. And I got a phone call from Chris Kirkpatrick, and he said there’s a label in Germany that will sign us and we’ll have a manager. Who’d have known he’d end up spending 25 in jail—but it’s not my business. It’s just funny how it all kind of works out.
MoviesOnline: Are you surprised at the way things have turned out for you in terms of your career?
TIMBERLAKE: A lot. A lot. Every day I kind of look at it and say, “How didâ€¦?” But it’s interesting. One thing definitely leads to the other. I don’t know, everybody says, “Everything happens for a reason.” I don’t know about that, but I know that one thing leads to the other. I think I’ve just been lucky enough to have some opportunities thus far to do films that I think are either good dramatic roles or good stories to tell or, you know, Jacques Grande.
MoviesOnline: Do you get nervous right before a concert?
TIMBERLAKE: No, not before a concert.
MoviesOnline: What about going on set for a movie like this?
TIMBERLAKE: I think it depends. For instance, take a film like Black Snake Moan? Basically, I was just an emotional wreck the whole movie, my character. There’s a lot of concentration that goes into filming those scenes. I think you just feel the weight of them more than anything. I think for a performer, because that’s really what we all are, anytime the nervousness comes in, the focus jumps in as well and it overbears it in a way. It supersedes it. I think you just become uber-focused.
MoviesOnline: You’ve done huge arenas and stadiums. Does going before 50,000 people give you butterflies?
TIMBERLAKE: Oh, yeah, you get butterflies. It’s not like, “Oh my God, I hope I do good.” You just sort of get caught up in the electricity of it, if that’s what you mean. Oh, yeah, that still happens to this day, and when that stops happening, you should stop. It’s addictive, you know what I mean?
MoviesOnline: What keeps you grounded? How are you able to deal with the celebrity and all the fame?
TIMBERLAKE: I think that it all goes back to, a lot of it goes back to family. I think it’s how you’re raised. I think that a lot of people, it does, it is at some point or another you have a moment where things become, it becomes pressure. Because you do feel like people are watching you and you do feel like you’re going to affect people and you feel the weight of that. So you start to feel pressure. Then you deal with it one of two ways—or maybe three or four ways. But I think a lot of it has to do with however you were prepared before that moment. For me, my mom and my stepdad, I was born and raised in a home where, you know, we were always taught that everybody puts their pants on the same way every morning, so just because you can do one or two things extraordinarily… My idol when I was a kid was Michael Jordan. I remember when I was really young and my parents telling me, “He’s a great basketball player but that doesn’t make him superhuman, you know. That makes him a great basketball player.” I think that’s just what I was taught. How it’s affected me in my adult life with dealing with what might become too much pressure to meet people’s needs or fascination, is I just let it go. I don’t invest in it. And I stay away from it as much as I can.
MoviesOnline: Any new records? Do you have anything coming out soon?
TIMBERLAKE: Not of my own, but I do have a lot of creative juice going into writing and producing my artists on our indie label. It’s called Tennman Records. Tennessee Man. That’s me.
MoviesOnline: What other movies are you working on?
TIMBERLAKE: I just wrapped a film called The Open Road. I just wrapped a film with Jeff Bridges, Mary Steenburgen, and Harry Dean Stanton. A great cast. A great young writer/director, Michael Meredith. It’s kind of a dramedy. It was sort of my first time to play the lead, play the protagonist, so it was a really fun experience.
“The Love Guru” opens in theaters on June 20th.
We all know that Justin Timberlake is the current reigning «King of Pop» in the music world. What we’re sure many fans didn’t know was that the former N’Sync frontman would go on to have an interesting, smart, and fairly respectable side-career as an actor. After landing roles in Edison and Alpha Dog, two films that kept getting pushed back to the point where we almost didn’t see them at all, Justin Timberlake went on to appear in Southland tales, Black Snake Moan, and Shrek the Third. At the same time, Timberlake also kept his music career on track, smashing the charts with his massively successful second solo release, «Future Sex/Love Sounds». Also finding time to appear on Saturday Night Live, Timberlake co-starred in the hilarious «Dick in a Box» sketch, which turned out to be one of the best SNL segments of the past decade.
Now Justin Timberlake will soon be seen in the Mike Myers toplined comedy, The Love Guru in which he plays the frizzy-haired, busy moustached, Speedo wearing, French-Canadian, Jacques «Le Coq» Grande, star goalie for the L.A. Kings. Lending support to Myers, who plays an American raised by gurus from India, Timberlake is giving fans a side of himself that just might top his SNL appearance. Justin Timberlake as «Le Coq» in a Speedo… that’s all you need to know.
At the film’s recent press junket, Timberlake sat down with the press to enlighten fans of the hilarious spirituality of The Love Guru, his French-Canadian accent, his music, and what’s next for the «SexyBack» singer turned Speedo clad hockey star.
How many people so far have told you how you steal this movie?
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: That’s nice, a couple of people. They didn’t use those exact words, but I’m hearing that people are liking the movie, so that’s the most you can hope for.
Celine Dion will be a huge fan?
TIMBERLAKE: I think so. Actually, I think she knows about the whole – I think that Mike called her – because Mike is very sweet. He’s really a sweetheart, you know. And I think that he called her to make sure that it’s okay that we sort of like had a male obsessive, hockey-playing fan. And she loved it. So…
Where did you go to get this guy?
TIMBERLAKE: A lot of it was Mike’s creation. I have to give him credit. But, I sort of – we did improv a lot, and we found that the more jovial the character was, the funnier it was. The more he actually was like, kind of like fun and loving, because he he kind of is a sweet guy – he just is ridiculous, you know. So we found the more happy and fun we made Jacques Grande, the better it played.
Was it hard for you to keep a straight face sometimes?
TIMBERLAKE: I mean, you’ve seen the outfit and the thing, right? Yeah, it was a task. Yeah.
TIMBERLAKE: No, not me. It’s kind of funny though, you know. I got into the zone where I would put this gear on and I would not come out of character. I would stay with Mike a lot of times in character and we just had a ball with it. We would keep riffing and riffing, even in between takes we would keep riffing.
Well since you mentioned the Speedo scene, getting set for that, that’s got to be one of those moments where you say, «What am I doing?»
TIMBERLAKE: I had a couple of those moments. I think I literally said, «What the hell am I doing?» And then after that you just go for it.
Have you seen it yet? What do you think?
TIMBERLAKE: You know, it is the Mike Myers show. And if you like that, you’ll love it. I find it interesting that this is my review of the film. I find it interesting that Mike has carved out his own genre of comedy. It’s hard enough to do a comedy that works, but Mike has created his own genre. So, I’ve noticed that people going into this movie are – they’re willing to accept the ride that they’re being given because it’s Mike, because he has created that stage for himself with the Austin Powers and Wayne’s World and these crazy worlds that he puts his audience in. I think that people like to go and check out for a second and laugh their butts off.
What does acting give you that music doesn’t? How do you balance it?
TIMBERLAKE: I mean, it is a different process than music. It’s different for a lot of reasons and it’s similar for a lot of reasons. But I think what you get is it’s more – I find acting to be more a study in just human behavior. Music is a study in, to me, in the romanticizing of human behavior. And I’ve found, specifically with the dramas that I’ve done, that acting is the «un-romanticizing» – that’s not a word – is the opposite of the romantics of human behavior. Until you do The Love Guru.
Does recording an album have the same hurry-up-and-wait factor that making a movie does?
TIMBERLAKE: Recording an album is a lot less organized. It’s a lot more on a whim. For instance, the last album I did, I would work for two weeks and then take a week off. And then work for two weeks and then take a week off. And whatever I got out of there, I would just keep pounding away at. But, I find that with a film, film takes longer to do because the process is more organized. You write the film. You get the film green lit. You find the director. You know that happens around the same time you cast the players. You film the film. You edit the film. You score the film, you know. With music, you’re sort of doing all that at the same time. You’re writing – I’m writing and recording at the same time. I’m going back, fixing lyrics, fixing notes, adding piano to certain tones, adding guitar to certain songs, redoing the drums. You’re constant, you’re editing, you’re producing, you’re directing, you’re writing all at the same time. And you’re performing it all at the same time.
Are you more critical of yourself on screen or on stage?
TIMBERLAKE: I’m very critical in both. It’s kind of painful for me to watch either or listen to either. But, you know, there is gratification, maybe even if you’re not fully satisfied ever with the outcome. I think that’s what keeps you hungry. But there is gratification in the fact that you A – make people smile, B – make people dance, C – make people laugh or D – make people make babies.
Have you started a next record? Is that in your mind?
TIMBERLAKE: To be honest, I really haven’t. The music that I’ve been doing for the first half of this year has really just the indie label I started. The artists that I have there, I’ve really just been writing and producing for them. So all of my creative musical juice is going into their projects and really… it’s really been fun for me to take the little stuff that I’ve learned, the little knowledge that I’ve gained over the years in the studio with writing songs and producing songs and the elements that have to come together to make a great song, to try to pass that knowledge on. I mean, we’re talking about people who have unbelievable talent but never had the experience of being in a proper studio and recording in a proper way. So I’m getting this [opportunity to] produce them in that way. I get to be their coach. At the end of the day, you can make 10,000 beats, you can play 10,000 progressions, but to be a producer means to be a great coach. And then grab a great performance out of someone who maybe didn’t know, pull something out, something – just like a director pulls out of an actor – pull something out that they didn’t know they had.
But can you be totally selfless when you’re doing that, or are there moments where you’re writing something and think, ‘No, that’s for me’?
TIMBERLAKE: Oh, no. No, no, it’s completely objective. I think that even when I write for myself, I’m very objective. It’s not as personal as you would think. I find this analogy kind of interesting and I’ve said this since I’ve started doing film, that a lot of our favorite actors, they end up playing a lot of parts that you start to realize, «Oh, he was cast in that, or she was cast in that movie, because that’s kind of who she is». And I find it a lot, you know, that the drill for acting is to find something personal that makes it relative so that you can display the truth of the character or the emotion of the character.
With writing, it’s kind of the opposite. So many of [Bob] Dylan’s songs, I mean they were just poems, and then all of a sudden they get stuck to you like they’re supposed to be more personal. We praise actors for playing someone else when in reality they’re using so much of themselves to play it. And then we praise musicians for being so personal, when in reality they’re probably using someone else to write the song. I mean, you look at the Bee Gees who wrote, «To Love Somebody». They wrote that song for Otis Redding. He dies before he recorded it. So they recorded it themselves, one of the biggest hits, and in reality they were writing for a young soul singer. So I find that analogy kind of interesting in the way that people perceive the art and the way that the art is created.
Speaking of the Bee Gees, will you be showing up on Saturday Night Live anytime soon?
TIMBERLAKE: I hope so. That is one of my favorite things in the world to do, so I’ll have to find a reason or an excuse to host.
Are there any plans to maybe do a lead role?
TIMBERLAKE: I just finished my first – I guess you would call it a lead role. It’s a co-lead with Jeff Bridges on a film that we just wrapped this spring called Open Road.
How are you liking these roles? These character parts often give an actor more room to play around.
TIMBERLAKE: I’ve only played antagonistic roles thus far. You know, my character in Black Snake Moan, my character in Alpha Dog, they were antagonists. And this was my first protagonist to play. So it was challenging in a sense where you couldn’t just go in a direction. There was a lot more thought that went into – Oh, I’m not coming in in the first act and then leaving and coming back in the third act and holding a gun to Sam Jackson’s head and people think I might shoot him. This is not the same dynamic. I’m the eyes of the audience in this film, and that’s always the job of the protagonist. So it was a fun experience for me to sort of have that finally come about, and we’ll see how it pans out. I haven’t really seen any of the movie yet.
Can I get you to comment on the calls for a boycott from the Hindu community for this movie? Have you heard about that?
TIMBERLAKE: You want me to comment on it? I’m not Hindu, so I have no idea. I wouldn’t even be able to properly comment on it.
How did you get the accent?
TIMBERLAKE: The accent, I worked very closely with a dialect coach who was very good Quebecois, and then we milked it as far as we could just to make it funny.
How was it working with Jeff Bridges?
TIMBERLAKE: Jeff is by far the greatest actor I’ve ever worked with. He is, for someone who’s done it so good for so long, and still to come in and be so collaborative and so giving – he really didn’t give me a choice but to just work with him. When I first met him it was like meeting – it was like talking to one of my uncles or my dad.
Multiple Grammy Award-winner Justin Timberlake dons hockey gear to play goalie in the comedy movie The Love Guru starring Mike Myers as a guru and Jessica Alba as the owner of a hockey team. Music, acting, and now hockey – multi-talented Timberlake was up to the challenge of learning to play the sport because hes, in his words, an athlete at heart.
I got a crash course for two weeks before I left for Toronto and had someone work very closely with me extensively on how to play goalie. I had skated a little bit before and I had played roller hockey, but it ain’t the same thing, said Timberlake at the films Los Angeles press junket. I don’t know if you guys ever tried to play hockey, it’s up there as one of the hardest sports I’ve ever tried to play. And playing goalie, those guys are such unbelievable skaters. To be able to change direction, all of them, the way they do. They’re sort of all from Canada too, and born with skates on their feet so they have a slight advantage.
It’s the most, definitely the most physically demanding but it’s the most requiring of coordination. To be able to skate on ice and have hand/eye like that. I mean, it’s one thing to stand in the dirt and hit 90 mile per hour fastball. It’s another thing to skate on ice and try to catch a 150 mile per hour puck – with your vision blocked. There are so many elements of it, with somebody ramming up into you. It’s a crazy game.
In addition to learning how to act like a goalie, the Memphis, Tennessee-born Timberlake had to master a French Canadian accent. You know what I did? I’m glad I kind of did it this way – it kind of goes to show that the process shouldn’t change, they should still take so much of it seriously, even though you can kind of get away with anything in a Mike Myers comedy. But I really worked on getting the accent right, said Timberlake of his process of getting into character. And then when we got to set, that’s when I started to play with it and play with the rhythm of it so that it actually did sound even more comedic.
I think other than Mike, I’m sort of the only other over-the-top, really the guy in a monkey suit, joked Timberlake. So when I got there and saw the wig and the moustache and the Member’s Only jacket, even in the goalie outfit you still look funny. So you want to stretch, you want the audio to complement the visual. So I started stretching it as far as I could to make it funny.
Timberlakes been a steady presence at the top of the record charts for years, but hes also taken time away from singing in order to act on occasion (his film credits include Southland Tales and Alpha Dog). Asked just how important an acting career is, Timberlake admitted its extremely important. It’s a huge passion of mine. It’s funny, I was having a conversation with my stepdad the other day and he said to me, because my stepdad’s never been to a premiere – he’s going to come to the premiere on Wednesday – he said, You know, it’s so funny that you eventually got into film. And I said, What do you mean? And he said, Well, just acting. He reminded me and I totally forgot about this, but I got a phone call when I was 14 saying there was somebody down in Orlando and there’s a record company and BMG in Europe that will sign this and I went. But two weeks before that, the plan was for me to, we were going to drive to LA for pilot season. So I guess everything leads out the way it’s supposed to.
Timberlake continued, That sounds so cliché, but I guess that it does. My dad reminded me of that, but it’s always been something I’ve been very serious about. I just think that the opportunities are starting to come in the right way. I think I’ve wanted to do it for a while, but you get sent the worst scripts immediately based on the fact that you’re popular with a certain demographic. That was when I was a teenager. I just constantly passed up on those just because I didn’t like the material.
It was the chance to work with Mike Myers that made Timberlake sign on to The Love Guru. My experience with this film was Mike called me and said, I want you to play the villain in this movie I’m working on, this character I have been workshopping. It’s called The Love Guru and hockey’s the backdrop and I don’t want to explain anymore. Just read the script. So I read the script and called him back and we talked about the character. I mean, it was too funny to pass up and it’s Mike. If you’re going to do a comedy, do it with the best. But other than that, I mean, it’s really about the material and who’s going to be telling the story, who’s directing it. Because there’s good material that becomes misinterpreted sometimes and I think I’ve been a product of that. The first film I ever did was a product of that, so you learn your lesson from that. But it’s not based on what people are going to perceive it as because that’ll drive you insane, said Timberlake.
Myers is a fan of Timberlakes work and the feelings definitely mutual. Mike called me and said, I think you’re really funny. You understand comedy and I can’t really see anybody else playing this role and pulling it off like you’ll pull it off. And it was funny. He said, I think of three other people that I could cast, but they just won’t do it the way you would do it. That meant a lot to me for somebody that I grew up watching Mike on SNL. Linda Richman and Sprockets and Simon, I grew up watching, laughing at Mike. Wayne’s World, for my generation, it’s a cultural, you bring it up and people my age just know what it is. So to get to work with him and for him to say that, yeah. You kind of walk in saying, Okay, don’t let Mike down.
AS ONE of the world’s top-selling recording and touring artists, Justin Timberlake knows he can say he does not want to be a movie star and, unlike most, be taken seriously.
AS ONE of the world’s top-selling recording and touring artists, Justin Timberlake knows he can say he does not want to be a movie star and, unlike most, be taken seriously.
Between a music career that now also involves producing other artists for his own label, his clothing line and his addiction to golf, the 27-year-old superstar has been able to fit in only a few movie roles anyway.
"Actually, it’s the closest thing to a hobby that I could possibly have," he says during an interview in Los Angeles to promote his supporting role in Mike Myers’ latest comedy, The Love Guru.
"I respond to the material I respond to. With a project like The Love Guru, I got a phone call from Mike Myers and he sent me the script and said, ‘Read it. I want you to play the villain’, so how do you say no to that?
"It’s a fun way for me to be able to really express myself creatively and not have to worry about the pressure of the box office or the industry, and I really do enjoy the process.
"Working with Mike was sort of like not working with Mike, in the sense that you realise he is very tenacious on the set and very committed, but he’s also having more fun than anyone else there so it’s kind of like you’re just hanging out."
Since confirming his talents extend to the big screen with Alpha Dog in 2006, Timberlake has played roles in Black Snake Moan (also 2006) and Shrek the Third (2007), and to follow The Love Guru he has the drama The Open Road already in the can.
When he does show up on a movie set, he comes to play just as seriously as he does when he shows up with his golf clubs. He recently achieved a sub-100 round on this year’s US Open course, the notoriously tough Torrey Pines at San Diego, California, disproving a theory proffered by Tiger Woods that it couldn’t be done by a non-professional.
"It’s a little sickening, really," a smiling Myers says of Timberlake during a separate interview. "I don’t think he’d really (ice) skated before and he was like, ‘Yeah, I can do that’. I was like, ‘Yeah, you can, you bastard’."
Skating and becoming a credible ice hockey goalkeeper were just two of the challenges for Timberlake on The Love Guru. He also perfected the distinctive Quebecois accent for his role as well-endowed Los Angeles Kings star Jacques "Le Coq" Grande.
"It’s very specific – it’s not French," Timberlake says of the accent.
"I actually had a dialect coach for the film, but after I got on set I said, ‘How far can we stretch the accent to make it funny?’
"The age-old joke is, you know, when we say certain things with a French accent we sound ridiculous."
So, not only doesn’t he sound like Justin Timberlake but, with the help of a wig and false moustache, he doesn’t look much like him, either.
"We did some hockey scenes my first day and I went to the make-up trailer and put on the wig and the moustache and there’s something about that kind of make-up job that makes you really feel like another person.
"I worked for two or three hours before half the crew knew it was me on the set. I just felt like a clown in a clown’s suit. It was loads of fun."
Myers, who co-wrote and co-produced the film, plays Guru Pitka, once an ordinary American child until his parents left him at the gates of an Indian ashram to be raised by the exulted Guru Tugginmypuddha (Sir Ben Kingsley).
Now on his quest for enlightenment, peace and that elusive spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show that will allow him to overtake Deepak Chopra in popularity, he is hired by the youthful and beautiful owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba).
With the play-offs for the sport’s holy grail approaching, her star player Darren Roanoke (Romany Malco) completely loses his nerve overnight. This coincides with him losing his beautiful wife Prudence (Meagan Good) to the dubious charms of Grande. Guru Pitka’s challenge, for a guarantee of $2 million, is to restore loving bliss between Roanoke and Prudence.
With The Open Road, co-starring Jeff Bridges, being readied for release later this year, Timberlake has returned to his music career, working in the studio with artists such as 19-year-old Dutch singer Esmee Denters, singer-songwriter Matt Morris and young Memphis band Free Sol, all of whom are signed to his record label Tennman.
He argues the music industry cannot be in a slump given the money generated when major artists go on tour. His own Future Sex/Love Show tour grossed more than $130 million last year.
"People still want to see their favourite musicians play," Timberlake says.
"The barometer the music industry is being measured by is what the problem is. The record labels are still trying to pick their pants up from the process of trying to hold people back from downloading music, when that was an inevitable evolution.
"Now they’ve embraced it they’re still trying to catch up. But the real artists are still making good music, because that’s what they do."
A case in point would be Timberlake’s duet with Madonna on her single 4 Minutes, and he also appeared on stage with her in New York recently.
"Working with Madonna was everything you think it would be," he says, smiling.
"It was great and it was bad and it was cool and it was tedious and it was fun. We went down into the valleys and we came out on top of the mountains.
"I’m very happy to call her a friend now. She’s a really, really special person."
The Love Guru opens in cinemas on July 10.
It might very well be a strange thing for those of us that remember N*Sync, that one of those guys would become a successful actor. But look at Mr. Justin Timberlake. He not only was able to continue with a successful solo career, but he has had the opportunity to play a wide array of characters in such films as BLACK SNAKE MOAN, ALPHA DOG and his latest, THE LOVE GURU. He also gets to travel in similar territory as Jacques Grande a French Canadian hockey player with an infamously large ‘le cock’. And with his work on «Saturday Night Live» including the ever popular ‘Dick in a Box’, it seems like he has found a way to play with his own SexyBack image. And yes… I knew what I was doing when I wrote ‘play with’.
When he stopped by to talk Love Guru with us at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, I found myself actually liking the guy. And yes, it is me who tried to get him to admit that Celine Dion might just be terribly annoying. But no, he smiled and only said it was ‘cool’ to listen to her. He does a great chest pound in the film, much like she does on stage. Is it true that all French Canadian’s have Celine Dion love? Possibly. But I do appreciate Justin’s humor and the way he offers respect to folks like Mike Myers and others that he has worked with. You can see Mr. Timberlake in speedo glory (if that is your type of thing) when THE LOVE GURU opens this Friday at a theatre near you.
How does it feel to be amassing the cock-centric filmography essentially?
It’s always been a dream of mine. I’m happy that I was able to meet the mark.
They [Mike Myers and Marco Schnabel] said that after they saw ‘Dick In A Box’ they kind of stepped up your character in the show. What did you think of your character?
I didn’t know that, as a matter of fact when I was filming I didn’t even put them together. I’m starting to realize that I’m digging myself a nice big hole of penile humor.
Did the comedy ever get too big for you? Do you like doing the really far out and wacky comedies? You always do so great on ‘Saturday Night Live’.
I think that, with Mike [Myers] coming from ‘Saturday Night Live’ as well, there is such an element of that in his style of comedy. Isn’t it cool that there is a Mike Myers style of comedy? I was talking about that with someone, which is sort of what makes him a legend already to me, that he’s already carved out his own and that’s a great thing. I think it’s important to know how you fit in and I knew exactly. After doing ‘SNL’, and knowing Mike, you know what you are getting into.
Where did you meet him? Was it from working on the SHREK THE THIRD?
I met Mike prior to being cast in SHREK THE THIRD and then after working on that and promoting the film together. Now I’m actually working with him in the flesh, not just as a presence.
What was it about this? He told us he always wanted to do something with you and he thought this would be a good role for you.
That’s what he said, but I didn’t know that.
Tell us about that?
He called up and said ‘I’ve got this character and I could cast two or three other people in it, but they won’t do it the way you’ll do it, and I think you are awesome’. I said ‘Alright’. I thought it was one of my friends, so I thought ‘Alright, stop’. And he was like ‘No, its Mike!’ and he sent me the script. I read the script and I called him back. We talked about how the character would look, I threw some ideas at him, and he threw some ideas at me, and it just really became a collaborative process. Even after accepting the role, being cast, and showing up, we still improvised so much to get the specifics of the character down.
Now during this film did you try to get the idea from him, for your character or how did you prepare?
The only real preparation that I did was on the accent. I worked on getting that down proper and showing up to set. I just stretched it as far as I could to make it funny. I didn’t study Vincent Cassel though. I had to actually learn the words to the Celine Dion song, but forgive me, I didn’t know all of them.
How often did you have to listen to that song?
I am slightly musical so I did get it down pretty quick.
But seriously… you had to listen to Celine Dion over and over? It had to be rough. [Laughing]
No, it was cool. It was cool… that’s a matter of opinion [Laughing].
Have you been to India?
Did this inspire you to go there and explore?
I would love to go to India. I don’t want to go to India to work though, I want to go to India to play. I want to sight see. As soon as I get some time off I’m going to have to plan a trip. It’s on my list. India and Egypt, just the East is definitely on my list of places to go.
Do you think you can play into a Bollywood film after this movie?
I didn’t. I played a French Canadian. So not too much.
This is pretty straight forward comedy, but you have so many different characters that you have done. What drives you to play a certain type of role? What do you look for when you choose them?
Just the material. Who is going to tell the story, who is the director, who is involved? Who is going to be there to help tell the story? ALPHA DOG for instance, as depressing as it was, I thought it was a story that should be told. I met Craig Brewer before BLACK SNAKE MOAN and knew that an opportunity like that was great, because I think he is so talented. I loved the story, as sketched as it was… I guess you could say it’s exploitive but I felt it was proper to tell that story. It’s usually about the material. This is my first comedy, so picking a comedy to do, it was laugh out loud funny. How do you say ‘No’. to that? I’ve enjoyed playing the antagonist and it’s probably because I’m always the main character in the movie. It’s always about me. I just recently did my first, I will call it my first protagonist role, with Jeff Bridges. It’s this film I just did called THE OPEN ROAD. It’s a small film I just did, and it’s a little straighter forward of a film, kind of a dram-edy. Working with him, he’s my favorite actor I’ve worked with.
When you were really young what did you always dream to be?
I always dreamed to be a pro basketball player and that didn’t work out.
When did you dream that?
I still dream of it. Now, it’s a pro golfer [Laughing].
What made you think ‘I want to do show business’?
My father, my father’s side of my family, they have always been musical. I was always around it when I was young, so it was natural for me to just be involved with it. I never knew that I would be able to be a professional at it, I just always loved it. I was a ham in school. I was just a ham. That’s all we really all are, actors and musicians or performers, we are all just hams.
So with your acting skills now, is hockey the next big sports frontier for you?
I don’t think so man, it’s painful. I have the utmost respect for those athletes. I think it’s physically the hardest sport to play. It’s physically the toughest.
My back. I have a bad back anyway. Wearing goalie gear from head to toe, for 12 hour days, with skates? You attach the pad to the skates so one doesn’t come off without the other, then you get wet. You do one slide on the ice and it gets wet so it weighs twice as much. Not my idea of a good time.
So the 12 hours you had to shoot on the ice?
Yeah, we shot at the Air Canada Center in Toronto so we were on the ice all day.
With your music, you were working with Madonna, that’s a huge thing. Do you see yourself working with her again? Are you working on another album? What’s next for you?
Right now, the whole first half of this year, I just started an independent label last year with Interscope, called Tennman Records, and all of my musical energy is going into that, so we should have some records out later this year. I have Esmee Denters and I would describe it as pop music from Holland. I found her on YouTube. I have a band that I signed from Memphis. I saw them play a show for some college kids, it’s a hip-hop rap band called Free Sol. I have one of my friends, he was on a television show with me when we were kids, and he lives in Denver. I would describe that as alternative. His name is Matt Morris. Then I don’t know if you guys remember that 2 years ago there was a Grammy contest? The runner up was Brenda Radney and she’s kind of R & B hip-hop. It covers the spectrum. It’s kind of cool for me because as an artist, you don’t want to alienate your fan base. The Beatles did it so well, they were constantly conscious of where they were and where they were going. I think there is a lesson to be learned from that, so I kind go out on a limb, write different styles of music, and integrate it into these artists based on the fact that there are so many different styles of music now. Even with just four artists and a small label. It’s not projected onto me, so its kind of fun. I have a lot more freedom.
LOS ANGELES, California—»Timberlake does steal a few moments with his awful Canadian accent», Variety’s film reviewer, Brian Lowry, wrote about Justin Timberlake’s performance in Mike Myers’ «The Love Guru». Timberlake plays Jacques «Le Coq» Grande, a Speedo-wearing, well-endowed French-Canadian hockey player. The movie is a comedy, so Justin’s attempt at a Quebecois is played for laughs.
In our recent press con with Justin, when a female reporter jokingly said that she was afraid to hurt his «male pride» by asking if that was the real thing or prosthetics under his Speedo, the «SexyBack» singer gamely assured her: «I’ve plenty of ego to go around. Don’t worry about it! «
In «The Love Guru», Justin portrays a Los Angeles Kings goalie who lives up to his «Le Coq» name to seduce Prudence (Meagan Good), the wife of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs’ star player, Darren (Romany Malco). When Darren’s performance suffers as a result, his team owner, Jane (Jessica Alba) hires Guru Pitka (Mike), a self-help specialist, to help fix the marital rift and motivate the Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup finals.
Asked why he accepted a film that required him to parade around in his swimming trunks, the performer who figured in the controversial Super Bowl «wardrobe malfunction» incident with Janet Jackson, replied, «Mike has his own type of comedy. Participating in that, you can get away with pretty much anything—and that’s how I ended up in a Speedo! «
«I have a man-crush on Justin», Mike quipped in the film’s production notes. When we brought up the quote to Mike, whom we talked to in a separate interview, the comedian laughed and said, «Yes, I stand by that!» Teased that, for a change, Justin is the one wearing underwear and not him, Mike answered, «I made the right choice, didn’t I? Indeed, I’m always naked in my movies».
The star of «Austin Powers» and «Shrek» was the one who recommended Justin to be the voice of Artie in «Shrek the Third». He expressed his admiration for the comedic skills of the singer, whose appearance in the risqué «Dick in a Box» music-video spoof on «Saturday Night Live» made it one of the most watched digital shorts online. Justin won an Emmy for original music and lyrics for «Dick in a Box. «
Mike also marveled at the many talents of Justin, who made news at the time of the interview by doing well in the US Open course at Torrey Pines in California: «Didn’t he play golf last week? He’s the guy with the Quebecois accent—the guy playing goal! I don’t think he really skated before, but he was like, ‘I can do that!’ I was like, ‘Yes, can you, bastard?’ Wow». Mike joked, «It’s a little sickening to watch!» Then, he added, «But, it’s inspiring! «
Justin claimed he doesn’t have any master plan for his acting career. «Not specifically», he stressed. «I just respond to the material. For instance, for ‘The Love Guru’, I got a phone call from Mike. He said, ‘Read the script. I want you to play the villain in the movie’. How do you say no to that? With the smaller drama films I’ve done, it was fun for me to express myself creatively, and not to have to worry about the pressures of the box office. It’s the closest thing to a hobby that I could possibly have! I really enjoy and love the process!»
Asked if his swing coach qualifies as the guru in his life, Justin replied, «Yes, Butch Harmon is my golf guru. I like to spend money—but not like that! Butch is great. He coached Tiger Woods for 10 years, and he coaches the top four players in the US Open, so if that says anything, he’s the No. 1 golf instructor in the world!»
About singing a Celine Dion tune in the movie, Justin explained, «We didn’t know what particular song it was going to be, but we did know that it was in the script. Jacques is a huge Celine Dion fan, so I knew at some point, I’d have to sing a Celine Dion song. I give much credit to Meagan Good for having been able to keep a straight face, because we had fun with it—especially to have Mike in the background with the rooster and everything. I had a blast! «
«There are many», Justin answered when asked if there are singers he would flip for in real life, just like in the scene in the movie with a Celine Dion impersonator. «I wish that I had a chance to see the late Donnie Hathaway sing live. He’s the first person I can think of. «
Of singing with Madonna and being one of her producers in the «Hard Candy» album, the pop superstar said, «Working with Madonna is everything you think it is! It was great, cool, tedious and fun. We went down into the valleys, and we came out on top of a mountain. We had a good time. I’m very happy to call her a friend now. She’s really a special person!»
«I listen to everything», the Grammy winner declared about what’s on his iPod these days. «I’m excited to hear Coldplay. I think Christina Aguilera is back in the studio, so I’d love to hear that, as well».
He shared the latest developments on yet another side to him: Being record producer. «I’ve been working for the last couple of months in the studio with Esmee Denters from Holland. There’s a band from Memphis that I signed. I have also signed Matt Morris, an old friend who was on a television show with me when I was a kid. I’ve been working with these artists since the beginning of the year. Since I finished the concert tour, I had time to do the film, ‘The Open Road’, but other than that, I’ve been working in the studio. As a producer, it’s nice to be able to sit on the other side! «
In «The Open Road», Justin, who had dramatic roles in «Alpha Dog» and «Black Snake Moan», tackles his biggest role, described by Variety as a «man trying to reconnect with his father (Jeff Bridges), a legendary athlete, as he struggles to get him home to his ailing mother’s bedside. «
«It was a great experience», he gushed over his costar. «Jeff Bridges is my favorite actor that I’ve worked with thus far! For someone who’s done so well and for so long, he’s still so committed, collaborative and giving. On the set, he’d ask me what I thought of his performance in a scene, like, ‘What do you think? Should I blah blah blah?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know—you are Jeff Bridges! Do it how you want to do it’. To be able to collaborate with people I admire, that’s what it’s all about! «
During the interview, Justin was nicely dressed in a striped crewneck pullover, dress shirt, natty tie and pants. After all, the man has a clothing line: William Rast. «I’m heavily involved», he stressed about his fashion line. «We’re going to launch our campaign this summer. Our first full collection for men and women comes out this fall. It won’t be as big, but we will eventually expand. I’m extremely happy with it! We really found our ‘language’ with Johan and Marcella Lindeberg. Collaborating with them has opened my eyes to the world of fashion!»
He explained his line’s eclectic flavor: «I kept trying to zone in on one thing, but the truth was, I came from a generation that didn’t just like one thing. We listened to hip-hop, rock, soul and the classics. Look at me, I’m from a small town in Tennessee who got to travel the world and learn about fashion in Paris, London and Milan. That’s what the language is for William Rast—I would describe it as ‘American Southern heritage meets European innovation’. «
Pressed to comment on how age plays a factor in his dating preference now (he and ex-girlfriend, Cameron Diaz, had a 10-year age gap), Justin, who’s 27 and going out with Jessica Biel, 26, stated: «You just need to connect with a person. It’s not about why people go out on a date, or why age is important. It’s about confidence and connection, and how you communicate. Some people communicate better with others, regardless of age. That’s what it’s about!»
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Not counting his voice role in Shrek 3, Justin Timberlake was on a big-screen career path to heavy drama with intense performances in Alpha Dog and Black Snake Moan.
Now the boy-band legend is displaying his talent for slap-stick as he joins Mike Myers in The Love Guru. With a wild wig and a moustache to match, JT doesn’t hold back as the outrageously over-the-top hockey goalie, Jacques «Le Coq» Grande, who loves Celine Dion and «chick flicks».
When did you first realize you were funny?
«My earliest memories as a kid were trying to make my mom and my step-dad laugh at dinner, or make my friends laugh in class. It’s something I just really enjoy doing».
It’s hard to forget the scene where you’re crooning a Celine Dion classic in a pair of bikini briefs. Did you have a little extra padding?
«I’m playing a guy who’s, as they say, legendarily well-endowed. The Speedo was incredibly uncomfortable and that’s as far as I’m going to take it».
Were you worried about what Celine would think?
«I think that Mike called her to make sure that she was OK with it. And she loved the idea. I’m a fan of Celine, but maybe not quite as obsessive as my character is».
Did you play hockey as a kid?
«No, I wanted to be a pro basketball player. That’s the only thing I cared about. I played in the Junior Olympics, I did the whole thing from the time I was eight until I was 14, and then all of a sudden I got the phone call saying, ‘Hey, they got us a record deal’.
So what did it take to turn you into a hockey player?
«I got a two-week crash course. I could already skate, so I had that going for me, but learning to play goalie, is completely different. It takes an incredible amount of hand-eye coordination».
When the pucks were flying at you, did you duck?
«It was weird. The guy who trained me said, ‘You’re the first person I’ve worked with who actually goes towards a puck when it’s aimed at you’. I don’t know, maybe I have a death wish. They started shooting slap shots at me and you get all this padding on, and you kind of feel invincible,
which you’re not».
In spite of your success as both a singer and actor, you seem to keep your fame in perspective. What’s the secret?
«I have a good family, and they wouldn’t let me lose my head. When I was a kid, I idolized Michael Jordan. I remember my parents telling me, ‘He’s a great basketball player but that doesn’t make him superhuman, that makes him a great basketball player’. That’s the way I was brought up.
How has it affected me in my adult life dealing with what might become too much pressure to meet people’s needs or fascination? I just let it go. I don’t invest in it. I stay away from it as much as I can».
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