Para Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel y Cameron Diaz es un momento emotivo: las estrellas de «Bad Teacher» han vuelto al instituto en una entrevista con USA Today para revivir aquella época en la que no eran tan glamurosos. Los protagonistas de la película, además posan en la que podría ser una de las clases de la señorita Halsey, interpretada por Diaz.
«Nadie es guay en el séptimo curso», dice Timberlake, de 30 años, mientras recuerda sus días como alumno.
A back-to-school daze for ‘Bad Teacher’ stars
For Justin Timberlake, Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz, it is an emotional homecoming: The stars of Bad Teacher have returned to junior high school, reliving a time when they were more geek than glamorous in a setting that re-creates the classroom of Diaz’s character, Miss Halsey.
There is laughter and a lot of groaning as they recall an age when the goal was simply making it to the next school bell. Like the group of children surrounding them in the school-based comedy, which opens today, the trio had their share of growing pains.
«Nobody is cool in seventh grade,» says Timberlake, 30, covering his mouth at the sheer memory of his grade-school days.
Any remnants of hormonal awkwardness are a distant memory. There is even zero sign of tension between former flames Timberlake and Diaz, 38, as she chirps to her co-stars, «I missed you. I did.» During one exchange, Timberlake, who plays a much-desired substitute teacher, interrupts Diaz during a story and apologizes afterward, which becomes a light-hearted joke about their romantic past.
«Sorry,» he tells her.
«Sorry for what?» Diaz asks.
«For everything,» Segel interjects, falling into a fit of laughter.
«It’s too late now,» Diaz banters back, eyeing Timberlake. «Clearly, I had to already forgive you.»
All joking aside, the stars clearly enjoy the candid trip down memory lane. Segel, 31, who plays a slacker gym teacher in the film, even admires the wood-pressed top of the standard school desk in which his lanky frame is crammed. He pronounces with a wistful smile, «It feels like home.»
Segel: Seventh grade (in Los Angeles private school) was terrible for me. That was the year I hit puberty and I was 6-4 and 12 years old. I was like 100 pounds less than I am now, and I didn’t quite know how to use my limbs. I was like Big Bird. They would jump on my back one by one while the rest would be in a circle around me chanting, «Ride the oaf. Ride the oaf.»
Diaz: Shut up. No way. Seriously?
Segel: That was literally the moment where I decided I was going to be funny. Or, I was going to be a serial killer.
Timberlake: Turns out he’s both.
Segel: That’s right.
Timberlake: Seventh grade was the year I got my first job. How freaky weird was that? I went for six months down to Orlando to do a television show and tutoring.
USA TODAY: So this was the Mickey Mouse …
Timberlake (interrupting): We like to call it the television show. The Clan. And then I was back to Memphis to this small town going to school. I was just a freak to all the other kids.
Diaz: You’re still a freak to all the other kids.
Timberlake: True, but now I make money doing it (laughs). It was weird to come back. The kids don’t know how to relate to you. You’re not one of them.
Diaz: I was as awkward as any child ever was (in Long Beach, Calif). But this was about the time that Poison, Ratt, Van Halen and all the hair bands came out. I was just obsessed with men with spandex pants with long hair.
Timberlake: Super big Aqua-Netted hair.
Diaz: And they wore lipstick and eyeliner and earrings, and I was loving it. They had metal all over their bodies in various stud forms and leather. I was like a crow that would see something on the ground and goes (flapping arms) «ca-caw, ca-caw» to pick something up.
Outfits that got away
Segel: It’s totally ridiculous, but I wore a Superman cape under my clothes. This is the God’s honest truth. Until I was 12 years old. It was under every outfit, just in case.
Diaz: Oh my God, that’s so amazing. Was there spandex underwear, too?
Segel: Just the cape. I stopped after my older brother’s basketball game. They were down by five with two minutes left. I thought, «This was the moment.» I whipped off my shirt with the cape on and ran up and down the side of the court yelling, «Go Adam!» He called a timeout and he gave me Mom eyes. That was the last time I wore it.
Diaz: No! Oh, bless. So cute, Jason Segel.
Timberlake:Air Jordans were the biggest thing ever then. I was playing on the basketball team and my folks got me a pair. I would clean them with a toothbrush.
Segel: No way.
Timberlake: I had two toothbrushes, one for my teeth and one for my Air Jordans. I would keep them spotless. OCD anyone? OCD?
Diaz: I had this really cool hair feather that I clipped in. It was a leather strap with a bead with a blue feather.
Timberlake: Oh my God, that took me back. I used to wear the same thing.
Segel: It was the same girl from seventh grade to senior year graduation. And I met her in fifth grade. I had a crazy crush on her but she always dated the athletes and then it became the musicians (glares at Timberlake).
Timberlake: I’m not a musician anymore. Haven’t you heard?
Segel: I never stood a chance. I used to write her love notes. I learned to play piano to impress her —Your Song by Elton John. I played it for her.
Timberlake: You did plagiarize somebody! It just had to be Elton John.
Segel: I did plagiarize, but if you’re dumb enough to think I wrote Your Song, you deserve it.
USA TODAY: Did you succeed at all?
Segel: Ten years later, after I became famous. (Timberlake collapses in laughter.) I’m not going to lie to you.
Timberlake: Oh my God, you tell the best stories. I’ve always been into the athletic girls, and since seventh grade, I was hot on the heels of someone who played on the girls’ basketball team. It was fun because when we had games at another school, we’d all jump in a car, and you literally got to kick it with the girl on the way.
Diaz: My crush was the boy I met when I was 9. I still have the image in my head of the first time I laid eyes on him on my front lawn riding his 10-speed with his white shorts. At 12, I still had a mad crush on him, but there were a couple of girls that also liked him. They got him. I didn’t.
Timberlake: Clearly he made the right decision.
Diaz: They were a little more mature, if you know what I’m saying.
Diaz: Oh yeah, the frogs were amazing. And the cow’s eyeball.
Timberlake: The worms, the frogs. I always loved stuff like that.
Segel: The fetal pig is the one that got me. Oh, that was rough.
Timberlake: We didn’t have money for stuff like that.
Diaz: That was definitely private school. We didn’t do the fetal pig. … My chemistry teacher hated me. But that wasn’t chemistry.
Timberlake: She’s going dark.
Segel: This is getting weird.
Timberlake: She goes dark on you like that.
Diaz: I made a volcano that when you put it on, it blew up.
Segel: My father is the worst at this stuff. He doesn’t know how to build anything, but God love him, he tried. He had this motor he got from Radio Shack, and he had no idea how to hook it up. It was like, «Maybe we shouldn’t turn this thing on until the fair.» And we turned it on, and the heart just exploded.
Timberlake: Oh, no!
Segel: Everywhere at the fair. Blood.
Timberlake: The incredible pumping heart. Pow! My grandfather had a construction business, and he literally showed me how to build a water mill that moved water.
Timberlake: I was so gangster at the science fair that year. I was like, «I did 20% of this, but who cares?»
Segel: There is no greater sentence to me than «I was so gangster at the science fair.»
Diaz: I would get all the kids to kind of have our own system of cheating, and I was the mastermind of that. It was easy. I was getting the answers. I struck deals with the kids.
Timberlake: I’m sorry, I just remembered something that is way worse. I got caught with tobacco.
Diaz: Wow, you had tobacco on you?
Timberlake: Yeah, it was dip.
Diaz: (laughing) Isn’t that encouraged where you’re from? Don’t they give that to you when you’re little kids?
Timberlake: I would get in trouble for getting into a battle of words. I got into a thing over a cookie bake drive with my English teacher. You don’t get into a battle of words with your English teacher. At the time, Fig Newtons were huge. But they were not cookies.
Segel: Of course. A cookie is just a cookie, but a Newton is fruit and cake.
Timberlake: But the teacher went on this whole rant about us not showing up to school the next week with Oreos and Chips Ahoy! and Fig Newtons. I was like, «I’m sorry. I gotta say something: Miss Miller, a cookie is just a cookie. But Fig Newtons are fruit and cake.»
Segel: That’s right.
Timberlake: The class busts out laughing. She was like, «To the principal’s office, sir.» I didn’t mind going since the secretary there had blond hair, blue eyes. So hot. Miss Ingram. But it was rare that I was sent to the principal’s office. I guess that day Miss Miller had enough of my antics. The principal laughed when she heard the story, so I was feeling like Ferris Bueller.
Timberlake: I get back, and the first thing Miss Miller says is, «Would you tell the rest of the class in what aisle would you happen to find Fig Newtons?»
Segel: Oh no, come on.
Timberlake: I was like, «In the cookie aisle.» She was like, «Thank you.» That was that. I lost.
Segel: You should have said «snack aisle.»
Diaz: You should have sent her to the principal’s office.
Timberlake: It had gone too far. She was right, though. You do find them in the cookie aisle. False advertising, if you think about it.
Jason Segel, left, Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake revisited their junior high school days for USA TODAY while talking about their new movie, Bad Teacher, opening Friday. The threesome laughed through hilarious, and sometimes painful, moments of their days before they were stars. They also had a chance to catch up with each other for the first time since they shot the film. «That Muppet trailer looks awesome,» Timberlake told Segel, the star of the Nov. 23 release The Muppets, as he walked into the room.
While Timberlake admitted he was a «boringly good student,» he did tell about that time in school where he was busted with chewing tobacco. He also shared an anecdote about when he lost an argument with a teacher over whether a Fig Newton is a cookie or a snack food and ended up in the principal’s office. After hearing the tales of his co-stars, he laughingly proclaimed at the end, «We’re some pretty (expletive)-up people.»
Diaz insisted that when it came to dodgeball, she had the same skills she shows off in the movie, where all three play junior high teachers. «I’m a warrior,» Diaz said. «I know how to take them down.» Timberlake says he perfected and even patented his dreaded no-look throw in dodgeball. «I’d get you! Wham!» he declared.
After listening to Segel talk about learning to play piano and then performing Your Song by Elton John for his grade-school crush, Timberlake collapsed into laughter. «Oh my God, you tell the best stories,» he declared. Timberlake then talked about his thing for female athletes at school. «I was never crazy about the cheerleaders as much as the actual athletes,» he said.
«School is a little blurry for me,» Diaz said at one point. Then she talked about being «the kind of kid who couldn’t sit still in class.» Nonetheless, she did get away with some trouble. «I was the kid that never got caught doing any of the (stuff) I was doing,» she said.
Timberlake said his teachers sometimes treated him differently since he was shooting «the television show» (The All New Mickey Mouse Club). «It was kind of like a weird thing for me. I just wanted to be treated like the other
kids,» he said. «But I get it. Also I’m specifically weird,» he said with a laugh. «So that’s why they were treating me weird.»
Though Timberlake and Diaz broke up in 2007, the two friends were relaxed and had an easy banter during the interview. Diaz often added details to some of Timberlake’s childhood stories. And Timberlake ribbed his co-star when she went «dark» talking about a troublesome chemistry teacher.
Timberlake went for laughs in the seventh grade and during the USA TODAY photo shoot. «I didn’t get into a lot of trouble. If I did, it was being a clown in the class,» said Timberlake. This prompted a laughingly sarcastic comment from Diaz. «So strange. … Hard to believe.»
«Nobody is cool in the seventh grade,» Timberlake insisted. Segel tried. Very hard. Inspired by a bad episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 he even carried around a copy of Dante’s Inferno in his back pocket and played the harmonica. «I was trying so hard to be cool, it just wasn’t happening,» he said.
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