Even though it may not seem like it, Justin Timberlake has come a long, long way. After a short-lived stint as one of the last cast members of the Mickey Mouse Club, Timberlake became a standout in the boy band quintet known as N’Sync.
Then, after the group broke up at the height of their popularity, Timberlake became a solo performer and garnered him plenty of success and critical acclaim. While it is yet known whether he has left behind music for good, Justin has continued as an actor and has acted in an intriguing string of films from Alpha Dog to Black Snake Moan to Southland Tales to Shrek The Third to The Love Guru to The Open Road.
Then, last year, the former teen idol solidified his seemingly boundless charm as an actor with his role as Sean Parker in the critically-acclaimed and highly successful The Social Network. Now the 30 year-old hopes to continue being charming with his role as Scott Delacourte in the comedy Bad Teacher.
Scott is a wealthy substitute teacher being pursued by the gold-digging titular character Elizabeth Halsey, played by Cameron Diaz. Timberlake shared his own story of a “bad teacher”.
“I had a teacher in 7th grade who told me I should have more realistic goals than being a songwriter and entertainer,” Justin says, “Because my school work was suffering and you can quote me on this directly to her: ‘Suck it!’ I feel like this story really explains who I am as an adult.”
Justin shared with us one of the perhaps standouts of the film, a dry-humping scene he and Cameron’s character engages in.
“Putting that together…well, I think we created the only dry humping scene ever seen in a movie,” Timberlake says, “I’d like to say that [director] Jake (Kasden) had – he wasn’t literally between us but figuratively he was there and honestly, he was my humping coach.”
“I got to say there’s nothing wrong with a good jean jam. I’m serious. I don’t know why that’s funny to you guys. But also, collectively, both of us felt that we had a responsibility and that was to the young people who are going to buy tickets to Transformers the second week and go see this movie because they’re underage. It really is a public service announcement for safe sex. Nobody ever got pregnant with their jeans on. And it is jamming on my part.”
Timberlake was not entirely without singing as his character Scott writes a song called ‘Simpatico’. He was asked whether or not he wrote the song and whether he was able to sing the fairly comical and ridiculous song without cracking up during a take.
“The original composition by Scott Delacorte,” he says of it, “It’s a special song that goes out to that special someone. That was an idea that [writers] Gene [Stupnitsky] and Lee [Eisenberg] and Jake came to me about. In the script, there was a loose idea about the teacher band show and Scott doing a singer/songwriter thing and I remember Jake coming to me and saying if we’re going to do this, we have to create something that’s going to be terrible.”
“So it’s pretty obvious that I put my body on the line for comedy, why not put my voice on the line for comedy?” Justin adds, “But honestly, the lyrics were Gene and Lee and then they brought it to me and I just tried to create the most terrible melody that I could to it. The mission was to make it so bad that they would not be able to market it in the trailer. It’s really just an extension of the character. It was totally a collaboration between the writers and Jake, the director.”
Justin was asked if there were things in the script that he felt were not realistic enough.
“You guys know what it’s like, you got to kill babies when you make movies,” Timberlake replies, “Sometimes those gems just end up on the DVD.”
Timberlake expressed his own opinion of the American public education system.
“Man, we got to figure out a way to pay our teachers more,” Justin says of it, “That’s my opinion of it. They’re like surrogate parents away from home and in doing the junket for the last couple days I’ve come across the realization, especially when you keep getting the question, ‘Have you had a bad teacher?,’ and I get why you ask us that because of the little hook with ‘bad teacher.’”
“It’s a natural question,” he continues, “But, you keep coming across this idea about how we started talking about it and we found that the teachers that we actually learned more from were the ones that taught us life lessons more than trigonometry. I mean, they have such a huge responsibility and they’re underappreciated and underpaid. So that’s my opinion.
Justin’s co-star Cameron Diaz has been well-known for playing roles in gross-out comedies like There’s Something About Mary and The Sweetest Thing. However, he pointed out that there have been women doing gross-out humor long before her.
“As a male who actually enjoys hearing those dirty things that women say, I think funny women have been around forever, Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn,” he explains, “I mean, there’ve always been genius female actors in comedy. I also think that we live in an age where technology has afforded a generation a lot more of a crass look at the world.”
“The Internet is a really strange place to be,” Timberlake continues, “I think the level of what we can understand about brash humor mixed with all these different elements with all types of movies like The Hangover and things like that, I think that people like Jake and directors who step up and say, ‘We want to push the envelope, but in a way that we know can get laughs,’ that always fuels the engine. But also it is great, like Cameron said, that’s the coolest thing about this movie is that a male could have played this lead role. It’s a great thing to see a female that can do it and do it as well as Cameron does it.
Timberlake shared of how much he got along relatively quickly with his comedic co-stars, including Diaz, Jason Segal, and Molly Shannon.
“Well. after the first week of rehearsal and the first orgy, it all just kind of came together,” Justin says.
One of the other highlights of the film is a risqué car wash scene involving Cameron Diaz’s character. Justin was asked what he thought of the scene.
“I’ve been waiting to be asked that question,” Timberlake says, “I feel like I nailed it. A lot of people don’t know this, but I’m just going to tell you about what I did. I choreographed the car wash scene. That will also be on the DVD extras. There’s a behind the scenes look at me demonstrating how to wash that car.”
“The shot of the black and white hitting the car,” he continues, “There was a police car that came by while we were shooting and Jake just literally saw what was about to happen and had the [director of photography] pan the camera over and we just caught some reality.”
In May of this year, Timberlake went back to what has become his other regular acting gig, hosting Saturday Night Live. He revisited what have become his now-classic sketches like Omeletville and of course, another “digital short” with The Lonely Island member Andy Samberg. He talked about what makes doing SNL particularly special for him.
“I’ve hosted four times,” Justin says, “The season finale was my fourth time although it does seem like more because when I’m in New York City, they can’t keep me out of 30 Rock, which is probably annoying to them on some level. I grew up with SNL as an institution. It is part of the humor and chemistry between me and my father. I come from a divorced family and didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my father when I was young and it’s something that we share that is really special to me. Growing up with that show, it was just an institution.”
“I remember staying up late,” he adds, “It was really bad parenting because I was too young to be watching some of the jokes that were on SNL, but hey, I turned out okay. I’m just such a huge fan of the show, and to be honest, I’m here doing this interview because of SNL. I have no doubt in my mind about that. I owe getting the shot to be in Bad Teacher with these genius comedians and comediennes directly to SNL and Lorne Michaels for letting me be there and rock out with all I got. And, I mean, can we just say that [a dick in the box] is a thoughtful Christmas gift? Trim your bow, gentlemen. I directly owe any opportunity that I ever get on film to be in a comedy to SNL so I’m so thankful for that show as a kid and as an adult.”
Justin was asked whether he believes Bad Teacher’s R-rating will hurt the film’s box office potential with his younger fans.
“One can also argue that if you take away the R-rating, it’s going to take all the fun out of being a teenager and sneaking in,” Timberlake says, “So let’s be honest, they’re going to do it.”
Finally, Timberlake was asked about another highlight scene where Cameron Diaz’s character has a student be held in place for her to throw dodgeballs at them and how all the parties involved managed to pull off such a scene.
“‘Don’t move your face and just take this dodgeball,’” Justin recalls, “But, after that, everything was uphill. ‘Don’t move your face and take this dodgeball, kid.’”