As Mugatu might say, Justin Timberlake is so hot right now. The 30-year-old performer has been in the public eye for two decades now, but he keeps getting more and more popular. Though he has maintained a varied career, dabling in music, dancing, acting, and comedy, Timberlake has been inching his way into Hollywood for more than a decade now and he may be about to take it to a new level.
Timberlake got his start performing on the Mickey Mouse Club and then singing for millions of teen girls with boyband NSYNC, but it wasn’t until he took a bit part in TV series Touched by an Angel back in 1999 and tried his hand at starring in a 2001 Elton John music video that Timberlake may have found his true passion: acting.
Small roles in indie films like Edison Force helped him build his acting skills before he got his first chance to shine as a troubled youth in Alpha Dog. I know I didn’t really pay much attention to some of his early films, but I remember hearing the hype surrounding his performance in Alpha Dog, especially since he had a more featured role. After a bit of an acting hiatus during the release of his second solo album, FutureSex/LoveSounds, Timberlake returned in 2009 to star alongside Jeff Bridges in The Open Road.
Then there was The Social Network, Timberlake’s big break. It became a huge hit and was nominated for Best Picture at last year’s Academy Awards. Since then, his options have widened. In June 2011, he played a supporting role under Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher, but the success of his subsequent films, Friends With Benefits and In Time, have finally earned him a shot at being a respectable leading man. If you’re seeking proof, look no further than the deals he just signed with Clint Eastwood and the Coen Brothers.
A couple days ago, Deadline and Variety annouced that Timberlake landed a role in the film Trouble with the Curve, which stars Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby) as a veteran baseball scout in declining health. To end his career on a high note, he takes one last recruiting trip with his daughter, played by Amy Adams (Julie & Julia, Leap Year), and together the two search for a true hot shot player. Timberlake will play Eastwood’s nemesis, Johnny Flanagan, a former pitcher turned rival scout for the New York Yankies, and possible love interest to the veteran scout’s daughter.
The movie is also the debut of director Robert Lorenz, longtime producing partner of Eastwood, and screenplay writer Randy Brown. Though currently still in pre-production, Warner Bros. has it slated to hit theaters September 28, 2012. Quite a wait for Timberlake fans!
After that, in 2013, Inside Llewyn Davis will be released, which is written and directed by the Coen brothers and stars Timberlake as the title character—a folk singer from the 1960s. It’s kind of fitting since the movie is about a singer-songerwriter.
As for Timberlake, music hasn’t been the first thing on his mind lately. Though he got his start in music, it appears like he’s been more interested in acting than recording in the last few years. In March 2011, it was rumored that he was headed back to the studio to record a new album in the summer, but quotes from Timberlake in July indicate that he has no immediate plans for a third solo album. Still, the popstar-turned-actor is still interested in music. He has been writing and recording some tracks with Justin Bieber for a few days now, according to the Digital Journal.
Crossing between acting and music isn’t uncommon. Will Smith jumped into acting with huge success in the 1990s. Jennifer Lopez, Eminem, David Bowie, and plenty of others have successfully made the leap as well. Justin Timberlake has been getting a lot of attention in the last year, but does he have the talent and charisma it takes to be a lasting movie star, or is he just the next fad?
(Co-written by Erika Julien and Jeffrey Van Camp)