Justin Timberlake On Music, Comedy And Wearing Out His NPR T-Shirt

Play associated audio

It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)

On Saturday's Weekends On All Things Considered, host Guy Raz talks to Timberlake about that shirt — as well as music, comedy, and his new film, In Time, in which he plays a man battling a dark future where time is traded as currency. According to Timberlake, the idea that the rich could literally buy life from the poor is particularly topical given the Occupy Wall Street movement and its concern with "separating class by wealth." But for the most part, he says he took the role because he admired the character — and all the cool stunts and beautiful women weren't a hardship, either.

Timberlake's movie career has been a little spotty, more so than his music career, but his prospects in acting took a giant leap forward when he played Sean Parker in 2010's The Social Network. The film was so important for him that Timberlake says he often tells friends his business card should say "[director] David Fincher Put Me In A Movie."

But music and serious acting aren't Justin Timberlake's only calling cards — they may, in fact, be secondary in his pop-culture ascendancy to his comedy work (much of which incorporates singing), including highly regarded hosting gigs on Saturday Night Live, hosting the ESPYs for ESPN, and appearances on Jimmy Fallon's Late Night that have, when posted online, turned into massive viral hits.

Being involved in comedy seems to come naturally, and he believes it does a lot to help people connect with you. "Comedy, in general, is the most disarming," he says. "It kind of breaks this wall down that I feel like people have because they have some perception of who you might be."

Speaking of perceptions: About that shirt. "I'm a big fan of many different programs on NPR," says Mr. Justin Timberlake,"so it wasn't because I thought it was hip. I actually am a really big fan." Despite the fact that this comment could be taken to mean he thinks NPR isn't hip, he follows by making the point that he's loved the shirt to the point of damage: "I have to get a new one. It's gotten some wear and tear. I actually wear it a lot."

And there you have it. Better to be utilitarian than to be hip.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

7 Things To Know About Presidential Appointments To The Supreme Court

Republicans are adamant they will stop anyone President Obama names to replace for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. It's possible Obama's nominee would face the longest wait in history for a vote.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.