If he had his way, Justin Timberlake would probably be doing promo for the follow-up to 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds right about now; it's just that these pesky movie roles keep getting in the way.
That's the takeaway from a new interview Timberlake gave to British magazine ShortList (to hype the U.K. release of one of those films, "Friends With Benefits,") in which he spoke openly about his desire to return to music, and the public's perception that he's purposely ignoring his career as a recording artist.
"To be honest, my plan would have probably been to do another record, probably right about now. I never stop considering myself a musician. To me, it's my bread and butter," he said. "And I mean that in a personal way, I don't mean that it finances my 'acting hobbies.' I joke with my friends that I should have a business card saying 'David Fincher put me in a movie,' because 'Bad Teacher' got a blessing due to 'The Social Network,' and then 'Friends With Benefits' came out of that.
"All the movies I've done were just opportunities that came up, but now that they're all coming out back-to-back, people think, 'Oh, he's trying to make a statement by having an acting career,' " he continued. "But it's not like that for me. I don't ever want to stop doing music."
Of course, in recent months, Timberlake's musical output has been limited to a cameo in a video for "Hoodies On, Hats Low," a song by his Tennman Records' artist FreeSol, and an impromptu performance with the group at a restaurant he co-owns in New York City. But he maintains that he never really decided to put his solo career on the shelf. It just sort of shook out that way, much to the dismay of his fans, who have begun making impassioned (and slightly profane) pleas for his return.
"The only conscious decision I made was that I didn't want to do a movie about a musician, because I felt like that was presumptuous," he told the magazine. "If 'Bad Teacher' had come out before 'The Social Network,' it may have curbed it a bit because people got used to seeing me on 'Saturday Night Live' and thought, 'Well, he's kind of funny.' I never cared about being taken seriously as a musician."
So, when can fans expect to hear new music from Timberlake? Well, from the sound of things, it may be a while. For the immediate future, he's focused on just disappearing for a while.
"I have nothing on my plate for the rest of the year. I'm getting sick of me," Timberlake said. "I realize that I'm in a really lucky place because, to be honest, I don't think I'm that good. I just want to make the right choices. You get to a certain age where you don't feel the need to be validated by your choices in your career. I want to be validated more by choices in my personal life."