Sure, Justin Timberlake has the best-selling album of the year , and a sequel that moved 350,000 units in its first week and he’s toured with Jay-Z, just launched a solo outing and hung at the White House with President Obama. But he’s also suffered some of the harshest criticism of his career in that same period, getting dinged hard for his acting and singing.
“So I find it ironic that I’m doing an interview with you about Man of the Year when I feel — literally — like a bunch of people just took a sh– on my face,” he told GQ magazine in an interview for their Man of the Year (redubbed #Hashtag of the Year in JT’s honor). Why so glum, JT?
At the time, the singer/actor was bummed that he’d suffered a “double whammy” of terrible reviews for his bomb film with Ben Affleck, “Runner Runner,” as well as for his The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2 album. “Where did all this vitriol come from?” he wondered.” It’s mean. And I’m not cut out for it.”
Except, well, he is. A performer for nearly his entire life, Timberlake, 32, knows all about the slings and arrows of the media, including calls for him to give up acting.
“The movie didn’t do well at the box office, so I should quit?” he asked. “Hold on a second. If I was somebody else, you wouldn’t have said that. I have the number one album this week, and I shouldn’t have released it? Come on, man. You sound like a d—head.”
As cool and collected as he looks on stage and in photos in those Tom Ford suits and slicked-back hair, the negative press gets to JT and, he admitted, “Sometimes I just want to f—ing kill everybody … I’ve been doing this professionally since I was 10 … If entertainment years were dog years, man, I’d be like Gandhi. I’d be like 250 years old.”
He does have other things to celebrate, like his small, laugh-inducing role in the Coen brothers’ upcoming folk-era movie “Inside Llewyn Davis” and a run of classic skits this year with good pal Jimmy Fallon. And, because his mom raised him right, near the end of the interview, he apologized for his ranting and raving.
“Listen, I’m not cool,” he said. “Being cool is about keeping your blood pressure steady. So no. Don’t be cool. Be passionate. Be dedicated. Be tenacious. Be uncompromising. Be pissed. Be happy. Be sad.”
In his case, that means, keep making movies, even if they bomb and your fans just want you to make music again. Keep hosting “Saturday Night Live” and killing it, even when people wait six years for you to get back in your lane and release an album.
“I’ve made a career out of doing things that I should not be doing. I wasn’t cool about it,” he said. “Because being cool would have meant I passed up on those opportunities. If you do that, it’s because you’re afraid. And what are you afraid of? You know?”