Well before he had “Friends With Benefits,” schooled a “Bad Teacher” or spent too much time on “The Social Network,” Justin Timberlake was just another pop star trying to make it big in Hollywood. But thanks to a healthy sense of humor and a dedicated fan base (a sexy pair of abs don’t hurt either!), Justin is one of Hollywood’s young elite that we love to like.
The transition from musician to actor—and, notably, not back to musician yet—was a decade-long process, all leading up to next week’s “Friends With Benefits,” the first movie where he can claim full leading-man rights. Since he’s such a pretty face to look at, we’re going to take you on a journey back in time and explore the evolution of Justin Timberlake.
Music and acting have been entwined for Justin since the very beginning when he made his debut on Disney Channel’s “The New Mickey Mouse Club.” The show will go down in history for producing Hollywood heavyweights like Ryan Gosling, Christina Aguilera and, of course, Justin’s ex Britney Spears.
Following his time in the House of Mouse, Justin became the lead singer of a small boy band you may have heard of called ’N Sync. He fronted the group for seven years before releasing his first solo album in 2002, but during that time he also dabbled with an acting career. He made his film debut in the 2000 Disney Channel movie “Model Behavior” and also played a valet in the film “Longshot.” It would be five more years before he would act again.
After 2004’s Super Bowl “Nipplegate,” Justin decided to focus his career on film. Though he returned to acting in 2005 for “Edison Force,” it was really his 2006 film “Alpha Dog” that put him on the Hollywood map. He would go on to act in “Black Snake Moan,” 2007’s “Southland Tales” and 2008’s “The Love Guru,” as well as offer his voice talents to then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz’s animated film series, “Shrek.”
Among those early projects, “Alpha Dog” was the only one to offer Justin any sort of critical acclaim, but he earned a dedicated following thanks to his Lonely Island skits on “Saturday Night Live” alongside BFF Andy Samberg. From “D–k In A Box” to “Jizz In My Pants” to “Mother Lover,” Andy and Justin brought new life and popularity to the long-running improv show.
His acting career took a turn for the better in 2010’s “The Social Network,” where his performance as Napster creator Sean Parker earned him his first serious awards season buzz. And now he will let his comedic chops shine once again in “Friends with Benefits,” which costars Mila Kunis.
Justin has another big movie, “In Time,” on the horizon, and we’re guessing that if these two films are successes, the former pop star will have completed his transformation into a bona fide movie star.
Do you like Justin Timberlake’s films? Are you planning on seeing “Friends With Benefits”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!