Justin Timberlake, the Object of Bad Teacher‘s Affection

Hot off the smash success of “The Social Network,” Justin Timberlake now stars in Columbia Pictures’ acclaimed rowdy comedy “Bad Teacher” which also stars Cameron Diaz in the title role.

In the film, Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) is a teacher who just doesn’t give an F. She’s foul-mouthed, ruthless, and wildly inappropriate. She drinks, she gets high, and she can’t wait to marry her meal ticket and walk away from her day job teaching middle school. When she’s dumped by her fiancé, she sets her plan in motion to win over a rich, handsome substitute Scott Delacorte (Timberlake) – competing for his affections with an overly energetic colleague, Amy (Lucy Punch). Elizabeth’s outrageous schemes and their wild consequences will shock her students, her co-workers, and even herself.

“On paper, Scott is very, very nice,” says Timberlake. “He seems like your average, rich, blue-blooded guy, and very non-confrontational. That’s actually fun to play, because as Lucy’s and Cameron’s characters get more and more petty, he gets more and more awkward.”

Timberlake says that with the writers on set and a director who encourages collaboration, “Bad Teacher” was a fantastic experience. “The role, as it was written on the page, was really funny. Then, when we were in the middle of a scene, Jake would have great instincts, adding a layer each time we did it. The writers would have very funny alternate lines to build on. All of this helped make the character more and more specific, and, I think, funnier and funnier.”

“I like it best when the comedy is based around character, not gags,” he says. “In drama, if there’s an emotional moment in a movie, it’s because the viewer has followed the character through the journey and it means something to them. Comedy is the same way – if you’ve followed the characters, it makes it even funnier.”

Surrounded by such a funny cast, he says, was a blast. “I’m just a fan, I really am,” he says. “It’s great to play in the sandbox with these brilliant comedic minds.”

Timberlake, of course, has achieved great heights as a recording artist and songwriter, and he gets to parody his persona in “Bad Teacher.” “Scott is asked to join the teachers’ band, Period 5,” he explains. “Scott is everyone’s favorite – sort of the guy that the teachers wish the students were like – so of course they ask him to join. The writers came to me – they thought it would be really funny if there was an actual song Scott had written for Amy. We wanted to see how simple, and bad, we could make it,” says Timberlake.

Inspired by his budding romance with Amy, Scott pens a truly horrible love song: “Simpatico.” “We sat in Justin’s trailer and he played guitar and we started writing lyrics – it was an amazing experience,” says co-screenwriter Lee Eisenberg. “Of course, ‘Simpatico’ is the worst song ever. Justin sings the song in this weird falsetto and he’s looking down at his hands as he’s playing the chords – in the movie, Justin really looks like he just learned how to play the guitar.”

Opening across the Philippines in August, “Bad Teacher” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

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