Justin Timberlake finds harmony in Llewyn Davis'

2013-12-23 19:30
New York — Justin Timberlake, so often shuttling between movies and music, for once didn't have to choose.

In the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis Timberlake plays a supporting role as a cheery, sweater-wearing 1960s folk musician. But he also collaborated with producer T Bone Burnett on the movie's memorable period songs and helped shape the film's most unforgettable and comic tune, Please Mr. Kennedy.

"It's the first time that I've gotten to kind of do a lot of things that I love to do at the same time," Timberlake said in a recent interview by phone from the road, where he's on tour. "It will always be a milestone for me to get to write, sing, act and bring it all together."

For the multi-hyphenate Timberlake (Burnett calls him "a quadruple threat"), the film was a rare chance to combine his talents: a Coen brothers playground staked out between worlds Timberlake usually navigates separately. Often, fans and media seem to want him to pick a side: musician or actor.

"I don't even know what I am, man," he chuckles.

The various Timberlakes are uniquely on display at the moment. Inside Llewyn Davis opens nationally Friday. He's in the midst of touring The 20/20 Experience, his Grammy-nominated return to music. And this weekend, he's the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, where the former Mouseketeer first revealed his acting chops.

The folk revival music of Inside Llewyn Davis is quite a distance from Timerlake's My Love or Suit and Tie, but Burnett doesn't think much of genre divisions.

"He's from Memphis, says Burnett. "He's an R&B singer, basically. But he's got a beautiful voice and he's got incredible tone and he can sing anything he wants to. A song is a song."

In Inside Llewyn Davis, Timberlake plays the smiley.

I just started strumming these chords and strumming in a way that we felt was almost like Surfin' Safari or a Coasters tune. It was just one of those things where when the punch lines fit in with the melody so good. We kind of just wrote the song in the back of this guitar shop.

"That groovy Brian Wilson thing that started to happen"

There was a novelty song and then there was a parody of the novelty song. Then there was another parody of the novelty song. Now we've done a rewrite on a take-off of a parody of a novelty song.

It was very collaborative, "We just all jammed together for a couple weeks. So you felt like this counter-culture collective."

“I don't like rules of 'well, this is what you do, or this is the picture frame you're supposed to live in.' You just never know what might come out of trying everything.”

Watch the trailer here:

Read more on:    justin timberlake  |  music  |  movies

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.