Justin Timberlake of Facebook movie The Social Network talks to TimeOut about playing a dot-com wonderboy.
Was it ironic for you to play the co-creator of Napster?
No. And people ask me that a lot but illegal downloading of music never really affected me. I understand both sides of it.
Apparently you had to audition a few times to get this role?
Yes I did. But everybody auditioned. I think David [Fincher] wanted to make sure that the actors were very careful about what we were doing, because we were playing characters based on real people. I don't know who else auditioned for Sean Parker, but I know that a lot of guys went for it because it was such a juicy role in the film.
How was it playing a larger-than-life character like Parker?
I enjoyed playing the character a lot. There was a lot there to use and Aaron Sorkin's brilliantly dazzling dialogue was amazing to speak. As it turned out, when you meet my character in the movie he's already been made such a legend by Jesse and Andrew's characters, that it was easy to follow that lead.
Do you have anything in common with that kind of flamboyance and confidence that Parker has?
I don't think so. What I do onstage is not who I am. I put on a show, so there's a part of myself that I can access but I don't necessarily feel that I have much in common with him in that way.
Did you do much research?
I didn't have to because there were things that were already accessible on the internet and I didn't want to mimic Sean Parker. I think that that would have been irresponsible, and, as a person, that would have been unfair, especially because I didn't spend time with him. I only met him briefly once and so I would have only fallen short. And also, when you mimic someone, I feel like people would watch the performance waiting for the moment where you didn't perfectly mimic them, and I don't think that any of that was important to tell the story.
He has such a swagger about him.
Yeah, he tries to keep everyone in a certain place, so that they never see the cracks in the armour.
Do you feel that you have something to prove as an actor?
I'm sure that I was doubted as a musician plenty of times and I will continue to go through that. I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone except myself and that's why I was ecstatic to be in this film.
Are you on Facebook?
No, just because of privacy issues.
Do you Twitter?
I do a little bit sometimes, but not like to announce that I would be going to the bathroom (laughs). I don't feel like it's important to say everything that happens in the day on the internet. I'm just a more private person than that but I realise that I do have an audience that is there, so every once in a while, it's nice to engage in a way that's not too personal for me.