After thrilling music fans with not one but two new albums this year, Justin Timberlake is now turning his attention back to acting: his latest movie, Runner Runner, arrives in theaters on Friday.
In Runner Runner, Justin plays ex-finance whiz Richie Furst, who lost everything when the economy collapsed. He goes back to school to get his masters, and tries to pay for his tuition through online poker. When he loses a huge amount of money on a website run by Ivan Block -- played by Ben Affleck -- he realizes he was cheated, and confronts Block face to face. Block then hires him as his right-hand man, plunging Furst into the dangerous and often illegal world of offshore gaming.
"I think what happens to Richie is...he's a good guy," Justin says of his character. "He's just trying to dig himself out of a hole and keeps digging deeper and deeper." As for working with Oscar-winner Ben Affleck, Justin says that working with him was "a lot of fun," and "extremely informative," adding, "I learned a lot."
That's not surprising, considering both Justin and Ben have had the experience of being famous for one thing, and then getting recognition for doing something else.
"He's experienced being the biggest movie star in the world at one time, and now to be considered, you know, a great filmmaker, it's a whole new career for him," Justin notes. "So, I'm sure it was fun for him to come back and play this type of character because he probably wouldn't write this type of character for himself."
Another reason why the experience was a learning one may have the fact that the last film Affleck directed, Argo, was just named Best Picture, and Justin aspires to be behind the camera himself one day.
"I sort of dreamed about directing before [my] career as an actor took off," he admits. "I've directed stage before, in so many capacities, on my own tours. I mean, I put that together. You have to. It's your statement, you know, it's your voice and that has to come through."
He adds, "You really get the bug for it when you direct."
Whether or not anyone will allow Justin to direct a film remains to be seen. So far, Runner Runner has garnered mostly poor reviews.
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