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Justin Timberlake Talks to Playboy

By admin Published: June 15, 2011

They may not like the magazine in Salt Lake City, but JT took time to be an interview subject. Selected comments from the issue due out Friday:

On filming sex scenes with Mila Kunis for Friends with Benefits: “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t completely awkward. I couldn’t tell you the number of people in the crew watching me and my bare a*s, but it was a lot. The producers and I agreed we would shoot a big chunk of the movie before we got down to the sex scenes, which was a good idea. That allowed Mila and me time to get comfortable…Most of the sex scenes are actually played for laughs, and she’s such a gifted comedian…a lot of the time it was just me making a fool of myself. You can’t be shy with comedy even when you’re standing there naked.”

On internet stories about his romantic relationships: “None of it’s true, so I shouldn’t even dignify it with an answer. The thing is, I’m not going to sacrifice my friendships with people who are my co-stars I meet in the business. I’m not going to avoid spending time with people because someone who doesn’t know me makes assumptions about what’s going on. That’s bullsh*t…My life is not on the internet.”

On why he tends to date celebrities: “You probably gravitate toward people who understand your scenario. At the end of the day you just want someone who gets you, who can be a friend. That’s kind of the point of Friends with Benefits. As corny as it sounds, the ‘friends’ part counts just as much as the ‘benefits’ part, if not more.”

On whether or not he’s had any “friends with benefits”: “I don’t think I’ve ever had that type of relationship. I get hooked on every level when I get close to someone. If you build enough chemistry to want to be intimate like that, someone’s going to catch feelings, and usually it happens quickly.”

On Lady Gaga: “She’s a force…she’s legitimately talented. I’d love to see her come out with another record a couple of years from now that’s completely different, maybe something Tori Amos could do. If I were Lady Gaga, I’d do whatever I wanted, which it looks like she’s doing. She’s just plain old good. But I don’t know what the future holds for her. Her sound is so big. She’s got the outfits and she shocks you, but you kind of wonder how an act that big stays around forever. That’s why I’m curious to see her mix it up a little. I think she’ll continue to make interesting music.”

On Justin Bieber: “Justin’s great. He’s obviously a talented kid. I just hope he has a good support system, because I think back on myself wearing cornrows. It’s awkward growing up in front of the public. Justin’s probably dealing with that on some level now. Somebody like Usher mentoring him is great because Usher is somebody who’s had a lot of ups and not a down that I can remember. He’ll teach him that you can’t just ride this out. You need to have somewhere to go. You need to have a plan…Otherwise, before you know it, there’s going to be some kid who’s younger than you. We just live in that age.”

On Prince: “I look at people like Prince, who, to me, is the greatest musician who has ever lived. He keeps producing, keeps writing, keeps making unbelievable music – all because he’s true to his passion…Everything he says, every note he sings, it’s just like, man, that guy is so far ahead of the rest of us. One of my best experiences onstage was at his house during a party.”

On Christina Aguilera and other former co-stars from The All New Mickey Mouse Club: “What’s funny is I didn’t know at the time that the people around me would go on to so many great things. The exception was Christina Aguilera. She was the prodigy. She could sing better than the adults who had huge deals at the time. We always felt she was going to become Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey…I still love to see people from those days making good on their talent. It’s a special connection.”

On the Jersey Shore cast: “[They are] awkward in an awesome way. I’ve never seen the show, but I met them backstage at the MTV awards and they were this fearsome group, storming around the hallway. They looked pretty awesome.”

On American Idol: “It seems the point of American Idol is to find singers who fit America’s mold of what a talented person should be. That bothers me. I don’t know whose place it is to tell somebody he or she is good or not. Everybody is just different. It shouldn’t be a contest.”

On his Saturday Night Live appearances: “My favorite thing in the world was to make people sing – until I made people laugh. Then that became my favorite thing in the world. SNL gave me a place to do that, and all my experiences there have been tremendous. I think it made people notice me in a different way.”

On when he’ll release new music: “I don’t have a single song ready to go. People keep asking me when a new song or album is coming out, and I don’t know what to say. Music is not my focus right now. It may be someday. It could happen next month or next year but right now it’s not where it’s at for me.”

On why he hasn’t recently released new music: “Unfortunately, the business of music is what taints an artist’s desire to make music…I love making music. I honestly love it. But there is a level where making music becomes a total life-s*cking commitment. For instance, to do an album and a tour, you have to be absolutely certain that whatever you have to say is from the heart, because you’re going to say it a thousand times – and on nights when you don’t feel like performing. You need to feel inspiration to get to a level where you’re performing like that. But I haven’t felt that level of conviction the past few years. And without that conviction it’s crazy to put yourself out there.”

On his early passion for singing: “Not a lot of 10-year-old Caucasian kids were running around Millington, Tennessee, signing Stevie Wonder and Al Green songs, which were the songs I felt most connected to…I wasn’t cool with the white kids because they thought I wanted to be black. And I wasn’t cool with the black kids because they thought I wanted to be black. So I was looked at as a traitor and an intruder or an imposter. I had to find solace in just being me.”

On pushing his single “SexyBack”: “When I put out the first song, ‘SexyBack,’ radio thought I was a joke. I couldn’t let that go, so I started calling radio program directors. I’m pretty tenacious like that. I was like, ‘This is my record. Give it a chance’…I’d say, ‘I know it doesn’t sound like me, but just please give the record a two-week period or even a one-week period. Just let the music get out there’…I was that relentless.”

On the success he experienced with ‘N Sync: “You couldn’t keep what we were doing on the shelves. It was bigger than bubblegum. Sometimes I think back on the time we did five nights at Giants Stadium. That was the moment I just looked around and thought, There’s nowhere for this to go but down. It’s never going to get bigger than this.”

On ‘N Sync’s female fans: “I hate to disappoint you, but I was the youngest one in the group, so the other guys were getting more of that [girl] action, and they were protective of me…But yeah, the girl stuff definitely was a heavy part of it, and it would play with your mind. I remember looking down once – we were playing Madison Square Garden for an HBO special – and this girl put her arm out. She had a mural of me tattooed along her whole arm. I just remember looking at it and thinking, Holy sh*t, that’s never going to come off.”

On his fashion faux pas: “God, I feel I’ve gone to therapy just to erase some of them. The cornrows I wore with ‘N Sync. That was pretty bad. Britney and I wore matching denim outfits [to the 2001 American Music Awards]. Yeah, another bad choice. I’d probably pay good money to get some of those pictures off the internet.”

On why he’s been successful: “I think people sometimes don’t pay enough attention to what they do. I’ve done well, but the reason is pretty simple: I’ve worked my ass off. Anything I’ve done well has taken many, many hours of preparation. And then the trick, of course, is making that work look invisible. The toughest thing a performer can do is make it look as if it comes easy.”

On why some celebrities experience more than 15 minutes of fame: “I think it’s about process. If you care about the process of what you’re doing, you can care about the actual work. You’ll stick around. The other thing is, you always need to be learning something new. In whatever I’ve done, I’ve always looked at myself as a beginner. Hopefully I can continue to do that for the next 30 years as I grow into an older man.”

On smoking pot: “Absolutely [I’m a pot smoker]…The only thing pot does for me is it gets me to stop thinking. Sometimes I have a brain that needs to be turned off. Some people are just better high.”

On relaxing and enjoying life: “At some point in my life I wish I had learned to say no. From the beginning of my career, I was a guy who said yes all the time to everything…For years I was constantly chasing, chasing, chasing. Then I thought, Well, maybe I’m actually running from something rather than chasing something…Who knows? Whatever it is, I feel I’m just getting to a point in my life where I’m looking around, going, There’s a lot to enjoy if I can just sit still, actually stop and take more time.”

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