Justin Timberlake finds harmony in 'Llewyn Davis'
FILE - This file film image released by CBS FIlms shows, from left, Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver in a scene from "Inside Llewyn Davis." In the Coen brothers film, 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.” (AP Photo/CBS FIlms, Alison Rosa, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — 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 multitasking Timberlake (Burnett calls him "a quadruple threat"), the film was a rare chance to combine his talents: a Coen playground staked out between worlds Timberlake usually navigates separately. Some 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 after a spell in movies like "The Social Network." And this weekend, he's the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live," where the former Mouseketeer first revealed his comedy chops.
The folk revival music of "Inside Llewyn Davis" is quite a distance from Timberlake's "Suit and Tie" or "My Love," 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."
FILE - In this Nov. 24, 2013 file photo, Justin Timberlake accepts the award for favorite album - soul/R&B for "The 20/20 Experience" at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. 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.” (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, File)
"Inside Llewyn Davis" is about a struggling and bitter folk musician (the title character, played by Oscar Isaac) in 1961 Greenwich Village, the cusp of Bob Dylan's arrival. Timberlake plays a friend of his with a rosier outlook and less concerns with selling-out. The movie is filled with full performances of songs, all but one of which were recorded live.
Work on the film began with the music: "We found the characters through the type of music they did," says Timberlake.