There was a moment in a Saturday Night Live sketch a few years back, around the time of “The Social Network,” between Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. Samberg jokingly said to his buddy, “Why can’t you just make more music?” Timberlake stood and, as he turned to leave, exclaimed, “I’m trying to take this seriously, okay?!”
Indeed, the Mouseketeer-turned-boy-band-member-turned-solo-artist-turned-actor (whew) has been making a strong go of the silver screen over the last decade. In my opinion, he’s found fertile ground. I know it was a little difficult to take at first for a lot of people, but I’ve been a fan of his work since “Alpha Dog.”
Timberlake has worked with filmmakers like David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and the Coens as of late, making all the right movies. And now he’s poised to take on a big leading role in a biopic of 1970s record icon Neil Bogart.
Bogart was pivotal in the careers of many music industry superstars in the 1960s and 1970s, from Curtis Mayfield to Gladys Knight, KISS to The Village People. The new film “Spinning Gold,” written by Bogart’s son, Timothy Scott Bogart, will tell his story. Producers Mark Damon (“Monster”), Laurence Mark (“Dreamgirls”) and Gary A. Randall (TV’s “Saving Grace”) have also announced that they will co-host a film launch party for distributors at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival (which Timberlake will presumably be attending in support of not only this but the Coen brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis”).
“‘Spinning Gold’ is about a larger than life man who achieved so much in his short life and helped define a generation,” Damon says in the press release. “And with some of the music industry”s luminary artists lining up to join Justin in telling Neil”s incredible life story, the film is going to be a wild, music extravaganza that will light up the screen.”
On that note, the film’s soundtrack will include seminal hits of the era “re-imagined by some of today”s most influential artists.”
Damon has a personal interest in bringing the story to the screen, he says, because he started his career working with Bogart at Casablanca Records and Filmworks.
It will be interesting to see what sort of filmmaker saddles up to the project after buyers get a look over in the Cannes Film Market. Obviously many films, from “Coal Miner’s Daughter” to “Bird,” “La Bamba” to “The Buddy Holly Story,” “Ray to “Walk the Line” find a path through the awards season. Of course, many fail to make a dent — “Cadillac Records,” for instance, or “Control.” But perhaps this will be a big opportunity for Timberlake to be taken even more seriously as he makes his way further into the waters of screen actor.
We’ll find out…