Timberlake on a marathon career

Timberlake on a marathon career
Cinema still: Runner Runner starring Justin Timberlake (foreground) and Ben Affleck

On the list of statistically improbable phrases you would not expect to hear uttered by the pop star-turned-actor Justin Timberlake, a Malcolm Gladwell quote must surely be in there somewhere.

The reference to the author of the 2008 bestseller Outliers, which looks at what makes some people more successful than others, pops up when Life! asks him whether people are starting to take him more seriously as an actor.

The 32-year-old replies by referring to Gladwell's theory that a person needs at least 10,000 hours of practice before he can master a skill.

Timberlake, a top-selling pop and R&B artist with six Grammys to his name, is keenly aware that there have been doubts about his foray into acting, which includes lead roles in the romantic comedy Friends With Benefits (2011) with Mila Kunis, and science-fiction thriller In Time (2011) opposite Amanda Seyfried.

"There was probably a cloud over The Social Network that may have been a little unfair, but that's okay. I can respect that," he says, referring to his first high-profile supporting role as an early Facebook investor in the 2010 Oscar-winning film.

"And I do think it has shifted."

He was speaking to a group of reporters in Las Vegas a day after the recent world premiere of his new film Runner Runner, a crime drama about online gambling that opens in Singapore tomorrow.

Despite sharing top billing with Oscar-winner Ben Affleck, it is clearly Timberlake's film as he plays the protagonist Richie Furst, a Princeton whiz kid who travels to Costa Rica to confront a shady gambling tycoon (Affleck).

Timberlake has also bagged a cameo in Inside Llewyn Davis. The film by critical darlings Joel and Ethan Coen, about a struggling folk singer trying to make it in New York in the 1960s, is due out later this year.

But Timberlake feels that he has to pay his dues in Hollywood before he gets anything like the credibility he has earned in the music industry, where he went from being a member of the popular American boyband 'N Sync from 1995 to 2002 to one of the top male artists in the United States, with three platinum-selling solo albums and hits such as SexyBack, Cry Me A River and What Goes Around... Comes Around.

This led to him receiving, rather early, a Lifetime Achievement gong at the MTV Video Music Awards earlier this year.

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