Bad Teacher – Justin Timberlake on the dry humping scene

Bad Teacher – Justin Timberlake on the dry humping scene

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Bad Teacher - Justin Timberlake
Bad Teacher - Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

In addition to being a multi-platinum recording artist, Justin Timberlake has also received critical acclaim for many acting performances in movies such as Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, Southland Tales and The Social Network.

In his new comedy Bad Teacher he portrays Scott Delacorte, a handsome and rich substitute teacher, who has caught the eye of both Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) and Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), two teachers at the same school. Elizabeth, foul-mouthed and ruthless, is out to find a Sugar Daddy, and will go to any lengths to capture Scott’s affections in order to live her life of luxury.

Justin spoke of the movie and his venture into comedy at the press day for the film.

What was it about this project or character that intrigued you?

Bad Teacher - Justin Timberlake
Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

When I first read the script I was very apprehensive because I was like, ‘This character’s absolutely transparent. I don’t know what is happening with him, I don’t know what is going on with him, I cannot put my finger on it. And then I read it again and I was like, ‘It’s kind of funny.’

So basing the character off of that, being funny, to me there was a lot of different ways to go because the thing that’s great about him is you don’t have to commit to anything, so you can just go whichever [way you want].

On paper, Scott is very, very nice. He seems like your average, rich, blue-blooded guy, and very non-confrontational. That’s actually fun to play, because as Lucy’s and Cameron’s character get more and more petty, he gets more and more awkward.

I like it best when the comedy is based around character, not gags. In drama, if there’s an emotional moment in a movie, it’s because the viewer has followed the character through the journey and it means something to them. Comedy is the same way – if you’ve followed the characters, it makes it even funnier.

How much did the character change from the original script that you read?

Bad Teacher - Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake
Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) and Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

The role, as it was written on the page, was really funny. Then, when we were in the middle of a scene, Jake (Kasdan, the movie’s director) would have great instincts, adding a layer each time we did it.

The writers would have very funny alternate lines to build on. All of this helped make the character more and more specific, and, I think, funnier and funnier.

I think you and Cameron created the most iconic dry humping scene in cinema, can you talk about putting that together?

I think we created the only dry humping scene ever seen in a movie. I’d like to say that Jake wasn’t literally between us, but figuratively he was there. He was my humping coach.

Also both of us felt that we had a responsibility to the young people who are going to buy tickets to see this movie, because they’re underage. It really is a public service announcement for safe sex!

Do you feel the time is right with this movie and Bridesmaids, for women to be unapologetically outrageous and funny?

Bad Teacher - Cameron Diaz
Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

I think funny women have been around forever, there have always been genius female actors in comedies. I also think that we live in an age where technology has afforded a generation a lot more of a crass look at the world; the internet is a really strange place to be.

With movies like The Hangover, people like Jake and other directors step up and say, ‘We want to push the envelope in a way that we know can get laughs.’ That always fuels the engine.

The coolest thing about this movie is that a male could have played this lead role and it a great thing to see a female that can do it, and do it as well as Cameron does it.

Was it fun to parody your persona as a song writer and singer in this?

Scott is asked to join the teachers’ band, Period 5. Scott is everyone’s favorite, the sort of the guy that the teachers wish the students were like. So of course they ask him to join.

Bad Teacher - Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and Justin Timberlake
Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz), Russell Gettis (Jason Segel) and Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) © 2011 Columbia TriStar

(Our screenwriters) Lee (Eisenberg) and Gene (Stupnitsky) came to me, they thought it would be really funny if there was an actual song Scott had written for Amy. We wanted to see how simple, and bad, we could make it.

What was it like working with such a talented cast of comedians?

I’m just a fan, I really am. It’s great to play in the sandbox with these brilliant comedic minds.

This movie is just funny on many different levels. There’s the right amount of physical comedy, but really a lot of what’s funny revolves around what’s been written.

It’s a testament to Lee and Gene as writers, and also Jake who comes in and has a fantastically baked cake and then you feel like you’re just spreading the icing on it.

Did you have any memorable teachers, not necessarily a bad teacher, but someone who really stands out?

I had a teacher in 7th grade who told me I was should have more realistic goals than being a songwriter and [singer], because my schoolwork would suffer!