In Time - Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake
Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and Will (Justin Timberlake) enjoy their first dance, unaware that they’ll soon be propelled into an incredible race for time © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox

Justin Timberlake effortlessly moves from his successful musical career to rave reviews for his acting in such movies as Alpha Dog and The Social Network.

In his new sci fi thriller, In Time, Justin portrays Will Salas, who lives in a future where time is literally money, and aging stops at 25. The only way to stay alive is to earn, steal, or inherit more time.

Will is living minute-to-minute, until a windfall of time gives him access to the world of the wealthy, where he becomes an unlikely hero, teaming up with Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried), a beautiful young heiress, to destroy this corrupt system.

Can you tell us a little about Will?

In Time - Justin Timberlake
The heroic Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) whose unexpected inheritance propels him into shaping world-changing events © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox

Will has grown up with essentially nothing. He wakes up every day and goes to work to stay alive. Through a series of events, he decides that he’s not going to take it anymore, and takes it upon himself to try and change the way things work in this world.

Will grows up in Dayton, which is somewhat of a ghetto. It’s kind of ironic that the word ‘day’ is in its name, because most of the citizens only walk around with a day to live. So the day-to-day life in Dayton is quick.

People don’t have time to walk slowly, so they run, almost all of the time to where they are going, and they’re constantly eating and drinking on the run.

They don’t have time to spare or to waste. Everything’s frenetic and alive, in a kind of dangerous yet beautiful way. When your back is up against the wall and you don’t have a choice, you make revisions and you live your life the way that it has to be, to survive.

If you could always buy more time, wouldn’t you get lazy or not want to create anything? There’s no pressure to do it before it’s too late.

So much of the tech generation has to do with the aspiring to create that type of thing. I remember having that conversation. If you had all the time in the world, if you got used to that life, it would sort of be the death of creativity.

What was it like working with Amanda Seyfried as Sylvia?

In Time - Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried
Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) and Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) are almost out of time © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

There are people that see the world the same way Will does. At the end of the day, I think he just wants what is fair. I think, through Sylvia, Will discovers there’s something bigger he could be fighting for.

It becomes kind of a Robin Hood tale at that point, once they pair up; like any young people put in high risk situations, they become enamored with each other. And working one-on-one with Amanda has been great. I feel like we’ve really captured something special between those two characters.

How much fun was it to be the action hero?

On top of this being a great story, I got to live out a lot of boyhood fantasies, shooting guns and getting to stunt drive. When I was a kid, some of my favorite movies were action pieces like First Blood, The Fugitive and Die Hard.

The one thing I loved about those specific movies was that the protagonists were everyday people placed into extraordinary circumstances and doing extraordinary things.

What was it like shooting the action scenes?

In Time - Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake
Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) and Will (Justin Timberlake) run for their lives © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox

I ran, we cut, somebody yelled ‘action,’ and I ran again! Then we cut. Then someone yelled ‘action,’ and I ran some more. No, actually, it was a lot of fun.

I would describe this film more as a thriller than an action movie, and I think it has a lot to do with Roger Deakins, who’s a legendary cinematographer.

The way he captured the story was so simple, and yet it’s very exciting. But it’s not a lot of shaky camera work and fast, whipping moves. It’s beautifully composed, and I think that makes a difference; it makes it feel more real.

What age would you want to get stuck at and why?

I can honestly say I wouldn’t want to revisit a lot of my younger years. I went to the Environmental Media Awards and it’s recycle, recycle and one of the things that popped up in my mind that I wouldn’t recycle are a couple of the outfits I wore in 1999, so I’m perfectly fine with aging.

One of the themes of the movie is doing a lot with your life in a short time, and you’ve done that. What would you do if you only had one day left?

It sounds cliché but I would spend it with people that I love; people in my family. If I had 24 hours, I’d come to a press day and talk to you (yeah, sure!). I’d probably squeeze in a three hour round of golf. That leaves 21 hours and I’d probably spend that with the people I love.

Anything you haven’t done yet that you’d like to do?

I think that the things you look [at] that you were most proud of are the things you were so desperate to do that you had that much conviction. I relate that to this film. I’m really proud of this film. It’s serendipitous with the social stance that is happening now, ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ and ‘Occupy L.A.’

I saw this movie as a very beautiful story. In the midst of an otherworldly macro-concept I saw the movie as having some really simple themes to this guy. I saw him as an everyday man who gets pushed too far and decides he’s not going to take it anymore.

I was excited to work with this cast and director. I think your final piece of work should be one you are really, really proud of.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.