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Justin Timberlake Offered A Starring Role In The Coen Brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

by Simon Dang
October 29, 2011 2:56 AM
16 Comments
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If you were gearing up to make a film based on the '60s folk scene, or any music-based film for that matter, why not recruit one of the most popular musician-turned-actors of recent times?

Variety is now reporting that Justin Timberlake has been offered a leading role in the Coen brothers' latest pic "Inside Llewyn Davis," which currently stars Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan in the story of a "struggling folk musician born and bred in Queens who, despite being a talented singer and guitarist, just can't seem to make ends meet playing music."

Should he accept (and really, why wouldn't he? this will be the highlight of his film career outside of Fincher), Timberlake will take on the role of Jim, a folk musician married to Mulligan's Jean character. Will the couple act as surrogates for other real life musicians? The titular role of Davis (which Isaac will play) was previously noted to be loosely based on Dave van Ronk, an American folk singer who presided over the '60s Greenwich Village scene, which gave birth to a new wave of artists that included Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Joni Mitchell.

So far, the Coens seem to be wisely recruiting with musical ability in mind as well as acting chops: Isaac is an accomplished musician soon to be seen performing his own track "Never Had" in Jamie Linden's "Ten Year" (before he became an actor he fronted the band The Blinking Underdogs), while Mulligan is a similarly gifted thesp who is still loosely attached to star in the long-gestating remake of "My Fair Lady" and delivered a memorable performance of "New York, New York" in Steve McQueen's upcoming drama "Shame."

Shooting on the project will take place in New York early in 2012 with what is shaping to be the freshest and youngest cast the Coens have ever worked with.

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16 Comments

  • jingmei | October 31, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    Seems Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan did a beautiful duo job in Drive.

  • a | October 29, 2011 12:48 PMReply

    @padre: I agree with Benjamin. Casting doesn't work like that. Timberlake has particular talents/looks that lent themselves to the role of Sean Parker, in David Fincher's eyes. He's also, according to the Coens, the best choice for this part (they're not often/ever wrong). I couldn't imagine him in Drive, The Believer, Half Nelson, etc.

  • sigh please | October 29, 2011 10:34 AMReply

    Anyone who calls In Time a flop is just a ugly hater. $13 million is good for a movie opening...look at Johnny Depps movie....it's like $5 million and he is Johnny freaking Depp!

  • sp | October 29, 2011 9:14 AMReply

    I am not the biggest JT fan, but he was good in Alpha Dog, Black Snake Moan, and it is not easy hosting SNL. I have seen Helen Mirren, Jeff Bridges, Robert De Niro, & Sean Penn bomb at hosting SNL. Pulling -off hosting SNL takes talent. To be fair, Timberlake was decent ( not great ) in The Social Network . Armie Hammer, Andrew Garfield, & Jesse Eisenberg, easily left him in their dust.

    P.S. I would never put JT in the league of Ryan Gosling. Never going to happen! The media & people truly need to stop comparing him to Frank Sinatra. Sinatra had charisma, strong presence, manliness, complexity, and an acting talent that Justin will never have.

  • sigh | October 29, 2011 7:35 AMReply

    People, people... maybe the Coens just thought he was right for the part? And whatever you think of his acting doesn't matter. A lot of people think he's good, including the critics.

    Who cares what his new movie made at the box office? Who cares whether or not he's a "popular" actor?

  • Benjamin | October 29, 2011 7:05 AMReply

    @padre

    I think it's JT's willingness to take supporting roles that has afforded him these opportunities. When's the last time we actually saw Gosling play second or third fiddle? Remember the Titans? I couldn't see him taking a role like JT had in The Social Network or is set to have in Inside Llewyn Davis.

  • brandi | October 29, 2011 6:46 AMReply

    Ew

  • No | October 29, 2011 6:24 AMReply

    Please, JT's leading man role in "in-Time" is flopping big time this weekend. It won't make more than $13 Million, it's like 37% on Rotten Tomatoes. He isn't a "popular" actor, does not have a fan base and is not very good at acting. He does fine in short skits on SNL but that's it. The Coen Brothers are USUALLY good with casting but everyone makes mistakes, even the Coens make mistakes. There are so many other talented actors out there why do we keep going with no talents like J.T.

  • padre | October 29, 2011 6:04 AMReply

    JT is gaining on Young Hercules in a disturbing way. Young Hercules has never gotten to work with the Coens, or Fincher, despite years of acting, talent, charisma, and dedication to Indie films. This is a terrible turn of events. JT started serious acting, like yesterday and he has already bagged the Coens and Fincher?! Are you shitting me? Young Hercules should be busting up hotel rooms over this. Seriously.

  • kris | October 29, 2011 5:41 AMReply

    hell no!

  • yer | October 29, 2011 5:29 AMReply

    The Coens are usually so good with casting, but so far with this film it's been one awful choice after another.

  • Stephen | October 29, 2011 5:07 AMReply

    I'm guessing if The Playlist had been around in the '80s, people would have been pretty worried about the guy from Valley Girl starring in the Coens' follow up to Blood Simple. That is to say, the Coens know what they're doing. Don't freak out. Or at least wait until you see it to freak out.

  • bunty | October 29, 2011 4:59 AMReply

    On the downside, this movie is going to have a LOT of terrible beards.

  • bunty | October 29, 2011 4:49 AMReply

    Fuck yeah. I'm not 100% sold on Timberlake the Actor, but he has chops and he has musical ability and, crucially, star charisma. And you just know this is going to spawn some remarkably successful spin-off soundtrack album, so it makes sense for both the Coens and Trousersnake to shift some units. Could be a new musical direction that takes him back into the studio, also. About time he recorded a new album. GOOD MOVE.

  • Yaya | October 29, 2011 4:40 AMReply

    I personally think the leap to leading roles for JT is way too soon. I feel like
    movie makers are just banking on JT already having a fan base and if he does OK, people are still happy cause he's a singer acting. But that type of casting ruins good movies. JT still acts like he acting when I see him in film. The best thing he has done was Social Network, but who did bad in that movie. Plus, he still had scene where I thought I was looking at JT acting and not Sean Park. Also, that film they did 100 takes to get the performance needed. That is not how it's done on most films. Doing good at skit comedy on SNL does not make you Dicaprio. I can't name one of the SNL cast members I want to see in films. He should stick to supporting roles and get better at the craft, if he's serious.



    I do like Carey Mulligan and since it is based around music JT may can pull it off. I just hate that better acting talent may be looked over cause people want to take the easy way out by casting JT in leading roles.

  • Marko | October 29, 2011 3:01 AMReply

    @padre Young Hercules is too busy kissing Nicolas Winding Refn to bother with other directors.

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