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Palmer director impressed by “chameleon” Justin Timberlake’s “charisma” and “intelligence”

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Justin Timberlake‘s new movie Palmer debuts on Apple TV+ today.  Justin stars as Eddie Palmer, a high school football star-turned-ex-con, who returns to his home town and begins mentoring a non-binary young boy abandoned by his mother.  Director Fisher Stevens wasn’t entirely convinced that Justin Timberlake was the right guy for the movie, but the pop star soon changed his mind.

“I have to say, the minute I met him and the intelligence he had discussing the script…he discussed the script better than most actors I’ve ever met or worked with,” Stevens tells ABC Audio. “Like, he is an actor. He just…happens to be an actor who makes a living as a pop star. But he’s just as much an actor…in his intelligence and his approach to the role.”

It was Leonardo DiCaprio‘s manager who recommended that Stevens cast Justin in the movie. And while Justin was interested, Stevens said he waited eight months to actually commit to the part.  But when he did, Stevens said, the singer impressed him.

“He just got into it, man, he just started losing himself,” Stevens recalls. “He just started talking to people who were in prison, and he started lifting weights…he’s a chameleon.”

In fact, Stevens notes, “One of the comments I’ve been hearing quite a bit about the movie is like, ‘Oh, my God, I forgot it was Justin Timberlake within like two minutes of the film.'”

But what really impressed Stevens was going to one of JT’s concerts.

“I was like, ‘Woah!'” he laughs. “I mean, Jesus! The power...the guy held 22,000 people [in the palm of his hand]. I mean, that’s a skill. That’s a beautiful thing for my movie too: Someone who has that kind of charisma.”

By Andrea Dresdale
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