Justin Timberlake: I'm not cool

Story highlights

  • Justin Timberlake is one of GQ magazine's Men of the Year
  • In the cover story, he talks about harsh criticism of his recent movie and album
  • He says that he's not cool, but passionate
  • That passion has helped him to take risks
Justin Timberlake and Kanye West may not always see eye-to-eye, but they have at least one trait in common: the inability to be cool.
As Timberlake explains in the December issue of GQ, "being cool is about keeping your blood pressure steady," rather than being passionate.
Similar to Yeezus, Timberlake isn't the type of guy who can restrain himself from displaying passion, whether he's passionately in love with something or passionately in disagreement -- particularly when he's in disagreement with his critics.
After surviving a stretch of negative reactions to his entertainment offerings this fall -- there was September's "The 20/20 Experience -- 2 of 2," and his October release with Ben Affleck, "Runner Runner" -- Timberlake admits to GQ that it was "literally like a bunch of people just took a s*** on my face."
To make matters worse, the crime drama "Runner Runner" was not only poorly reviewed, but it also didn't do well at the box office. (To date, it's made $19.2 million domestically.)
So when reviewers told the 32-year-old that he should reconsider this whole acting thing, and probably should have also re-thought releasing the second half of March's "The 20/20 Experience," Timberlake was feeling a little sensitive.
"This face ... This recognizable face that you work so hard to get -- not because you want the recognition but because you know you're made to do it" also comes with a price, he said.
"The movie didn't do well at the box office, so I should quit? Hold on a second. If I was somebody else, you wouldn't have said that. I have the number one album this week, and I shouldn't have released it? Come on, man. You sound like a d***head.... It just shocked me because, like, you're trade magazines. None of your opinions count. And by the way, none of you can do it."
Although Timberlake has been in the business since he was a child, getting his start in entertainment around age 10 and building his fanbase on "The Mickey Mouse Club," he nonetheless "grew up with a little bit of a chip on my shoulder," he says. "Sometimes I find it funny that I've been able to acquire the patience it takes to be kind to people in our business. Because sometimes I just want to f****g kill everybody."
So, no. Justin Timberlake isn't always as cool and smooth as his "Suit & Tie" portray him to be. But the actor/singer/entrepreneur -- who later apologized for going off on that "tangent" during the interview -- doesn't have any regrets.
"I've been doing this professionally since I was 10. If entertainment years were dog years, man, I'd be like Gandhi. I'd be like 250 years old," the recently married star says. "Don't be cool. Be passionate. Be dedicated. Be tenacious. Be uncompromising. Be pissed. Be happy. Be sad. ... I've made a career out of doing things that I should not be doing. I wasn't cool about it. Because being cool would have meant I passed up on those opportunities. If you do that, it's because you're afraid. And what are you afraid of? You know?"
The full interview is in the December issue of GQ magazine, which has named Timberlake one of its Men of the Year, along with rapper Kendrick Lamar, "Anchorman" star Will Ferrell, Matthew McConaughey and the late James Gandolfini.