Although Hall H is the big room at Comic-Con, Justin Timberlake, who was there to promote the upcoming sci-fi/action thriller In Time, is someone used to making stadium appearances as a singer. Even so, he seemed gracious and even humbled by the response he got for his first real lead acting role. In the film, which takes place in the near future, people are immortal because the aging gene has been deactivated. To avoid overpopulation, time has become the currency, allowing the rich to live forever while the rest have to negotiate for their immortality. When a young man comes into a fortune of time, he ends up on the run from a corrupt force known as time keepers.
Prior to their panel and footage presentation, co-stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried were joined by director Andrew Niccol for a press conference to talk about what makes In Time different from Logan’s Run, what the film says about modern society, how physically and mentally challenging the role was for Timberlake, making sure the action was very organic to the story, and how both of the film’s stars love movies where the action is performance-based. Check out what they had to say after the jump:
Question: What’s the basic difference between In Time and Logan’s Run?
AMANDA SEYFRIED: What’s Logan’s Run?
ANDREW NICCOL: Well, there’s a real difference because, in Logan’s Run, from what I remember, you die at a specific age. In our movie, it’s exactly the opposite, where you can live forever. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is you stop aging at 25 years old. The bad news is you have one year genetically engineered into your gene code, and so now you have to buy more time and make more time. However you can steal more time, you can do it. So, I think it’s very different from that. I don’t think they even had genetic engineering when Logan’s Run was made.
How would you describe In Time and what it has to say about society?
NICCOL: First of all, for me, it’s an action thriller. A lot of people will just go to it, on that level. They’ll go for the car chases and they’ll go to see Amanda Seyfried waving a gun in people’s faces, which she does brilliantly. But, some people will go for the ideas because obviously it does say something about our desire to stay young forever. While we can’t turn off the aging gene, we do go to a lot of extremes to stay young, I’ve noticed.
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: When I first read the script, I got caught up, obviously, in the characters. I love my character Will’s story and how he, through extenuating circumstances, ends up with Amanda’s character, Sylvia. Not to embarrass him, but it is Andrew has an uncanny ability to take a subject matter, like what we have, and create a huge thrill ride and a huge roller coaster ride out of it. And, at the same time, this might be a reflection of somewhere where we may or may not be right now, or headed to very soon.
Is there any age you would want to stay at, forever?
SEYFRIED: I’m good with getting older because I feel like, one day, I know I will love myself. No, but seriously, I feel like one day, I’ll get there and I feel like, for me, I can’t imagine staying at one age. I guess I would ideally want to be 20 physically, but 40 mentally.
TIMBERLAKE: I just want some respect. No, it’s not stopping, so I don’t have a choice.
NICCOL: There’s an interesting character in the movie because, even though he’s got thousands of years on his clock and his chronological age is about 105, he wants to die. There may be a possibility that, even if we could switch off the aging gene and live forever, our psychology may not be able to keep up with our biology. So, as his character says, “Mind can be spent even when your body’s not.” He’s actually immortal and wants to die. It’s an interesting thing. I think you need to go through that whole aging process.
Justin, how challenging was this film for you?
TIMBERLAKE: I look at this movie as my first real lead in a movie. Friends with Benefits is a two-hander. With this one, you wake up with my character and I’ll be one of the last faces you’ll see. It was not only physically demanding, but just mentally, a new stone to turn for me. But, it was very exciting. I was probably the most excited person on set, every day, because I love this story and I love this character. I love the idea of an ordinary man, an ordinary person, being shoved into extenuating circumstances and actually doing something through his ordinary way that is extraordinary. So, that was what was really attractive to me about this character. And, it doesn’t hurt when you have someone as hot as Amanda Seyfried to be in the movie. The crutches were a direct reflection of Andrew’s direction. He beat me down. No, I injured myself.
Andrew, did you include a lot of action, in order to make the sci-fi go down easier?
NICCOL: The point about the action is that it’s very organic to the story. People are literally running out of time, and so there are a lot of foot chases in the movie. Because you can buy things with time and earn time, we always thought, “There’s a liquor store down the road there. If you walk to the store, with your clock running down, you can afford to buy one beer. But, if you run, you can get two.” There’s a constant ticking clock, in every scene.
SEYFRIED: Did you ever feel like you added more action than you wanted?
NICCOL: No. I think it’s all organic to the story.
SEYFRIED: I think so, too.
TIMBERLAKE: I particularly love the action in this film. I grew up loving Lethal Weapon and First Blood.
SEYFRIED: I love First Blood.
TIMBERLAKE: They were action movies that were performance-based and felt more real. When it comes from the character and the situation that they’re in, I just feel like I’m with them a lot more because I want to see how they’re going to handle the situation they’re in. I don’t necessarily need to feel like I’m watching $200 million being spent on it. I want to know how it relates to the character. And, to me, the good ones really do that.
Justin and Amanda, is there more music from either one of you, in the works?
TIMBERLAKE: I have a single coming out next week. That’s a joke. I don’t know. I’m not sure. Amanda, when’s your album coming out?
SEYFRIED: I do it every once in a while. I’m not that great at it. I just like to do covers, every once in a while. If someone pays me to go into the studio, I’ll do it. But, I’m not [Justin Timberlake].