Justin Timberlake is not afraid of reinvention.
While other boy-band heartthrobs were still recycling the same hooks, the multitalented 30-year-old had moved on to a solo R&B career, fighting his own label to do non-bubblegum songs like "SexyBack."
Now, Timberlake has decided to let his Grammys collect dust while he makes yet another leap: pop star to movie star. "Friends with Benefits," opening today, marks the first time Timberlake's name has seen the top of a cast list.
And it won't be the last.
What's the secret to Timberlake's crossover success? No doubt he's talented, hard-working and easy on the eyes. But there's something else at play here, something rarely acknowledged in articles about JT's stylish clothes and beautiful girlfriends:
Justin Timberlake is a nerd.
That's not to say he isn't cool. He's the cool nerd, the guy who makes cool seem attainable. Remember that popular guy in high school who wasn't a quarterback or homecoming king, whose sheer likability gave him a spot at the cool kids' table? Justin Timberlake isn't so far removed from that kid.
Take a look at "The Social Network," the Facebook-origin movie that put Timberlake, The Actor, on the map. JT plays Napster founder Sean Parker, the closest thing the film has to a rock star. When he saunters into a Silicon Valley restaurant, heads swivel.