Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz have a good chat about ‘Bad Teacher’
hollywoodnews.com: If you’ve even glanced at the cover of a tabloid magazine in the supermarket checkout line, then it’s no secret that Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz were once romantically involved. But in their new movie, ‘Bad Teacher,’ the Diaz plays a gold-digging substitute who sets her sights on Timberlake’s cute new teacher, only to discover that the two of them may not be as well-suited to one another as she hopes. Hollywood News attended the Los Angeles press day for ‘Bad Teacher,’ where the two stars talked about their on screen clinch, and offered some insights into their off screen collaboration.
How fun was it to throw yourself into a character whose main goal was to get breast implants, and generally had so many terrible values?
Cameron Diaz: Completely. Because obviously if I thought that I could get somewhere with having bigger boobies I would have done it by now. But for her, it’s everything. It’s called hard economic times. Have you ever heard of this? You can’t find a millionaire the way you could three, four years ago before the crash. So it’s like a lot of work for her now. So it’s an investment. Suze Orman would have been like, ‘Girl. Five year plan.’ You know what I mean? So yeah. She’s working hard for those. She knows that to get what you want you have to have a goal. And her goal is to invest in her business and get a pair of tits.
Of course, it’s not right that she wants to find a sugar daddy either.
Diaz: None of it is. But I’m not judging, clearly. I’m not judging. But the thing about it is if we really believed this was the right thing to do we wouldn’t be making fun of it, right? So it was really fun to make fun of it because clearly, especially living in this town, we all know what it’s like to sort of come up against people who have their priorities a little screwed up and focus on the wrong things.
Have any of you had any particularly memorable teachers, be it good or bad?
Justin Timberlake: I had a teacher in seventh grade who told me I should have more realistic goals than being a songwriter and I should give up on it, because my schoolwork was suffering. And you can quote me on this directly to her: Suck it.
Diaz: I had Mr. Fujikawa in sixth grade. He used to come in after the weekends and tell us about his three-year-old son that he would spend the weekends with and how wonderful it was to have a child to pass on knowledge to and how you want to encourage them. And how to also teach them life’s lessons as he sat with his feet literally kicked up on the desk talking about how wonderful it was this weekend that his son was starting to walk. And how gratifying it was that when he took the four steps up the porch to get to the top to the front door as he got to the very top last step he would pull on the string that he had tied around his leg to bring him back down to the beginning. To help him get back up the next four or five steps. And I just thought that was the most amazing, like I laughed so hard when he told that story. Everybody else was like, ‘Ah’, and I was like, ‘That’s awesome’. Of course I can relate very well to it. but, yeah, it was very- that to me was somebody who helped form and shape me, really. Honestly.
Timberlake: I feel like these stories really explained who we are as adults.
Congratulations on creating the most memorable dry humping scene in movie history. What was involved in putting that sequence together?
Timberlake: He said putting that together. Well, I think we created the only dry humping scene ever seen in a movie.
Diaz: It was absurd.
Timberlake: I would like to say that Jake had – well, he wasn’t literally between us but figuratively he was there.
Diaz: He was our humping coach.
Timberlake: He was my humping coach. I’ve got to say there’s nothing wrong with a good jean jam. I’m serious. I don’t know why that’s funny to you guys. But also we felt collectively, the both of us, that we had a responsibility. And that was to the young people who are going to buy tickets to, I don’t know, ‘Transformers’ the second week, and go see this movie because they’re underage. It really is a public service announcement for safe sex.
Diaz: You can’t, you know, when you’ve got the denim on denim.
Timberlake: Nobody ever got pregnant with their jeans on.
Diaz: So, totally promoting that. That’s pretty much the only message that’s in the movie that we’re proud of. Other than that it’s completely- there’s nothing else. It’s just, we thought, ‘Well, you guys look. We shouldn’t just be making a movie about nothing that is of any importance or is like, you know, if we’re going to try to be role models in any way we should offer up least a jean jam.’ At the very least.
Timberlake: And it is jamming.
Did you contribute any lyrics to the song you sing in the film, Justin?
Timberlake: ‘Simpatico’, the original composition by Scott Delacorte? Yeah. It’s a special song. It’s a special song. Sorry. That was an idea that Gene and Lee and Jake kind of came to me about. And in the script there was a loose idea about the teacher band show, and Scott doing kind of a singer/songwriter thing. And I remember Jake coming to me and saying, ‘We have to do something. If we’re going to do this we have to create something that’s going to be terrible.’ And so it’s pretty obvious that I put my body on the line for comedy. Why not put my voice on the line for comedy? But honestly, yeah, the lyrics were Gene and Lee and then they brought it to me and then I just tried to create the most terrible melody that I could to it. And the mission was to make it so bad that they would not be able to market it in the trailer. So, yeah. It’s really just an extension of the character. I mean it was totally a collaboration between the writers and Jake, the director.
What’s your opinion of public education? Are you guys all a product of public education?
Diaz: Oh, I am as public as education gets.
Timberlake: Man, they’ve got to figure out a way to pay teachers more. That’s my opinion of it. They actually are like surrogate parents away from home and in doing the junket for the last couple of days, I’ve kind of come across the realization that, in hearing everyone talk about, because we’ve constantly gotten the question, ‘Have you had a bad teacher when you were younger?’ And I get why you guys ask us that because it’s a little hook with ‘Bad Teacher’. Yeah, I get it. But you keep coming across this idea about how we started talking about it and found that the teachers that we actually learned more from were the ones that were kind of like taught us life lessons more than trigonometry. And, so yeah, I me there’s such a huge responsibility and they’re underappreciated and underpaid. So that’s my opinion about teachers.
It ooks like this has become the summer for women behaving badly. How do you feel about this renaissance of successful comediennes and what’s your commitment to that sort of effort?
Diaz: My commitment to it? It’s pretty obvious. You know women have always behaved badly. I think probably worse than men. Maybe men just don’t have the stomach for it. They don’t want to see it on film because they just can’t take it. I mean any of my guy friends when I start to tell them what women really talk about and what really goes down they’re like, ‘La, la, la, la, la, la, la’. They don’t want to hear it. It’s like, plug their ears. They can’t take it. So maybe it’s just at this moment is the time for women to come. There’s a lot of those films now. I think that people are willing to sort of laugh at those things altogether now. And to know this script, this movie would have been just as hilarious with a man, a male role, you know. It being a male role. As a female, which I think is kind of great because it just goes to show that humor- that you can make something funny for everyone. And so, yeah, I think that we can find a lot of similarities in what we laugh at. I haven’t seen ‘Bridesmaids’ yet so I can’t wait to see it. I’ve been out of the country and it’s not open in England at the moment. So I actually don’t know the humor of the ‘Bridesmaids’ so I can’t really speak to that. But I think that we- I think people are just willing to take a chance. And I think the studios nowadays are willing to- formulaically we’re tired of kind of seeing the same old thing, the same old thing. And after awhile it just doesn’t work anymore. And this is a business. And we want to make some money. And we want to make things that work. And I think they’re taking a chance at different things. So that was like, you know, the worst answer in the world. But that’s cool. You’ll do something with it.
Timberlake: As a male who actually enjoys hearing those dirty things that women say, I think funny women have been around forever. Like Carol Burnett, Madeline Kahn. I mean there’s always been genius, genius female actors in comedy. I also think that we live in an age where technology has afforded a generation a lot more of a crass look at the world. The Internet is a really strange place to be. And I think the level of what we can kind of understand about brash humor mixed with all these different elements, I think with all types of movies like ‘The Hangover’ and things like that, I think we’re- people like Jake and directors who step up and say, ‘We want to push the envelope but in a way that we know can get laughs’. That always fuels the engine. But also it is great that, like Cameron said, that’s the coolest thing about this movie is that this lead role, it’s a great thing to see a female that can do it and do it as well as Cameron does it.
How tough or easy was it for the cast to fall into a comfortable rhythm and collaborate with one another?
Timberlake: Well, after the first week of rehearsal and the first orgy it all kind of just came together.
Diaz: It’s like comedy marksmen, you know what I mean? Everybody’s precision. Pull back the arrow, they take their breath, they slow down the heartbeat and then they just kind of let go and it’s like bulls eye. It’s kind of- it’s easy. You have to do that, you know. With this kind of fast paced comedy where you just kind of have to get- we’re shooting like this and we never stop. It’s like a constant. It’s not leisure time for us. We have a schedule. So it’s kind of like you have to kind of come in and just hit it. And when we would- Jake would come up to me and give me notes and then he wouldn’t say anything to Jason [Segel]. And Jason would say, ‘So just be as awesome as I was last time?’ And he was like, ‘ Yeah.’ So we didn’t have to- that cuts down time because you don’t have to give people like Jason notes because he hits the mark, the bulls eye every time. So it’s precision comedy.
Justin, it looks like you’re about to join the Five Timers’ Club on Saturday Night Live. What does that mean to you, and have you met any of the other members?
Timberlake: I’ve hosted four times. The season finale was just my fourth time. Although it does seem like more because when I’m in New York City they can’t keep me out of 30 Rock, which is probably annoying to them on some level. I grew up with ‘SNL’. It is an institution. It is part of the humor and chemistry between me and my father, who- I come from a divorced family and didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my father when I was young. And it’s something that we share that is really special to me. And growing up with that show it was just an institution. I mean I remember staying up late. I mean it was really bad parenting because I was too young to be watching some of the jokes that were on ‘SNL’ but, hey, I turned out okay. But I’m just such a huge fan of ht show. And to be honest, I’m here at this press conference because of ‘SNL’. I have no doubt in my mind about that. I owe getting a shot to be in ‘Bad Teacher’ with these genius comedians and comediennes directly to ‘SNL’ and Lorne Michaels for letting me be there and rock out with-
Diaz: Your ‘Dick in a Box’?
Timberlake: All I got. And I mean can we just say that, that is a thoughtful Christmas gift?
Diaz: It is. I think so.
Timberlake: I don’t know- I feel like-
Diaz: The smaller the bow, the bigger the package.
Timberlake: That’s true. That’s true. Yeah. Trim your bow, gentleman. But yeah. So I directly owe any opportunity that I ever get on film to be in a comedy to ‘SNL’. So I’m so thankful for that show as a kid and as an adult.
Cameron, your character does and says some horrible things. Was there any concern or effort made to soften her a little bit or make her more sympathetic?
Diaz: That was the great thing about this movie. There was absolutely no- there was not one ounce of energy spent trying to make anything about this character likeable. It was genius. It’s what I left as- I went thirty pages into the script, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m playing this character. How could I ever redeem her? There’s no redemption for her. This is a horrible person.’ Then ten pages later I was like, ‘God, I think I like her’. By the end I was like, ‘This is amazing because I don’t have to apologize.’ There’s no apologizing for this person and that’s the beauty of this script. I think what is such a breath of fresh air of why you watch it. Because usually you spend the last twenty minutes of the movie trying to apologize for the first hour and a half of it because people are afraid of just owning what it is. And in life we don’t just have an epiphany and change our entire lives. It happens but it’s not the norm. You have the sense that this person is just sort of slowing down the train to jump off so she can get- cross the platform to get back on the train going the other direction. You know what I mean? And I really appreciated that and I didn’t want to mess with that. I didn’t want to try to make her happy. She has one moment where she says to the kid, she’s got her priorities all screwed up. And there’s like, you see this sort of flash for her, huh? Okay. Like, nah. Oh, okay. But it’s not- there’s no commitment. So I didn’t feel there was any- I think the reason people like her is because, if they do at all, is because she’s honest. And people wish that they could be as honest as she is. And that they don’t have to suffer the consequences or repercussions of their actions. She doesn’t and therefore it’s kind of like she’s kind of like a hero even though she’s a totally- she should be the anti-hero.
Follow Hollywood News on Twitter for up-to-date news information.