Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel, “Bad Teacher” – EXCLUSIVE

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: If romancing Cameron Diaz’s “Bad Teacher” was a course, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel would earn a collective “F.” But when it comes to their interview skills on behalf of the filthy summer comedy of the same name, the duo also receives “Fs” … for “Funny.”

During a recent press event in Los Angeles, we sat down with Timberlake and Segel to discuss horrible teachers, stealing ideas, the early days of “Freaks and Geeks,” the Apatow school of comedy and so much more. Read on, students.

HollywoodNews.com: Cameron’s a pretty awful teacher in this film. I’m giving you guys the opportunity to call out the worst teacher you had. Just let them have it, right here and right now.

Jason Segel: Wow. I will not mention this person by name, but I was accused of plagiarism in high school by a teacher who did not believe in my intellectual capabilities. And now I am a professional writer!

Take that!

JS: Yeah!

Have you heard from her since?

JS: No, no. But it’s like, “Way to go, anonymous teacher. This is how I make my money now,” you know?

And she probably tells people the story, too. “Hey, do you know that guy in the Muppets trailer? I called him a plagiarist!”

Justin Timberlake: [Laugh] And he also wrote that movie.

JS: Or did he?

JT: Right, right! [Laughs] She’s still like, “Or did he really write these things?”

Justin, there’s a tone in the movie that’s so optimistic to try and counter Cameron’s negativity.

JT: Yeah, I think that my character, Scott Delacorte, is a pretty optimistic guy. I think he’s agreeable, to say the least. It’s obvious that this is a comedy. We’re not trying to make any political statements here. Or are we? [Laughs] But it’s really a testament to the writing because when you first read the script, each of the characters are so specific and so fleshed out, which I feel like was on purpose. So for me, I thought it was a lot of fun to play with the subtlety of him to see how possibly weird I could make him.

I think we’re also still trying to figure out Jake Kasdan as a director, so tell me what kind of wiggle room he gives you guys in scenes to figure out what’s funny and how far you should go with a joke.

JS: Well, I’ve known Jake for coming up on 15 years now. He directed the pilot of “Freaks and Geeks,” which was my first TV show. He’s part of the [Judd] Apatow school of letting people improv. I think one of the things that we realized in our group is that half of the work is done in the casting, and then you trust the actors you’ve hired to embody these characters, and you give them leeway to be as funny as they can possibly be. You can imagine a line that someone will say funny, but they can do it in a way that’s much funnier than you could have pictured. So Jake is very much a member of that school.

“Bad Teacher” will be in theaters on June 24.


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