Justin Timberlake (The Social Network) turns action star in In Time, the sci-fi action thriller written and directed by Andrew Niccol (Lord of War) and co-starring Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, and Alex Pettyfer. In Time takes place in a future in which people stop aging at 25 and then after hitting that birthday, they have only one year left to live. That is, unless they have earned more time and can buy their way into an extended lifespan. In this world, the richest people are basically immortal and those without much of an ability to earn additional hours live their lives hour-to-hour.
Justin Timberlake plays a time-poor man who is wrongly accused of murder after a wealthy stranger gives him all of his remaining hours and then kills himself. Taking Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) hostage, he goes on the run in an effort to stay out of the hands of the authorities and stay alive.
Timberlake, Seyfried, and Niccol brought footage from In Time to the 2011 Comic Con, the perfect place for discussing a sci-fi film. The trio also took the time to answer questions from the media at a small press conference. There, Timberlake and Seyfried talked about the film’s action scenes, the plot, and how it differs from Logan’s Run.
What’s the basic difference between In Time and Logan’s Run?
Amanda Seyfried: [Laughing] “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. I mean, 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, make more time, however you can steal more time, however 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. Yeah, so, I think it’s different.”
How would you describe In Time and what it has to say about society?
Justin Timberlake: “When I first read the script, I got caught up obviously in the characters. I sort of love Will’s, my character, Will’s story and how he through extenuating circumstances sort of ends up with Amanda’s character, Sylvia. But I think that it’s something that Andrew – not to embarrass him – but it is something that Andrew has an uncanny ability to do is take a subject matter like what we have and create a huge thrill ride out of it, a huge roller coaster ride out of it. And, at the same time, kind of say that this might be a reflection of somewhere where we may or may not be right now or headed very soon.”
Amanda Seyfried: “I’m good with getting older because I feel like one day I know I will love myself. [Laughing] 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, I don’t know, 40 mentally.”
Justin Timberlake: “I just want some respect. [Laughing] No, it’s not stopping so I don’t have a choice.”
Andrew 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 because 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 even though, as his character says, ‘Mind can be spent even when your body’s not,’ and so he’s actually immortal and wants to die, it’s kind of an interesting thing. So, I think you need to go through that whole aging process.”
Justin, how challenging was this film? You were on crutches for a while during the shoot.
Justin Timberlake: “This was my first real [lead]. I look at this movie as my first real lead in a movie. The one I have coming out tomorrow [Friends with Benefits], I feel is a two-hander and this one for me is 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. It doesn’t hurt when you have someone as hot as Amanda Seyfried to be in the movie.”
Andrew, do you include a lot of action in order to make the sci-fi go down easier?
Andrew Niccol: “The point about the action, it’s very organic to the story. People are literally running out of time and so there’s 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 and if you walked as you walk to the store as your clock is 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.”
Amanda Seyfried: “Did you ever feel like you added more action than you wanted?”
Andrew Niccol: “No. I think it’s all organic to the story.”
Amanda Seyfried: “I think so too.”
Justin Timberlake: “I particularly love the action in this film. I grew up loving Lethal Weapon and First Blood…”
Amanda Seyfried: “I love First Blood.”
Justin Timberlake: “Action movies that were performance-based and felt more real. When it comes from the character and 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.”
Is there more music from either one of you in the works?
Justin Timberlake: “I have a single coming out next week. That’s a joke. I don’t know. I’m not sure. When’s your album coming out?”
Amanda 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 [pointing at Justin] I’m not that guy.”
Related Link: Read the Full Production Notes for In Time