Justin Timberlake previews ‘Runner Runner’ performance

Alex Burnham, Reporter

The year 2013 is an auspicious one for Justin Timberlake.

After the release of his third and fourth studio albums, respectively titled “The 20/20 Experience” and “The 20/20 Experience 2 Of 2,” Timberlake premieres his feature-length film “Runner Runner” on Oct. 4.

The former ‘N Sync singer joins Ben Affleck and Anthony Mackie in a cinematic thriller based on the underground world of electronic gambling. Affleck, portraying magnate Ivan Block, suckers Richie Furst (Timberlake) into working for him in Costa Rica. However, Richie eventually discovers the truth behind his benefactor’s illicit wealth.

At this point, the FBI contacts Richie in an attempt to overthrow Block’s immense empire, and they coerce Richie into working with them as an inside man.

The plot then becomes a juxtaposition of gambling between the government and the tycoon for whom Richie works. He must outwit both the FBI and his boss to end his endeavor safely.

Timberlake and Mackie answered questions about “Runner Runner” in an interview through a Google Hangout. The conversation evidenced the pair’s excitement for the film.

“I loved the idea of Richie, this character who’s a good guy. He’s trying to do the right thing, but he’s got himself into a hole,” Timberlake said. “You know, I identify with a lot of things about him.”

Mackie said he liked his character not because he identified with him, but because he was able to perform a new role.

“For me, it was more so I enjoyed the ability to really just push Justin around,” Mackie said. “My character is such a bully in this movie, and I’m never given the opportunity to grow out my facial hair and look crazy and sweaty and smack up white dudes. So, when I’m given that opportunity, I go for that one hundred percent.”

Though they savor their respective roles for separate reasons, Mackie and Timberlake create a dynamic synergy that underscores the movie’s thematic relevance and makes characters approachable.

“You can track the characters and put yourself in their position throughout the movie,” Mackie said.

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Twitter: @afburnham

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