Justin Timberlake has just discovered that Hell may hath no legal fury like a documentary director scorned.
The former NSYNC member is being sued in federal court by long time music video helmer John Urbano over a film about Timberlake’s blockbuster The 20/20 Experience album that has never seen the light of day. Under a profit-sharing plan initiated supposedly by Timberlake, he and advertising vet Urbano would film the docu under the radar and bring it to market along with the release of the long-awaited album.
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Literally, the definition of a win-win for all sides if executed according to plan.
That was the plan.
Yet, even though the completed film moved the singer to “tears,” according to the filing, WME repped Timberlake’s interest in taking it further “faded” as 20/20 Experience, his first solo album in several years, took off.
Urbano is alleging that the Trolls star bilked him out of around $2.5 million, which is the Ohio-based estimates he would have been paid if the documentary had been a straightforward for hire deal. Instead, with the exception of $20,000 right at the start of filming in 2012 and some expenses, the One Direction collaborator and Keith Urban director alleges he has seen bupkis from Timberlake.
“Instead of fulfilling his obligations to the joint venture, Mr. Timberlake has failed to take any steps to promote, market, and sell the Making of the 20/20 Experience,” claims the breach of contract complaint from Urbano over the nearly decade old project. “Mr. Timberlake has increasingly distanced himself from the project and his partner — often using a network of agents, managers, and handlers to interface with Mr. Urbano,” the LA-filed document adds.
As well as financial compensation, Urbano wants a court order to hand all rights to the Making of the 20/20 Experience flick to him. Reps for Timberlake and his Tennman Entertainment Inc. did not respond to request for reaction to the lawsuit.
For those of you who may have forgotten, the chart-topping and Jay-Z featuring The 20/20 Experience came out in early 2013. A bit of a musical comeback for the performer, the record proved a massive hit for Timberlake, as well as receiving a fair dose of critical acclaim. A double-platinum success, The 20/20 Experience also snagged two Grammys, a 2013 American Music Award and a quartet of wins at the MTV Video Awards that same year.
Since then Timberlake has put out two more albums, 2013’s The 20/20 Experience – 2 0f 2 and 2018’s Man of the Woods. Neither were as successful as the first 20/20 album. In fact, Man of the Woods was certified platinum until September 2021 – over two and a half years after it was released.
More recently, having starred in the Fisher Stevens-directed drama Palmer last year, Timberlake has the crime thriller Reptile from long time video director Grant Singer set to debut on Netflix later this year. Alicia Silverstone, Michael Pitt and Benicio Del Toro co-star in the feature debut from Singer, who co-wrote the script.
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