It’s been a while since we’ve seen Justin Timberlake onscreen, let alone in a dramatic role (no, the Trolls movies don’t count). But the multi-hyphenate is flexing his acting chops again in Palmer, a new Apple TV+ drama film in which Timberlake stars as an ex-con who adjusts to life after prison, and finds himself unexpectedly caring for a gender non-conforming boy. Watch the Palmer trailer below.
Justin Timberlake has shown surprising dramatic chops since the mid-2000s, with his roles in films like Black Snake Moan and later, The Social Network. But the singer-songwriter-actor-producer is a busy guy, and it’s no wonder he hasn’t had time to really take the lead in a drama film — mostly turning up to steal scenes in the aforementioned films and Inside Llewyn Davis. He’s been a great comedy scene-stealer too, but I’ve always felt like he’s got a lot of untapped potential in the drama department since he really impressed in Black Snake Moan.
But Timberlake appears to have finally been given a vehicle that befits his talents with Palmer, a Fisher Stevens-directed drama about a former athlete and ex-con who finds himself the unexpected caretaker of a gender non-conforming child, after the boy’s drug addicted mother disappears. Apple TV+ is debuting the film written by Cheryl Guerriero, which also stars Juno Temple, June Squibb, Alisha Wainwright, and Ryder Allen.
Sidney Kimmel, John Penotti, Charlie Corwin, Daniel Nadler and Charles B. Wessler produced Palmer. Executive producers for the film include Robert Friedland, Terry Dougas, Jean-Luc De Fanti, Mark O’Connor, Paris Kassidokostas-Latsis and Bruce Toll.
Here is the synopsis for Palmer:
Former high-school football star Eddie Palmer (Justin Timberlake) went from hometown hero to convicted felon, earning himself twelve years in a state penitentiary. He returns home to Louisiana, where he moves back in with Vivian (June Squibb), the grandmother who raised him. While trying to keep his head down and rebuild a quiet life for himself, Palmer is haunted by memories of his glory days and the suspicious eyes of his small town community. Things become more complicated when Vivian’s hard-living neighbor Shelly (Juno Temple) disappears on a prolonged bender, leaving her precocious and unique 7-year-old son Sam (Ryder Allen), often the target of bullying, in Palmer’s reluctant care. In time, Palmer is drawn into a more hopeful world as he forges a connection with Sam through their shared experience of being made to feel different by those around them. Life improves for Palmer, and a romance develops between him and Sam’s teacher Maggie (Alisha Wainwright). An inspiring and unexpected journey unfolds for the three of them, but soon Palmer’s past threatens to tear apart this new life.