Is that the time you recorded the song?
No. Between 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. is when really strong lovemaking happens. Everybody knows that. [Pause.] I think if you do SNL correctly, it gives you a chance to make fun of yourself.
I know David Fincher admired your performance on SNL,
and it was one of the reasons he thought of casting you as Sean Parker
in The Social Network. You play the devil in that film. Did you
like being the agent of evil?
I can completely justify that my character is not the devil, but yeah, I was the temptress. And that was fun. Sean Parker was the smartest guy in the room because he could spot the smartest guy in the room.
You also have some of that analytical ability—you seem
like a person who surveys the landscape and does not do anything by
It’s different now, but in the past I’ve had some accidents, for sure. I think I have to laugh about the fact that I grew up in public. All these weird stages in my teenage years are documented. Why did no one tell me how terrible some of those outfits were?
Is that why you’re trying to be extra careful now not to
be typecast, to be a different character in every film—from Sean
Parker to the romantic guy in Friends With Benefits to In
Time’s hero, who is falsely accused of murder?
Maybe. After The Social Network, I got two or three sociopaths pitched to me. I didn’t want to play that again. It’s the same for musicians—once you do a song that’s a big deal, you get pitched a similar song. But just like I didn’t want my second album to sound like my first album, I want all the characters I play to be distinct and different.
So, what’s next—country and western?
Who knows? Ray Charles did country music, and he made it his own.
Going country would not be as audacious a statement as saying
that you were “bringing sexy back.” That took courage. Did
anyone try to talk you out of that lyric?
It does seem brash. But truthfully, I didn’t see myself in that song. I wanted people to feel as if they were saying the lyrics themselves. I imagined guys and girls, and guys and guys, and girls and girls singing it to each other in Ibiza or in a club in Manhattan or at a huge open-air festival. At the end of the day, I hope it was a song that people used. Because that was always my experience with music—I put myself in the mind and movement of the artist. I don’t think Michael Jackson really thought he was “bad,” but you felt like you were bad when you sang that song.