Justin Timberlake is taking on a new gig (or two) for Apple this week, with Deadline reporting that the Palmer star has signed on for a TV version of Chuck Barris’ Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind. Described by the author—best known for his role as creator of The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, and especially the raucous variety series The Gong Show—as an “unauthorized autobiography,” the 1984 book depicts Barris as both a well-known game show host…and a CIA assassin. (The CIA has denied all associations between itself and the TV producer, who died in 2017.) The book was previously adapted for the screen in 2002 by Sam Rockwell, George Clooney, and Charlie Kaufman, serving as Clooney’s directorial debut, and giving Rockwell another in a long line of charismatic assholes to play.
Which, honestly, is part of why this Timberlake casting is so strange; Justin Timberlake is many things, but “acerbic, cynical outsider who may or may not also be a hired government killer” doesn’t really fit the bill. Regardless, though, he’ll be teaming up on the project with Ray Donovan executive producer David Hollander, who’ll be taking time off his busy still-making-Ray-Donovan schedule to serve as a showrunner on the new series. And, again: “The Ray Donovan guy” isn’t a bad fit for adapting Barris’ nasty little novel/biography, but the thought of him (and Justified writer Jon Worley, penning the pilot script) running Timberlake through these paces—especially in light of Palmer, which never credibly sold its star as its titular hardened ex-con—remains extremely difficult to imagine, no matter how much money Apple spent on buying the rights to this property at auction. To be frank—and personal foibles aside—Justin Timberlake doesn’t even seem purposefully vicious enough to host The Gong Show, let alone use it as a cover for a job as an international dealer of death.
No word yet on when the series will arrive at Apple.