Justin Timberlake, who worked with Jonathan Demme on the concert film Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids, wrote a tribute to the director in an Instagram post. Demme died early Wednesday morning from esophageal cancer.
Timberlake called Demme a “master of humanity, a genius of storytelling and a generous and warm man.” “You taught me so much about life and art and about standing up for what you believe … You made me better at my craft.”
Demme and Timberlake worked on Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids to document the final stop of the singer’s 20/20 Experience Tour in Las Vegas. Prior to working on the film, Demme was a fan of Timberlake’s acting. “I was blown away by him in The Social Network – I just thought he arrived in that movie like a thrilling hurricane of a character,” the director told Rolling Stone. “I really wanted to work with him, and from that time on, I was looking for a script that’d be right for him.”
Demme later discovered he loved Timberlake’s music as well. “Does everyone realize what a magnificent voice he has?” he said. “That he has an incredible range, without being show-offy? And what he cooks up with that amazing band of his, the Tennessee Kids, is just unbeatable.”
In his Instagram tribute to Demme, Timberlake wrote, “the time I spent with you away from a camera and a stage made a better human out of me. You are truly irreplaceable.”