It may come as something of a surprise, but as a child, Justin Timberlake wasn’t the charming, all-singing, all-dancing package he is now; no, indeed, he was quite shy. Up next for Timberlake is the second half of his album duo: ‘The 20/20 Experience: 2 Of 2’ and his new film, ‘Runner Runner’.

Justin TimberlakeTimberlake's comeback has been emphatic

“Funnily enough,” he told Metro, “until I discovered the stage, I really was a pretty shy kid and didn’t talk a lot. I was an only child and I think I had only-child syndrome.”

At 32, Timberlake could retire a happy man, fiscally speaking, but after a break from music, in which he concentrated on, and managed to establish, his movie career, the former nSYNC star is as prominent as he ever was. It’s hard to believe that the man who helped spearhead his comeback – friend and rapper Jay Z – is over a decade older than him.

Justin Timberlake and Jay ZPartly due to his work with Jay Z

Runner Runner tells the story of an internet gambler who, stiffed, decides to take matters into his own hands and travel to Cuba to meet his adversary. There he finds a web of intrigue. And Gemma Arteton.

“This is the most challenging movie that I have ever done,” he said of the film. “If you take movies such as Alpha Dog or The Social Network, playing antagonists is a lot of fun and you can make a lot of colour out of those scenes. But being in the eye of the storm, like I am on Runner Runner, you are required to hold the whole thing together – the audience is seeing the movie through your character.”

Justin Timberlake and Gemma ArtetonTimberlake and Gemma Arteton's character get close in Runner Runner

With a double album, a bustling movie career and decades left on his entertainment calendar, it seems as though Timberlake is just getting started, but he’s not letting himself get carried away, that’s for sure. “But you can never fathom how a career is going to pan out,” he explains, “and certainly, where I am now, I really don’t want to squander this sort of luck.”

Watch the trailer for Runner Runner