Justin Timberlake's Young 'Palmer' Co-Star 'Had No Idea' Who He Was

Justin Timberlake
Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images

Justin Timberlake

Palmer's Ryder Allen recalled on the TODAY Show Wednesday (Jan. 13) that he didn't know who his co-star Justin Timberlake was before filming together.

The pair appear on an upcoming drama film, set to be released on Jan. 29 on AppleTV+, about an incarcerated former college football star Eddie Palmer (Timberlake) who returns to his hometown and forms an unlikely friendship with a young boy named Sam (Allen).

Allen, who is 8, mused about forming a real-life bond with his "best movie friend," the pop icon formerly of *NSYNC and one of the world's best selling musicians. But he wasn't fully aware of those parts of JT's professional résumé.

"Actually, at first, I had no idea who Justin Timberlake was," he said before Timberlake jokingly interjected, "You're aging me."

But Allen appreciated everything he learned from his superstar co-star. "It was amazing working with Justin, I think, obviously. One of the best parts about working with Justin is the experience that I got with him," he noted. "All the notes, all the jokes, all the, just experience, including, I think, which is a day-to-day friendship between us. ... He's my best friend, best movie friend."

Besides promoting Palmer, Timberlake will be performing his new song "Better Days" alongside Ant Clemons on Inauguration Day  on Jan. 20 during the Celebrating America special, with Tom Hanks hosting. Demi Lovato and Jon Bon Jovi will also perform. He posted a behind-the-scenes clip of him and Clemons riffing and beatboxing in the studio while working on the song, which he described as "our way of doing what little we could to encourage everyone to stay hopeful and to keep working towards a better future."

"Between the film and the inauguration, it feels like hopefully the theme of 2021 is redemption," JT noted. "Incredibly excited. What an honor. We got the phone call to be asked for that, and I was like, 'Ugh, yes?'"

Watch Timberlake and Allen's TODAY Show interview below.