Conner In 'Popstar' Isn't Based On Justin Bieber, No Matter How Similar They Might Seem
Get ready to meet your new favorite singer, Conner4Real, the star of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, a mockumentary spoof from The Lonely Island. In Popstar, Andy Samberg plays Conner4Real, the king of pop music known for his cocky attitude and hit singles like "I'm So Humble (feat. Adam Levine)" and "Finest Girl (Bin Laden Song). Based on the trailer and early photos from the movie, it's easy to see a connection between Conner4Real and Justin Bieber. Both are white men with tattooed arms and a fondness for tank tops; both have been musicians since they were infants; and both have starred in their own "documentaries" — Justin Bieber: Never Say Never does sound an awful lot like Never Stop Never Stopping, doesn't it? With all these similarities, it's impossible not to wonder if Popstar is based on Bieber, and yet, The Lonely Island has not mentioned the Biebs as the inspiration for Conner4Real.
Popstar might look like a flat out spoof of the singer, but while Samberg admitted that the movie was somewhat inspired by Bieber, it was also inspired by a whole host of musicians and celebrities. "There are a few direct Bieber references," Samberg said in an interview with E! News. Though he added that the trailers made Popstar "seem a little more Bieber-heavy than it is." In that same interview, Jorma Taccone, who co-directed with Akiva Schaffer, confirmed that the film was also inspired by Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Drake, and Macklemore — something reflected in the track list of the official Popstar soundtrack. (The third track, "Equal Rights (feat. P!nk)," for example sounds suspiciously Macklemore-esque.)
Schaffer expanded on the multiple pop culture inspirations for Conner4Real, telling Nerdist, "There are moments where he's magic on stage where he's more like Katy Perry shows or even Taylor Swift... And then he also sings a lot, which is kind of like Drake ... and also has a lot of pseudo-political things where he thinks he's like really intelligent, like Macklemore with his rants."
Despite their best efforts, it's difficult to see Popstar as anything other than a direct take on Bieber's larger than life persona, and recent downfall in the press. In the past few years, viral videos showing Bieber urinating in a mop bucket in the back of a restaurant and winking during a deposition after his bodyguard was accused of roughing up a photographer have given the pop star a bit of a bad boy reputation, similar to Conner4Real's persona.
Still, Taccone told The New York Times that the Lonely Island has "a very nice relationship with him," so it's unlikely they intended the movie as a direct blow to the star. In fact, Bieber even appeared in the group's 100th Digital Short for Saturday Night Live. In fact, after that NYT interview ran with the headline "Justin Bieber, They're Coming For You," The Lonely Island responded on their official twitter account, writing, "For the record: We love [Justin Bieber]" along with a photo of the article with the words "Not Really" written on it. "Like our music, our movie isn't a spoof of any one person but rather pop culture at large. We hope he loves the movie cause we [heart] him," they added.
Bieber did not respond publicly to the tweets, and only time will tell whether or not he'll go see Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping with the rest of us. Here's hoping he has a good sense of humor.
Images: Universal Pictures