March 13, 2000 12:00 PM

>Justin Timberlake

‘N Sync’s Justin Timberlake has no illusions about his TV movie debut in Model Behavior, airing March 12 on ABC. “It wasn’t Shakespeare,” concedes Timberlake, who plays a teen supermodel. “I’m not worried about what the critics say about my acting, because it’s something I like to do for fun.”

Model’s Toronto shoot wasn’t all fun for the Mickey Mouse Club alum, who nervously weathered his first-ever kissing scene, with Maggie Lawson (who plays two lookalike teens). “Luckily we nailed it right away,” he says, “so I didn’t have to keep doing it.” As for any real-life lip-locking, Timberlake, 19, dismisses tabloid reports linking him with Britney Spears. “At first it was a bit weird to see your face there every week, dating some new girl,” he says. “But now it’s just funny.”

After a summer tour promoting ‘N Sync’s next album, No Strings Attached (due out March 21), he will return to acting, this time with his singing brethren in a still unscripted film. “We don’t want it to be ‘N Sync World, like the Spice Girls,” he says. “We don’t want to play ourselves. That’s just cheesy.”

Even if his acting career takes off, don’t look for Timberlake to get out of Sync. “Music is where my heart is, and with ‘N Sync,” he says. “I’ll always come back to that.”

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