Interview from deadCENTER Film Festival 2012
James Marsden has made his name in a variety of Hollywood movies. He was Cyclops in “X-Men” and Lois Lane’s boyfriend in “Superman Returns.” He has also made his mark in romantic comedies (“27 Dresses”) and musicals (“Hairspray”). However, before he was a star, he was a kid in Oklahoma who one day dreamed that he could make it in the movies.
On June 9 in Oklahoma City, the deadCENTER Film Festival bestowed upon Marsden the honor of being one of two men to win the inaugural Oklahoma Film Icon award, along with producer Gray Frederickson (“The Godfather, Part II”). Marsden also has a new movie screening at the festival, “Robot and Frank,” starring Frank Langella. Marsden took time to talk with me at the festival about his new movie and returning to Oklahoma to receive his award.
How big is it for you to bring your new movie back to Oklahoma and show it at the deadCENTER Film Festival?
It is exciting for me because this is my home and this is where I grew up. This is also a movie I am specifically proud of. I am proud of everything that I do, but this is a unique and special movie. I think it is Frank LangeIla’s best role and I’ve worked with him before.
It’s rare that I get really excited about wanting my family to go and see a movie I am in. I sort of do a movie and then forget about it and move on. But this one is so special and has such heart. I thought of people here and my family and I wanted them all to see it.
Talk a little about doing a smaller independent movie like this in the face of the blockbusters you have been part of.
I think it is important for the business to have smaller movies like this. It is where you get unique and new, inventive ideas. When a studio spends a lot of money on a film, they don’t want to take too many gambles. On smaller independent films, you have the latitude to take a shot and do something different, and I think that is a really important thing for a film community. Film festivals like this embrace that idea.
In a state like Oklahoma, where there are legendary actors like James Garner and Wes Studi, it must be an honor to win an award like the Oklahoma Film Icon.
It’s great. I called James Garner and said “HA-HA, I beat you for the first Icon award.” I didn’t really call him but we did work together on “The Notebook.” But it’s great.
I never really expected I would be doing this as long as I have been. I feel very fortunate to have found success and continue to search for roles that are inspiring to me and I have the ability to do it. Hopefully the career will continue.
I think it is a testament to my upbringing here in Oklahoma. I’ve had a good attitude about the work, the industry, and the town. It is great to get this award. Icon award — I feel like I don’t qualify for that. I’m honored.