Welcome to JAMES MARSDEN FAN, your ultimate fan sourse for the talented and handsome American actor James Marsden. James is best known for his roles on X-Men movies, Superman Returns, Hairspray, Enchanted, 27 Dresses and TV series Ally McBeal. And he's currently starring in HBO's new TV series Westworld. Here you will find latest news, photos and videos of James. Enjoy your stay, and feel free to contact me if you've got any questions.

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Apr 6th

‘I love playing the ass’ – James Marsden on Cyclops, Sonic and his new ultimate prank show

Crayen      interview      Comments Off on ‘I love playing the ass’ – James Marsden on Cyclops, Sonic and his new ultimate prank show

Tired of being Hollywood’s No 1 guy who doesn’t get the girl, the star of everything from The Notebook to Westworld has finally found his dream role – taking a solar panel salesman for a $100,000 ride in Jury Duty

In Jury Duty, an inspired new docu-style comedy series that blurs fact and fiction, James Marsden plays an obnoxiously awful caricature of himself who boasts about auditioning for a soon-to-be-disgraced director, throws a hilarious tantrum at a birthday party and gets involved in a bizarre sex act known as “soaking”. Marsden stars alongside Ronald Gladden, very much the Truman in this blend of The Truman Show and The Office, and the two first encounter each other as they’re about to enter a jury room, with Gladden eventually twigging that he recognises Marsden from his X-Men role as Cyclops. Marsden then mentions his recent part in Sonic the Hedgehog. “Oh, I didn’t see that,” says Gladden. “I heard it’s a really bad movie.”

Marsden, the real Marsden, gives a hoot as he finishes telling me this story. “That’s comedy gold,” says the actor, who also played android gun-slinger Teddy in Westworld, and the poor guy Rachel McAdams dumps at the end of The Notebook. Marsden, it soon transpires, likes nothing better than getting a laugh at his own expense. We’re meeting at a fashionable hotel on the Sunset Strip, the actor’s LA base since moving to Austin, Texas, during the pandemic. He is still boyishly handsome at 49, all piercing blue eyes and cheekbones that could cut glass, but he insists that beneath the leading man looks, he’s a clown at heart. “I love playing the buffoon and the ass,” he says. “Someone who thinks they’re great at something but are clearly not. I’d much rather do that than play James Bond.”

Jury Duty’s big twist is that Gladden is a real-life member of the public: a solar panel salesman from San Diego who has no idea he is taking part in a fake trial played out by actors. Each day was loosely scripted with increasingly outlandish scenarios, but no specific dialogue. When he was approached, Marsden leapt at the chance to test his improv skills. “I was excited by the concept,” he says. “I wanted to step into that world.” What he wasn’t prepared for was spending weeks messing with his co-star’s reality. “It was important to me that this wasn’t a prank show,” he explains. “We were creating a hero’s journey where hopefully, by the end, you have this Twelve Angry Men moment where we’re hoisting him on our shoulders.”

Fortunately Gladden rises to the occasion, emerging as an empathetic yet guileless centre of calm even as the absurdity around him ratchets up. He’s eventually rewarded with a $100,000 prize for taking it all gamely in his stride, including being blamed for a comically oversized turd he thinks his new celebrity pal left in the toilet bowl. “He took responsibility for the shit!” laughs Marsden. “Somebody else could have been like, ‘Fuck you, dude!’ He really was a champ.”

Marsden is also full of praise for his fellow cast members, who pull the whole thing off without ever breaking character. Unlike most of them he wasn’t trained in improv, but says he picked up pointers playing Ron Burgundy’s nemesis Jack Lime in Anchorman 2. “What I learned from Will Ferrell and those guys,” he says, “is how unselfish they were. The good improv artists are the ones who set their friend up. It’s not about being the funniest person in the room.”

Growing up, Marsden longed to make people laugh. Born Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 1973, he first appeared on TV at 16 after being recruited by a local news station as an apprentice anchor. Around the same time, Saturday Night Live came to town on the hunt for new cast members. Marsden auditioned, unsuccessfully. “That sort of thing was my way into the performing arts,” he explains. “I had Eddie Murphy standup bits memorised. I never looked at myself as Robert De Niro.”

After dropping out of a degree in broadcast journalism, Marsden took himself to Hollywood to try his luck. He quickly racked up credits in sitcoms such as The Nanny and Saved By the Bell: The New Class, but when his major breakthrough came it was as laser-eyed mutant Cyclops in 2000’s X-Men. He brought gravitas to the do-goody superhero, but never quite felt at home. “That’s as close to a James Bond character as I’ve played,” he says. “But I’d rather have been goofy!”

Even by the time of X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006, Marsden still wasn’t convinced he was the right fit. “I was riding this Harley and I was upset that I’d lost Jean Grey,” he recalls, referring to the character with powerful telekinetic powers. “I parked the Harley and walked away. Brett Ratner, the director, goes, ‘Cut! Do it again with more swagger.’ I do it again. Evidently, I don’t look super cool, as he goes, ‘Do it again – and walk like you just got off a Harley!’” Marsden lets out a self-deprecating snort. “I just remember feeling, ‘I’m not sure I’m this guy.’”

For a time, Hollywood seemed to agree. There were a run of films where Marsden played “the other guy”, the one who doesn’t get the girl. In Superman Returns, he was Lois Lane’s ill-fated boyfriend. Most famously there was Lon Hammond, the wealthy suitor who loses out to Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. Marsden initially wasn’t sure about the weepie favourite. “I remember thinking, ‘Is this just going to be a soap opera?’ Then I stepped on set and realised all the people involved were top, top level talent. We weren’t doing a sappy romance. Everyone was really raw. That’s why it worked.”

Marsden’s gracious supporting performance won him many fans, including one who inadvertently helped him land a role in the film version of Hairspray in 2007. Sat in a New York bar for a meeting with its director Adam Shankman, Marsden felt a tap on his shoulder. “It was Julia Roberts,” he says. “I’d never seen her before in my life. She said, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt but The Notebook is my favourite movie – and you’re so good in it.’ I just leapt out of my chair and gave her a hug. I remember Adam going, ‘I think you got the part!’”

The following year saw Marsden at his charismatic best in the romcom 27 Dresses, giving an endearing performance that peaks with him and Katherine Heigl downing shots and drunkenly dancing on a bar to Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets. “It was going to be Brown Sugar,” remembers Marsden, but the Stones classic proved problematic. “It was tough to get the song cleared,” he recalls, “in terms of what the studio would pay for. Maybe it was a blessing we couldn’t afford it – not that Elton John’s inexpensive! I remember going, ‘What are we dancing to? Does this have the energy we want?’ At first it’s just plunk, plunk, plunk. It ended up being the perfect song. Still, to this day, if I’m ever in a bar, frequently I’ll hear plunk, plunk, plunk – and then the shots come over.”

In the years since, Marsden credits have roamed across genres, from family-friendly fare (Hop, Enchanted, two Sonic films) to psychological thrillers (Straw Dogs), action flicks (2 Guns) and sitcoms (30 Rock, Party Down). Arguably his most high-profile role to date was on Westworld, the dystopian sci-fi epic that was unceremoniously cancelled by HBO last year ahead of its fifth season. “That was a bummer,” he says. “I’m not going to speak to the economics of the business and all that, but with something that’s so enjoyed, celebrated and revered, you want to do right by the fans and wrap it up the way you want to. I was disappointed, but you have to move forward.”

Marsden’s about to play TV fitness guru Jack LaLanne in Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story, before changing tack for a more dramatic role in noir thriller Knox Goes Away, directed by Michael Keaton. “He epitomises everything I want to achieve,” says Marsden. “The guy in Spotlight is the same guy who played Beetlejuice? I love that!”

Marsden delights in the fact he seems similarly hard to pigeonhole. “I like surprising people,” he says. “I want to be a character actor. I don’t need to take the lead.” If this versatility means some people aren’t quite sure where they know him from, he isn’t too bothered. “I wouldn’t have said no to overnight success,” he says. “But being catapulted into superstardom comes with its own challenges. I’m the guy who’s been in everything.”

Jury Duty will be available to stream on Amazon Freevee from 7 April

Source: The Guardian

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