The second season of “Dead to Me” on Netflix started with one hell of a twist: Steve (James Marsden), who Jen (Christina Applegate) killed and then secretly buried with a little help from her friend — and his ex — Judy (Linda Cardellini), had a twin brother. The two had the same face but seemed to be worlds apart in personality — but by the end of the season they ended up sharing a more cosmic connection: Both were responsible for dangerous hit-and-runs.
“I love the perversity of the show,” Marsden tells Variety. “To me, that comedy can come from that is more of a mirror on the way we are in real life.”
As a series as a whole, “Dead to Me” began with the aftermath of Steve and Judy’s hit-and-run — although it was not known from the start that they were at fault for the car accident that took Jen’s husband’s life. Instead, the show started with her meeting Judy in a grief group, which Judy was attending to get to know Jen after the guilt from her role in the accident was weighing so heavily on her. The truth was slowly unraveled over the course of the first season. Similarly, the truth about Steve’s death gets unraveled over the 10 episodes in Season 2, and at the end of that second season, Ben learns his missing twin’s body has been found and he falls off the wagon, resulting in him drunk-driving into the side of the new car Jen just bought for her son. Thankfully this time, both Jen, who was driving, and Judy, who was in the passenger seat, lived.
Is James Marsden’s character alive or dead? A reasonable question to ask when watching him in almost anything lately: For two seasons he was repeatedly killed and brought back on HBO’s Westworld. Then on his next big TV show, Netflix’s Dead to Me, it seemed like he was finally playing a mortal human, killed off in the final episode of the first season, only to return in season two. Even his Sonic movie came back from certain doom. Perhaps the problem is Marsden is just too damn charming to kill off for good.
“I remember people saying… You got a good look. You’ll do well in this town,” he told me when we chatted in on May 13. “I never wanted to really lead with that. I wanted to be treated more as a character actor than a marquee-idol, good-looking dude with nothing else behind him.”
Ah yes, the classic challenge of being too good looking and too charming. I relate. But sure enough, Marsden’s character work is seemingly unending; in the past few years, he’s played opposite Cate Blanchett, Christina Applegate, a robot played by Evan Rachel Wood, and Sonic the Hedgehog. He knows how to stand out alongside Oscar winners just as well as he does, um, a CGI hedgehog.
The first season of “Dead to Me” ended with James Marsden’s character dead in the water — face down, eyes open, blood coming out of his head. The lying, cheating, money-laundering Steve Wood was a floating corpse in a pool, and Jen Harding and Judy Hale — played by Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, respectively — were trading panicked glances when the finale cut to black.
What really happened that night is revealed throughout the second season, which premiered Friday on Netflix. While the 10 episodes are sprinkled with flashbacks of a cold, harsh Steve, they also include scenes with his warm, semi-identical twin brother Ben, also played by Marsden.
Yes, having an actor re-enter a show as a previous character’s never-before-mentioned twin is a tired soap opera trope. But anyone who dismisses this season because of it would be missing a standout performance by Marsden, one that defies expectations after a career playing suave, powerful men.
Crayen interview Comments Off on Sonic the Hedgehog: James Marsden Talks Possible Sequel, Working With CGI, and Video Games
In case you weren’t already aware, Sonic the Hedgehog is now available to purchase on digital home video. The video game adaptation managed to take the top spot for U.S. box office for a video game adaptation before everything went a bit wonky thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and it released earlier than expected on home video with a physical release still yet to come in May. As part of the release, ComicBook.com had a chance to speak with actor James Marsden, who stars in the movie as Tom Wachowski, Sonic’s cop (human) friend.
In addition to asking Marsden about what he’d like to see in a sequel and how it feels to earn that top spot for video game adaptations, Marsden spoke with us about working against a CGI character, working with Jim Carrey while doing that, video games in general, and whether he’d be game for reprising his role as Tom in a video game. And, uh, we also spoke about Hop, the 2011 Easter Bunny movie in which Marsden also starred.
Keep reading to check out our full interview with Sonic the Hedgehog star James Marsden!
Crayen interview Comments Off on James Marsden on ‘Sonic’, the ‘Enchanted’ Sequel, and His Thoughts on ‘Westworld’ Season 3
The fun family flick Sonic the Hedgehog is now available to watch in your own home (currently available on digital from Paramount Home Entertainment, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and for rental on-demand on May 19th), and some versions even have a variety of extras that include a new animation, deleted scenes, a blooper reel, the origins of the speedy little blue character, and commentary. In this adventure, helmed by director Jeff Fowler, Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) embraces and is enjoying his new home on Earth, until he accidentally catches the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and finds himself needing the help of Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden) to save the planet.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor James Marsden talked about why he wanted to sign on for Sonic the Hedgehog, acting opposite a non-existent co-star, what stood in for Sonic on set, and whether he’d be game to do a sequel, after production picks back up again. He also talked about where things are at with the Enchanted sequel, and whether he’s watching Season 3 of Westworld while he’s having to stay at home.
Collider: This is not the only, or even the first, time that you’ve had a co-star that doesn’t actually exist, in real life. Could you ever imagined that would have happened to you once, let alone have that not be the only time that it’s happened to you?
Crayen interview Comments Off on James Marsden’s Stuck at Home Binge List
Many of us are spending this extra time at home catching up on shows we’ve long been meaning to binge-watch, movies we’ve been wanting to stream, books we’ve been meaning to read, or video games we’ve been waiting to play. And with the film industry on hiatus for the foreseeable future, that means even usually busy stars now have time to catch-up on their streaming queues and reading lists.
We reached out to Sonic the Hedgehog, Westworld, and X-Men actor James Marsden to see what he’s doing to keep himself entertained these days.
What Is the Last Thing You Finished Watching?
Crayen interview Comments Off on James Marsden Admits To Being Baffled By Sonic’s Incredible Bar Fight Scene
During Sonic the Hedgehog, while the eponymous protagonist and his human pal, Sheriff Tom Wachowski, are on the run from Dr. Robotnik, the duo end up at a roadside bar to relax a little bit and cross some things off Sonic’s bucket list. Eventually though, a bar fight breaks out, one which Sonic puts an end to using his super speed.
The Sonic the Hedgehog bar fight was reminiscent of Quicksilver’s memorable scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse, with both speedy protagonists getting into shenanigans while everything around them moved in slow motion. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with James Marsden, who played Tom Wachowski, about his time on Sonic, and when I asked what the process of shooting this particular scene was like on his end, he responded:
“Not understanding the technology and just saying, ‘Just tell me what I need to do and how to stand and how long to hold by breath and how I long I can’t blink for.’ A lot of times I’ll go in and try to understand. ‘Okay, how is this going to cut together?’ Jeff Fowler was like, ‘Just trust me. Stand here, hold this beer.’ So it was very technical, but you knew you were being part of a sequence that was ultimately going to work and be cool. It was one of those things where I was like, ’This isn’t my wheelhouse, so I’m gonna let the real nerds step in and show me how this is shot.’ Because this is definitely not something actors are used to. We’re used to trying to get scenes to come to life with dialogue and eye contact and movement, and this was definitely like, ‘Okay, you’re a pawn in this big, fun thing that they’re putting together.’ So it was cool.”
Crayen interview Comments Off on How James Marsden Feels About X-Men’s Legacy As The Movie Turns 20
This July is the 20th anniversary of the release of X-Men, a movie that not only marked the cinematic debut of the Marvel mutants, but also played a key role in popularizing superhero movies. Among the stars of the ensemble cast was James Marsden, who played Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, the eponymous team’s field leader capable of shooting optic blasts from his eyes.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with James Marsden about his latest movie, Sonic the Hedgehog, and when the conversation turned to X-Men, he noted how while he and his cast-mates knew that this movie would be unique, he never imagined that the franchise would grow the way that it did. As the actor told me:
“I think we all hoped it would become what it’s become, and we knew it had the power to with the legacy of the X-Men universe. They’ve been around since 1962, 1963? And so when we first started, it was 40 years of backstory and superfans. So we knew if we do this right, this could be something forever, for a long, long time. I’d hoped, but I did not anticipate that they’d still be making them. I mean, I thought maybe they’d make 4 or 5 of them in its success, but how many have they made now, 10? So it’s kinda crazy and really cool.”
,video Comments Off on Video: James Marsden Reads A Secret Letter From ‘Sonic’ Costar Ben Schwartz
Crayen interview Comments Off on James Marsden Has Some Advice for the MCU’s Next Cyclops
One way or another, the X-Men are on their way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s basically been set in stone since 20th Century Fox’s merged with Disney and Marvel head-honcho Kevin Fiege mentioned “the mutants” at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Which means we’ve got a whole world of casting stories ahead of us; new Wolverine, new Jean Grey, new Cyclops, the whole nine yards.
So naturally, when I sat down with the OG Cyclops, James Marsden, to discuss the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog, I also asked if he had any advice for the MCU’s future eye-beam-blasting mutant. Marsden played Scott Summers across four films and fourteen years, starting with 2000’s X-Men and for the last time in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Appropriately enough, the actor’s advice is all in the eyes. Or, lack thereof.
“The biggest challenge was that, the audience and other actors never being able to see your eyes. Definitely was a handicap in bringing a persona to the character, and an energy to the character. To a character who is also very, by nature, very by-the-books. Kind of a Boy Scout, ‘do the right thing.’ He’s a foil to Wolverine’s character, who is more fly by the seat of his pants, a little more unpredictable, and aggressive.
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