Is James Marsden a sketchball? Or is he an okay guy who doesn’t have much of a public profile? He sort of reminds me of Chris Evans before Evans became Captain America – Evans and Marsden had the same kind of career trajectory and I would guess that they were up for the same parts too. Anyway, I usually don’t pay that much attention to Marsden, but I read his 20 Questions with Playboy and I came out of it completely charmed. He’s a funny guy and he seems like he’s pretty grounded and low-key. It’s interesting. Some highlights:
His part in Anchorman 2: “X-Men fans may be let down, but Anchorman 2 is the first movie in my career I’ve wanted to see after I finished it. I tested for the role of Brian Fantana in the original and was bummed I didn’t get cast. In this one I play Will Ferrell’s nemesis, a rival anchor named Jack Lime. It’s 1980, at the start of the 24-hour-news era, and Ron Burgundy is moving from San Diego to New York. I’m an obsessed Anchorman fan… [it is] one of the greatest comedies of our time.”
His favorite celebrity encounter: “There’s a place where you can ride horses under the Hollywood sign and then go to a Mexican restaurant. Everyone gets drunk on tequila and rides the horses back. Great idea, right? Anyway, Fabio was on the ride with us, and I remember thinking, This town is so f–king awesome.”
Meeting Harrison Ford, his idol: “I did the last season of Ally McBeal, and it was right when Harrison was starting to date Calista Flockhart. I had become friends with her, and one night she said, “Come to dinner with me and Harrison.” I’m like, “Me, you and him?” It turned out to be a small group of us, thankfully, but I ended up as her wingman. We had dinner someplace in Brentwood and then went back to his house. He put music on and made everybody drinks. He was giggly and goofy around her but pretty aloof with the rest of us. I kept thinking we should leave the two of them alone, but Calista was like, “Don’t leave, don’t leave, don’t leave.” I’m making him sound like a rapist, but he was very hospitable. She was just really nervous. Anyway, we had more drinks, he played more music, and then at some point he gave me a look that said, “Okay, you’ve got to get the f–k out of here.””
He never gets the girl in his movies: “It’s not by design. I guess I just have a look that says “third wheel.” I have a long history of weird relationships onscreen. I once date-raped Mayim Bialik on a very special episode of Blossom.”
His luck with women in real life: “Hit and miss. When I moved to L.A. the women were so aggressive and liberated it almost scared me. But I was also like, Bring it on. I dated for a bit, but then shortly after I turned 20 I met a woman and got married. Now I’m single with three kids. People try to set me up, but it feels strange to go on a date. I guess at some point I’ll just have to nut up.”
On the rumors that he’s father of January Jones’s baby: “There’s so much stupid talk out there. I think that came from somebody thinking we were both in X-Men so it must be true. Every time I see January, she’s like, “Hey, father of my baby.””
Whether he and Halle Berry will be in X-Men: Days of Future Past: “People get so excited about the convergence of the two casts and all the possibilities. But what it means is Halle and I were on a plane together, which has happened a few times, actually. The first time we flew together she was eating out of a huge bag from Burger King. I just sat there watching, thinking, I love you, Halle Berry.”
His X-Man character: “Cyclops is a tricky character because his power is so weird. I mean, putting his finger to his ear? It’s not all that spectacular. There’s not a lot of action to that. I was able to do a minor fight scene in the second X-Men, which was cool. But fans still come up and say, “Cyclops kind of got shat on.” I agree. The character is a little bit of a stiff Boy Scout.”
He’s cool with chick flicks: “What’s funny is guys coming up going, “Hey, man, you’re in my favorite movie of all time.” I’m thinking X-Men or whatever, and they’re like, “The Notebook. I was bawling at the end.” Like dude dudes, you know? Good for you, man! That’s great.”
On sex scenes: “People think, Oh my God, that must have been so great. I just find sex scenes uncomfortable. I’ve done scenes with women who were topless, and you’re hyperaware of not staring at their chests. You’re never thinking, Wow, this is really exciting. You just think, Wow, how can I reassure this actress I’m not a total perv?”
Guest starring on 30 Rock: “I just let her be the man in the relationship. Sometimes you have to let the woman be the guy, and Liz Lemon makes that easy.”
Um, isn’t that one of the BEST Harrison Ford stories ever? And I love that Marsden was friends with Calista and that he would agree to be her wingman on a date with Harrison Ford? How awesome is that story? He also dishes about working with Frank Langella and he repeats a filthy joke Langella always tells. Marsden also says that if he wasn’t working, he would just do fantasy football all the time and he admits that saying that out loud makes him sound like a loser. Basically, what I’m getting from this interview is that James Marsden is actually really funny in real life and that I should pay more attention to him.
Photos courtesy of WENN.