James Marsden explains his appearance in the second season of Dead to Me

Mild spoilers for Dead to Me up until about episode 2 of season 2
James Marsden was on The Ellen Show to promote Dead to Me, the second season of which is available on Netflix now. Those of you who have seen it know what I’m referring to in the title! He was looking so cute with his hair all grown out and his face was a little fuller too. He said he started off the lockdown by giving himself a schedule and plan, but that soon went by the wayside and now he’s just binge watching Schitt’s Creek and eating ice cream. I could relate to that so much. James also revealed how he got a role on the second season of Dead to Me despite the fact that his character died at the end of the first. He called the show’s creator, Liz Feldman, to wish her well and ask if his character could survive. She wrote in a role for him as his dead character’s twin. Is that how charming James Marsden is, that he can convince a showrunner to write him in as his own goofy twin? He even admitted it was like a soap opera plot! He’s getting the most headlines for saying that Julia Roberts got him a role in Hairspray, but that’s not how it happened. He made it sound like she just said something nice about him, but that he already had the part.

On how he’s doing in lockdown
I had big ideas about what I was going to do with my day. I actually wrote down a whole daily schedule, “Wake up at 8, have an hour of meditation, eat something healthy. 11 go for a walk, social distance.” That lasted for about a week or two and then I realize that worked really well as toilet paper. Now it’s like ‘how fast can I get through a pint of ice cream.’ Schitt’s Creek I’m catching up on. It’s brilliant. Catherine O’Hara is the Meryl Streep of comedy.

On his encounter with Julia Roberts early in his career
I was sitting down with Adam Schenkman, the director [of Hairspray], Craig Zadan and Neil Meron [producers] at the time at an empty restaurant off Broadway in New York City. We were just talking about, potentially me playing the role of Corny Collins. In the middle of the interview I had a tap on my shoulder. It was Julia Roberts. She said ‘I’m sorry I didn’t want to interrupt but you’re in my favorite movie, The Notebook. I love what you do in the film and congratulations on it.’ Adam [said] ‘if you didn’t have the job already, I think that sort of seals it.’

On his role in the second season of Dead to Me
At first I was like ‘oh a twin, the kind of classic soap opera trope. Can we pull this off?’ I called Liz [at the end of the first season] and said ‘congratulations on the success, is there any way I can survive a head trauma drowning? Is there any way this guy survives this?’ We laughed about it and she emailed me back about two weeks later and said ‘I know you’re kidding but what about bringing you back as a twin brother?’ I was all for it. I know it’s kind of a silly concept, but I like how Liz leaned into the soapy element of it. It was fun.

[From Ellen on YouTube]

This reminds me to just ask more people for things. Motivational speakers always tell you just to contact people and ask for stuff and that’s hard for me! As for James’ new character, I stopped watching Dead to Me right around the time he showed up, but as I’ve mentioned before it was more about how much the characters were drinking.

I wonder who James is quarantined with. James, 46, has been dating a 31-year-old British musician named Edei since 2015. He has three children with two different women: son Jack, 18, and daughter Mary James, 14, with ex-wife Lisa Linde, whom he was married to from 2000 to 2011, and son William Luca, 6, with ex-girlfriend Rose Costa. Edei looks young, but she’s over 30 now and they’ve been together for quite a while. James keeps his life very private, doesn’t he? Maybe he also benefits from the fact that he’s at the perfect level of fame to get work and be recognizable, but not to draw a lot of interest in his personal life. He could change that if he wanted to. His girlfriend does post about him on Instagram, and they look really sweet together. He poses with her at a lot of events too.

Here’s that interview!

Embed from Getty Images



Photos credit: Netflix and Getty

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14 Responses to “James Marsden explains his appearance in the second season of Dead to Me”

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  1. Busybody says:

    As a fundraiser for a nonprofit, I totally agree with your point about asking more people for stuff! The trick is to show them how enthusiastic you are about what you’re asking for! I learned that from my 5-year old: if you prime the audience by making them feel some emotion (happiness, pride, etc.) they are much more likely to support you. “I love you, Mama, it was so fun when we ate ice cream at the beach last week. We should have ice cream again!” is a lot more enticing than, “I want ice cream.”

  2. Mireille says:

    I always found James to be very pretty boy, prom king, football player type. I once walked past him and Rachel McAdams on the streets in Chelsea NYC. They were in costume (I’m thinking they must be filling some Notebook scene??? I never watched that movie so don’t know.). He’s very handsome and she’s very beautiful (I was struck also on how tiny petite she is). Anyhoo, I’m surprised he has not had many more recognizable roles. I thought he was miscast as Cyclops, but he seems to do well with comedic roles.

  3. Storminateacup says:

    He’s adorable and funny, really enjoyed his character in Dead to Me. I also agree about the drinking. It seems every show/movie I watch has someone coming home to crack open a bottle of wine, at first I thought it was product placement but no sign of specific brand. It must be a Class/lifestyle statement about the character perhaps.

  4. lucy2 says:

    I’ve always liked him as an actor, so I was glad to see him back in Season 2, even if it was goofy. The show is basically a high quality soap with great performances, and I mean that in a good way, so it worked.
    It’s odd he’s never been a “bigger star” but maybe he works the amount that he likes.

  5. Dee Kay says:

    Love James Marsden. Love love love his playing the “nice” twin of the a–hole dude he played in season 1. Dead to Me season 2 was terrific.

  6. megs283 says:

    I’ve had a crush on him since Second Noah!

  7. Marietta58 says:

    I just want to say that love him, he’s awesome, but… I don’t like the fact in the show that they made the twin an alcoholic and then he relapses and they treat it like it’s nothing. Very disappointed in that.

  8. Ashley says:

    I mostly remember him from Disturbing Behavior and Gossip. He was in teen movies when I was like 10. He’s always been one of those weird actors that works consistently (remember him in the Nanny?) but has never been huge outside of that. It’s weird. I do remember the baby drama with the ex. She was a one night stand I believe and that was the first time that his private life ever came out in gossip circles. Or he cheated on his wife with the jump off? I can’t remember but it was pretty scandalous for someone who was never in the papers.

    Anyhow he is adorable and he seems like a nice guy though. Maybe that’s why he’s lasted so long on so little press. I didn’t like the twin angle in Dead to Me. It felt really soap operay which was weird because the show didn’t have that vibe at first. But I don’t mind seeing him on screen. Even at 50 or whatever he’s still got it. I so would

  9. McMom says:

    I first noticed him when he played the first Griffin in Party of Five. He had a very sexy scene with Neve Campbell. I think they were just talking, but he oozed confidence and it was hot. I’ve seen him in a few things and he’s always very pretty, but Griffin was his sexy highpoint.

  10. Lisa says:

    He’s a really great actor! The roles he played on Dead to Me were so different over the two seasons. You really couldn’t confuse the twins.

  11. Granger says:

    I first saw him in Enchanted and … well, I was enchanted. He seems so self-deprecating and funny. And the man can sing! Which I think is very sexy.