'Dead to Me's' James Marsden has some things to say about being the bad-guy lover

Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

A: Not because of work. But I think just innately, once you reach your mid-40s, you do start to go, "Oh, I used to be able to do that and I can't do that now." Or, "I do that now and it hurts. Oh, this is hard ... I'm slowly starting to degenerate."

It is something that you think about more as your kids start to grow up. I used to be young, dumb, confident, naive and invincible. And then you get older and you become wiser and more accepting of the realities of our journey and I think those thoughts or contemplations are also part of the human condition. Can you talk about that and the certainty of that without being afraid of it or having fear? I think we spend most of our lives trying to put fear on the back burner.

How do we take this armor off and allow ourselves to realize that it is going to come to an end? And how do we do that with grace and wisdom and compassion and everything, all that stuff. Anyway, yeah, I can go on and on about that.

Something happened recently. I had vertigo last October. Never knew what the hell that was, even though it was a real thing. I got out of the shower and I fell over. And I had to crawl to the toilet to throw up. It sounded like a severe hangover but you're like, "I have no alcohol in my system. What is happening, the room is spinning." And it spun for three days straight. It was awful.

So of course in my head, I'm like, "I have a tumor; I have six months to live," whatever. And immediately my thoughts went to the same places: "Oh, make sure the kids have the passwords to your computer. Make sure they've got your will. And so and so gets this and make sure ... " It's all about making sure the management of it all is easier for everyone else. I'm amazed sometimes how quickly your mind can go to this.

Q: Actors sometimes talk about feeling the industry limits them if they've been in a blockbuster movie, or a romance film that hits big. You've done both. Would you say it was harder after being Cyclops in the "X-Men" movies or after doing "The Notebook"?

A: I guess I feel like I'm always trying to prove myself, not because I'm misunderstood, but because my philosophy in a career like this is to just keep people guessing. You always want to feel like you're a surprise, you always want to feel like, "Oh, wow, I didn't know you could do that."

But I don't know, I guess "X-Men" was, as far as ratio of exposure -- the amount of people seeing it versus what you do in it -- you could see that movie and go, "Oh, cool, he wears glasses and shoots lasers out of his eyes. What more is underneath all that from James as an actor that we didn't necessarily get to see on this platform?" So in that regard, I guess maybe that's the one that I think most people know me from. But they know me from a very specific version of me. And it's a great version, because you're a superhero and you're playing an iconic character who is revered.

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I think that if you take your mind off maybe what people want to see or what people know you as or how you're perceived and just focus on really trying to hunt for those roles that afford you the ability to go in and do something bizarre, to do something different, to do something outside of what you're known as, that's always appealing to me to try and look for those. I know when I'm not right for something and I take myself out of it.

Q: How was it to reunite with the cast of "27 Dresses"? Would you be game for the sequel that Katherine Heigl suggested?

A: I think that Katherine's just kind of shooting from the hip 1/8and3/8 that gained some traction online, right? They're like hoping that it happens. Like 27 babies? Yeah, I'd be down for that. I look back, and I look at that as one of the more fun experiences. It's hard not to be aware of the ones that people like seeing you in.

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