|CanWest News Service|
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Somehow James Marsden has managed to escape fame's glare, but his anonymous days may be over thanks to his role opposite Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses.
In the romantic comedy, Marsden plays an ambitious yet cynical reporter who realizes a perennial bridesmaid (Heigl) -- 27 times and counting -- might be the breakout feature story that he's been waiting for, all the while never suspecting he's about to fall in love.
The role counts on Marsden's charm, which was showcased in two co-starring roles in high-profile films last year.
He played the TV dance show host in Hairspray and followed up with his well-received prince in the Disney goof-fest, Enchanted.
Before that, he was the Man of Steel's competition for Lois Lane in Superman Returns, and Cyclops in the X-Men series. You may also remember him as the guy who lost Rachel McAdams to Ryan Gosling in The Notebook.
According to most predictions, he gets the girl in 27 Dresses. But Marsden acknowledges that this isn't always the case in his movie universe. Whether spooning with Heigl, popular thanks to TV's Grey's Anatomy and last year's R-rated comedy Knocked Up, will increase Marsden's profile is anybody's guess. And that includes his.
Frankly, he's not sure he wants to be famous and doesn't pursue it. Truth be told, the father of two young kids hopes it never catches up to him.
"To me the idea of celebrity is becoming more and more unappealing," the 34-year-old says.
"But I have to use extreme caution here, because I don't want to come off as sounding ungrateful as an actor, because I love what I do."
He showed up in Los Angeles as a fresh young face straight out of Oklahoma State University.
His first job was a brief appearance in The Nanny pilot; and he then guest-starred in a string of shows that included Saved by the Bell and Party of Five and starred in Second Noah for a season.
Some movies followed, including Disturbing Behavior, with Katie Holmes, and Gossip, opposite Kate Hudson.
But it wasn't until X-Men in 2000 that industry folks took notice.
Lately, he's been doing the light comedy thing, but he's OK with that.
"I have a six-year-old boy and a two-year-old daughter," Marsden says. "So it's definitely something that I take into consideration when I am pursuing these roles."
That especially applies to his dim-witted prince in Enchanted. "I prefer to think he's simple," notes Marsden, smiling.
"He comes from a simple world where a prince and princess meet and get married the next day."
As a change of pace, the actor is in the middle of filming a sci-fi thriller with Cameron Diaz that's a great deal edgier than either 27 Dresses or Enchanted.
"The film's based on a short story called Button, Button that then turned into a Twilight Zone episode in the 1980s," he reports.
"Cameron and I play a couple who gets a box with a button on it and if you push this button, you get a certain amount of money, only somebody dies."
Not much singing and dancing in the project, but he does what's available to him and enjoys it as an actor, he insists, not a movie star.
"My wife, kids and I still fly coach -- not first-class," he says. "I think I have a certain responsibility to let my children know I am not special because of what I do, but who I am as a person."