You also poke fun at having been mistaken for Chris Pine in the past with this whole arc of losing a role to him. Was that something you came up with?
Yeah, I came up with that. I kind of drew from experience as he’s the one I get mistaken for the most. Probably not now anymore, because it was back when Chris wasn’t this giant superstar and we were both up and coming and, like, interchangeable, I guess. I was like, ‘Who would this James Marsden be the most pissed to lose a role to?’
It’s funny that he’s the person you were mistaken for because whenever those polls come up about who the best Chris in Hollywood is, I often see you thrown in as a kind of spiritual Chris.
Friends of mine send me tweets from people going like “He’s Hollywood’s real Chris.” It’s Chris energy, I guess.
Does Chris Pine know about this joke in the series?
I was at a birthday party on Saturday night and he came up like, “I hear that I’m a little fixture in a Jury Duty episode, I make an appearance through your dialogue.” I’ve known him for a while and we’re not, like, best mates but anytime we see each other we kind of laugh and give each other a hug because we have this kind of playful adversary thing going on.
You obviously knew what you were getting into, but it must have been hard to set yourself up as unlikeable to someone. At one point you trash a birthday party, and in another, you clog Ronald’s toilet. How did you navigate those big, cringing moments?
It was tricky. The hardest moments were the biggest swings. Literally, in the case of flipping the cake, it was written that I would destroy that party. Like, I would pop every balloon and I would throw cake at people. But as soon as I flipped the cake, I saw Ronald hanging his head out of the corner of my eye and it broke my heart, so I had to stop there. I didn’t have it in me. And taking a dump in his toilet, [both of those scenes] were the funniest moments when I read the scripts, but when I was saddled with having to actually do it, I was like ‘I’m not sure I can do this.’ When you’re there on the day, it’s like, ‘I’m not sure I can tell Ronald that I tried to pee but there was already a massive turd in there.’ Those were moments that scared me.
Once it was all over, did you have to convince Ronald that you weren’t actually the douchebag James Marsden you’d been for the previous three weeks?
The thing I wanted to do the most was run over to him as quickly as I could. There were several hours of footage of me just being ‘Nice Guy James Marsden’ where we were chatting, so I wanted to run over to him, look him in the eye and say ‘Hey, I’m sorry and that not all of it was fake.’ The friendships, the connection we had, the laughs we shared, that was all real. We love this guy, we all fell in love with him through the process. I was checking on him for a bit after and just calling him to let him know I was there, and he said something really profound. When someone said “You didn’t think it was fake when all these kinds of crazy things were happening?” He said, “The idea that I’m living in a world that is completely fake and manufactured, that all of you are actors and for three weeks this was a fake trial? That’s so much more preposterous.”
This story originally ran on British GQ with the title “James Marsden on playing a douchebag version of himself in Jury Duty: “I wish I could tell you that I didn’t enjoy it””
Copyright : https://www.gq.com/story/james-marsden-jury-duty-interview