James Marsden has had many memorable film and TV roles during his almost 30-year career – there's The Notebook, The X-Men series and Westworld, to name a few – but the actor shared with us that he turned down what could have been his most popular film yet: Magic Mike.
The 48-year-old, who is currently starring in The Boss Baby 2: Family Business, revealed to Yahoo Lifestyle he was "too scared" to go through with the role, admitting it was a "tough" decision for him.
"It was a tough one for me because I was offered the role, and I decided not to do it because it felt like something that could have been cut out of the movie," he told us. "And I was too scared that they would just cut my couple of scenes and I would still be in the movie as a pretty much naked extra, right?
"Like, that was my biggest fear, like I'm going to be walking around in a Speedo. And the two scenes that I have are going to be cut because the running time is too long. And all of a sudden it's like, 'James Marsden was in that movie, but he never spoke. He just walked around in a G string! I don't understand why?'" he joked.
"So, of course, that was my own insecurity, and Channing [Tatum] was like, 'No no, we're gonna improv some stuff we're gonna write some scenes, come up with stuff on the day,' but I was like, I come from the school of man, I need to see it on the page! But I should have been like, 'Man, what am I doing? It's [director Steven] Soderbergh. You can't go wrong with that. But whatever!"
James spoke to us about his new film The Boss Baby 2: Family Business, which is out now, and joked about why he loves doing animated films, "I don't have to shower! With voiceover, I just throw on a baseball cap and roll out of bed and show up! I mean, I'm kidding, obviously, but not kidding, right?"
He continued, "With live action like you have to spend an hour in hair and makeup and put your wardrobe on, and you have to worry about if you're making a weird face. Voiceover, you just get to go in there and distort your face in the most crazy way you can and explore all these different ranges of your voice and silliness.
"And it's just like if there's anything that transports you back to being a kid more, it's this experience. It really was like, you just get to go be silly. And emotional and like you get to, you know, kind of run the gamut through all of it but with your voice and nothing else. It's a lot it's a lot of fun."
Despite playing Alec Baldwin's brother in the film, James admitted he never got to meet the star for any of their recordings, calling the film's director and editors "master chefs" for managing to put everyone's lines together and making it sound like they were together in the room.
Before working on Boss Baby 2, James was working on The Stand, which is essentially the polar opposite kind of project, sharing he loves to mix things up and do films for himself and then something for his children to watch.
"Whatever I just finished, I want to do something completely opposite, right?" he told us. "So I always try to find a nice balance of doing things for myself and dramatic work and comedy and whatever. And then turning around and doing something for my kids that they can enjoy and I can enjoy with them. So Boss Baby 2 came along and it was like, I've seen more DreamWorks movies than any Scorsese movie in my life. I've seen more DreamWorks movies than any Spielberg movie.
"So, I'm a huge fan. My kids grew up on them, and the opportunity came along to be in this and I just jumped at the chance. It's such a great job, you're going to work with the best people that are just laughing along with you and it's just non-stop smiling, you know? Whereas you do some other dramatic work and you just like feel so emotionally drained at the end of the day you go home like, 'I'm in a bad mood.' Boss Baby 2, they had to stop and say, 'You have to go home now!'"
When asked how his kids feel about watching him in situations like the 27 Dresses bar scene where he and Katherine Heigl belts out 'Bennie and the Jets', James laughed, saying his kids enjoy making fun of him for things like that.
"Yeah, I think you'd be surprised. I think the kids, if you really have a good relationship with them, they're gonna make fun of you more than they're gonna celebrate you," he joked. "I joke, my kids are very proud of what I do. But they're also the first ones to make fun of me.
"And I remember, you know, when I was in X Men, these movies that everyone loved, and my kids are kinda like, 'Eh!'"
"You know, when they're really young, you forget that what they're seeing on screen is very real to them. So when they're young, they want you just to be dad. And my kids weren't comfortable seeing me on screen, it was just like, 'I don't like to see you different ways even though I know you're acting.' And it wasn't until they got older that they started going, 'Oh that's kind of cool what my dad does.'"
He continued, joking, "I've always said this: they're proud of me, but they're also wonderfully underwhelmed with me. But I'd rather them be that than some sort of like, fan out kids that are like, 'My dad's, so great!' I like it when they put me down, [like], 'Dad, really? You really were a little over the top in that scene, weren't you? Really went for it didn't you!' They're supposed to keep you grounded that way!"
For this reason, James is no doubt even happier he skipped out on Magic Mike, however, Channing Tatum just announced a third movie in the series, so who knows what could happen!
The Boss Baby 2: Family Business is out in cinemas now.
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