Black Friday has been exactly a week. And besides my qualm with the Atonement visual, I mentioned that I bought 27 Dresses and Hairspray. And what do these two movies have in common? Actor James Marsden, of course. Now in recent years, Mr. Marsden is becoming more appealing. His transition to teen fare flicks to adult roles has been remarkably interesting (and shocking, really).
I remember watching Jimmy in his first acting roles on television. Remember Second Noah or Party of Five? Probably not because his roles were minimal and not mainstream. Second Noah was about a young couple who adopt animals and stray children and (shocker!) the show was canceled after 2 seasons while he played Griffen Holbrook, Neve Campbell’s boyfriend which Jeremy London took over. And sometime during the late 90s he embodied really crappy teen roles in Gossip, Disturbing Behavior, and Sugar and Spice.
What seemed to be his breakthrough role in X-Men turned to be moderately successful for Mr. Marsden. I like the fact that he played Cyclops, one of my favorite characters, but his characterization was sidestepped for Hugh Jackman as he played Wolverine. And lest not we forget that his role as Cyclops would be the first in a slew of roles where he played the other man. The Notebook and Superman Returns are movies that represent his supporting character role where they never get the girl.
But after almost 6 years, Marsden returns better and more mature. He still plays supporting roles, but relishes the chance to do them. In the December 2007 issue of GQ Magazine, it says:
But Marsden actually considers himself lucky. Not only does he get to play the sorta weird, goofy character bits actors crave, but his performances also allow him to wink and nudge at our expectations.
That may be true, but I’m beginning to see his charm shine even more so. He’s only 35 years old, but looks more chiseled and rugged as the years have passed. He’s reminding me of Cary Grant and Clark Gable, who’s hoping Jimmy will start growing gray hair soon. It’ll look great on him. And the GQ pictures look fantastic as he shows a “timeless” debonair aura. His most recent movies have shown a lighter and comedic side. James played the singing and incredibly perfect prince charming in Enchanted and the supporting TV host, Corny Collins, in Hairspray. In 27 Dresses, well, he was delightful especially the karaoke bar scene with Katherine Heigl badly singing, (yet endearing) Elton John‘s “Benny and the Jets.” And looks like he is continuing this trend with his supporting, and mocking role in Sex Drive. Kudos, Jimmy!
We don’t have that many character actors anymore like Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams, or Thelma Ritter from the 1940s, 1950s, and the 1960s. They make the movie shine and also the leading actors. I don’t know what the future holds for good ol’ Jimmy, but here’s hoping he gains greater success as an adult “supporting” character actor. And, also hoping the gray hair starts appearing.