James Paul Marsden is American actor and model who gained world fame thanks to the role of Cyclops in the X-Men film series, as well as Neal Oliver in the thriller Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road.
Actor James Marsden grew up in a large family and had four siblings. The boy was born on September 18, 1973, in the provincial town of Stillwater, where he spent his childhood. James’ father is a professor of animal sciences and industry, and his mother is a nutritionist. At first, the parents lived well, but then the family relationships fell apart. When Marsden was nine years old, the parents divorced. The father brought up the children.
After graduation from high school, the young man decided to study journalism and entered the faculty of broadcast journalism at Oklahoma State University. However, after studying for a few years, James Marsden became fascinated with an acting career and began to attend drama classes. The ambitious young man understood that he had more opportunities to pursue this career in Los Angeles. James packed and moved to the city, where he began a new period in his biography.
James Marsden was lucky. The tall (5.84 ft. (178 cm) man with a right appearance attracted the attention of the directors of the series The Nanny. The young man was offered to audition for the sitcom and was soon cast. The series was a successful start for James. By the age of 21, Marsden had already played in the film No Dessert Dad, till You Mow the Lawn, and by the age of 25, the man had often starred in TV shows.
These are Bella Mafia, Ally McBeal, Search and Rescue, Blossom. James portrayed the son of the title characters in the comedy No Dessert Dad, till You Mow the Lawn. In 1994, Marsden appeared in the family melodrama Party of Five about children who lost their parents in a car accident. James also joined the cast of the fantasy TV series Touched by an Angel. The actor could star in the horror The Outer Limits.
Marsden has also experienced failures during his acting career. James Marsden auditioned for the 1996 thriller Primal Fear which was a box office success, but it starred Edward Norton. Two years later James was not approved for the role of a bartender in Studio 54.
The drama Disturbing Behavior about troubled teenagers and the film Gossip became significant in the actor’s life. In Gossip, James Marsden had to play a well-groomed rich man. The story tells about the meanness of students who spread a rumor about a girl. It spreads quickly, grows more and more detailed. James Marsden could show the character of the villain on the screen convincingly.
The actor became world-famous in 2000 when Marsden appeared as Cyclops in the successful project X-Men. James Caviezel was initially cast in this role, but he refused to shoot. Then the director approved James Marsden. The actor was lucky because his Cyclops appeared in all parts of the X-Men film series.
The next prominent movie was the thriller Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road, in which James portrayed Neal Oliver. Marsden’s hero fell in love with the woman that he had dreamt about, quitted his job, broke up with the bride, left the house, and went on a journey. He is confident that he will meet the woman of his dream at the end of the trip. After this role, critics and viewers started talking about the new talents of the actor.
Other works during this period include The Notebook (2004), 10th & Wolf (2006), and The Alibi (2006). Following his breakthrough in comic book films, Marsden went on to star in various genre films, including Hairspray (2007), which was a critical and commercial success and won many awards for its ensemble cast. As Corny Collins, he sang two songs for the film’s soundtrack which has been certified Platinum by the RIAA.
He subsequently appeared in the films Sex Drive (2008), The Box (2009), and Straw Dogs (2011). Marsden has also had starring roles in family-friendly films such as Enchanted (2007) and Hop (2011), and leading roles in 27 Dresses (2007), The Best of Me (2014), and Sonic the Hedgehog (2020). In 2012, Marsden starred in a range of independent films such as Small Apartments, Bachelorette, and Robot & Frank.
He later returned to television guest-starring in Modern Family (2011), and playing Liz Lemon’s love interest, Criss Chros in 30 Rock (2012–2013) in a supporting role. In 2013, Marsden portrayed President John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels’s The Butler, and had a supporting role in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. He starred as gunslinging sentient android Teddy Flood in the HBO science fiction series Westworld (2016–2018), as part of the main ensemble.
Since 2019, Marsden has starred as Steve and Ben Wood in the Netflix black comedy series Dead to Me.