James Marsden has made his name in a variety of movies, including two comic book flicks as Cyclops in The X-Men and Lois Lane’s boyfriend in Superman Returns.
On June 9, 2012, the deadCENTER Film Festival awarded Marsden the honor of being one of two men to win the inaugural Oklahoma Film Icon award, along with producer Gray Frederickson (“The Godfather, Part II”). Marsden also had a new movie screening at the festival called Robot and Frank, starring Frank Langella.
James Marsden took time to talk with me at the festival about his new movie and returning to Oklahoma for his award.
Shawn Lealos: How big is it for you to bring your new movie back to Oklahoma, where you grew up, and show it at the deadCENTER Film Festival?
James Marsden: It is exciting for me because this is my home and this is where I grew up. This is also a movie I am specifically proud of. I am proud of everything that I do but this is a unique and special movie. It’s rare that I get really excited about wanting my family to go and see a movie I am in. I sort of do a movie and then forget about it and move on. But this one is so special and has such heart. I thought of people here and my family and I wanted them all to see it.
Shawn: Talk a little about doing a smaller independent movie like this in the face of the blockbusters you have been part of.
James: I think it is important for the business to have smaller movies like this. It is where you get unique and new and inventive ideas. When a studio spends a lot of money on a film, they don’t want to take too many gambles. On smaller independent films, you have the latitude to take a shot and do something different and I think that is a really important thing for a film community. Film festivals like this embrace that idea.
Shawn: In a state like Oklahoma, where there are legendary actors like James Garner and Wes Studi, it must be an honor to win an award like the Oklahoma Film Icon.
James: It’s great. I called James Garner and said ‘HA-HA, I beat you for the first Icon award.’ I didn’t really call him but we did work together on The Notebook. But, it’s great. I never really expected I would be doing this as long as I have been. I feel very fortunate to have found success and continue to search for roles that are inspiring to me and I have the ability to do it. Hopefully, the career will continue. I think it is a testament to my upbringing here in Oklahoma. I’ve had a good attitude about the work, the industry and the town. It is great to get this award. Icon award – I feel like I don’t qualify for that. I’m honored.