In season one of Netflix’s Dead to Me, James Marsden plays the hotheaded, arrogant Steve. In seasons two and three, he’s back as Ben, Steve’s much more emotional and kindhearted brother. Marsden accomplishes a mesmerizing feat by playing two distinctly different characters who look exactly the same, and now he’s enjoying the chance to poke fun at himself and send up entitled celebrities on Freevee’s Jury Duty.
Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Marsden, who acknowledges that he wasn’t originally supposed to stick around past season one of Dead to Me:
“I thought, is he really dead? How do we continue this affair? I was saying it half-jokingly, but, of course, half-serious. I didn’t want to leave the party. And then [Liz Feldman] came back to me later and said, unsolicited, hey, I’ve been thinking about that. We don’t want you to go either. What do you think about twins? I was like, oh my god, are you serious? Are you kidding? And I thought, well, if you’re serious. She’s like, it’s kind of a soapy show anyway, and if we lean into that a little bit without being too winky to the audience or silly, you’re still grounding it in a reality, and the character was written so different from the first season character. I was like, well, yeah, let’s go for it.”
On being part of Jury Duty, where people might conclude that he’s just as obnoxious as the fictionalized version of himself that he plays:
“It was something I’ve never ever done before. I’ve always had such reverence for Christopher Guest and shows like Curb and Larry Sanders Show, where these brilliant minds, the synapses happen so quickly, you’ve got to be able to process and say something funny, because there’s no scripted dialogue really, you’ve just got to go with the flow. Here I am, lampooning your typical Hollywood pompous, entitled jackass, and I just have so much fun doing that. And in this case, I got to do it with myself. My only concern was, are people actually going to think I’m this guy by the end of it?”
Listen to the full conversation below.
Dead to Me is currently streaming on Netflix. Season one of Jury Duty is streaming on Freevee.