James Marsden’s Best Movie and TV Show Appearances, From “Hairspray” to “Enchanted”
Since he first appeared on “Saved by the Bell: The New Class” in 1993, James Marsden has slowly become a Hollywood mainstay. He rose to fame with roles in movies including “X-Men” and “The Notebook,” and his star reached new heights when he showed off his singing skills in “Enchanted” and “Hairspray.” More recently, Marsden starred as the kindhearted android Teddy Flood in “Westworld,” and he also plays himself in “Jury Duty,” albeit a more narcissistic version.
Over the years, Marsden has frequently found himself playing the main romantic rival to male leads. From roles as Prince Edward in “Enchanted” and Lon Hammond Jr. in “The Notebook” to having to compete with Superman himself in “Superman Returns,” Marsden definitely seems to have a knack for playing that particular kind of part – but that’s not to say he doesn’t have range. With his musical talents, dashing good looks, and ability to play both smarmy and charming characters to equal effect, the 49-year-old actor has participated in a wide variety of projects over the years, from comedies and fantasies to historical dramas and more.
Ahead, check out Marsden’s best movies and TV shows over the years.
“Jury Duty” (2023)
In the documentary-style comedy “Jury Duty,” Marsden plays a more egotistical version of himself. He appears in the series alongside 10 other actors – and one unsuspecting civilian named Ronald Gladden, who believes he’s actually taking part in a documentary about a real trial.
In “Disenchanted,” Marsden reprises his “Enchanted” role as the starry-eyed Prince Edward. This time, he’s trying to make things work with Idina Menzel’s Nancy.
“The Stand” (2021)
Marsden plays a Texan named Stuart in this drama, which is based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name. When he becomes the first person to have an immunity to a superflu that has crisscrossed the globe, he quickly finds himself on the run from the government.
“Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020)
Marsden plays the titular blue hedgehog’s friend Sheriff Tom Wachowski in “Sonic the Hedgehog.” He reprised the role in the 2022 sequel.
“Dead to Me” (2019-2022)
In the series “Dead to Me,” Marsden initially plays Linda Cardellini’s character Judy’s obnoxious boyfriend, Steve. He also takes on the role of Steve’s more empathetic identical twin brother, Ben.
Marsden stars as the gallant android Teddy Flood in the sci-fi drama “Westworld.” First billed as an archetypically heroic love interest destined for Evan Rachel Wood’s character, Dolores, Teddy winds up finding himself at the mercy of powers far beyond his control as the show progresses.
“The Best of Me” (2014)
Marsden stars alongside Michelle Monaghan in this romance flick. The pair play former high-school sweethearts who come together after a long time apart, only to find the reasons that initially drove them away from each other are still very much present decades later.
“The Loft” (2014)
Marsden appears as a prime suspect in this murder-mystery movie, which follows five married men who rent a loft to share with their mistresses together. When a woman’s body is found in the loft, though, they all find themselves under intense scrutiny.
“The Butler” (2013)
Marsden takes on the role of John F. Kennedy in Lee Daniels’s “The Butler.” The film tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a butler in the White House from 1952 to 1986.
“30 Rock” (2012-2013)
In “30 Rock,” Marsden plays Crisstopher Rick Chros, Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) love interest. Introduced in season six, he’s often seen playing romantic songs on his guitar.
Marsden appears opposite Russell Brand and Kaley Cuoco in this Easter-themed comedy. He plays Frederick “Fred” O’Hare, who meets Brand’s character – E.B., the Easter Bunny’s son – and bonds with him over not wanting to do what their parents expect them to.
“Robot & Frank” (2012)
Marsden plays Hunter, the son of ex-convict Frank who buys his aging father a robotic companion. Things escalate, though, when Frank begins using the robot to commit crimes.
“27 Dresses” (2008)
In “27 Dresses,” Marsden stars alongside Katherine Heigl‘s Jane as cynical reporter Kevin. When he winds up writing an article about Jane’s endless bridesmaid commitments, their nascent romantic relationship grows a lot more complicated.
Marsden plays Prince Edward alongside Amy Adams in the live-action Disney movie musical “Enchanted.” When Adams’s character, Giselle, is banished from their fairy-tale realm to real-world New York, Marsden’s character leaps into action to rescue her.
Marsden plays yet another heartthrob in “Hairspray.” As the dashing Corny Collins, host of the teen dance show “The Corny Collins Show,” he winds up being surprisingly progressive in addition to extremely charismatic from start to finish.
“Superman Returns” (2006)
In “Superman Returns,” Marsden plays yet another rival love interest – and this time, he has to face off against none other than Superman. He stars as Daily Planet reporter Richard White, who is engaged to Lois Lane.
“The Notebook” (2004)
Marsden plays Lon Hammond Jr., Allie’s (Rachel McAdams) betrothed in this classic romance. Because he stands in the way of Allie’s romance with Noah (Ryan Gosling), though, his role garnered him some dislike from fans. “When the movie became such a phenomenon, people would come up to me on the street and be like, ‘Why were you trying to get in their way?! They were supposed to be together,'” Marsden said during a 2020 “Good Morning America” interview.
Marsden plays the mutant Cyclops in the first three films in the X-Men franchise. As of 2023, the actor is still down to return to the franchise if the opportunity arises. “You really do love these characters, the cast, the crew, everybody,” he told Screen Rant. “. . . So I would always be open to that, revisiting that world.”
“Saved by the Bell: The New Class” (1993)
One of Marsden’s first roles was a stint on “Saved by the Bell: The New Class.” He plays Chad Westerfield, a high schooler with homecoming-king ambitions, in the seventh episode of the spinoff’s first season.
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