Oklahoma-born James Marsden has gone from playing Ally McBeal's lover to being mutant telepath Jean Grey's fiancé, Cyclops, in the "X-Men" movies, via forgettable teen movies such as "Gossip" and "Disturbing Behaviour". He tells you what it's like playing the man whose look can kill.
Cyclops doesn't have much luck in this movie. He gets beaten-up by two women and has his car stolen by Wolverine. That must be galling?
The way I justify it is: Wolverine wants Cyclops' life, so he tries stealing his bike, his girl and his car.
And your female trouble?
Well, Kelly Hu [playing Lady Deathstrike] beats me up; Jean Grey and I equally kind of combust. That whole little fight scene that I do with Kelly was actually my idea. I went to Bryan very early on and said, "Is there any way of trying to breathe a little life into this character and create a bit more dimension? Cyclops could be obese and be an alcoholic, and sit there and watch TV all day, because this is all he has to do. Is there any way of showing that these people are taught how to defend themselves without their power?" He said, "Work on something with the stunt guys and come back to me." It worked for Bryan and it also just breaks Cyclops of his stiff demeanour.
Do you like Cyclops?
I'm the antithesis of him. I'm very loose and languid and goofy and outgoing; he's very stiff and serious. He's not the kind of guy I'd like to hang out with in my normal daily life, but I do think it has to be there to be interesting for that butting of the heads between Wolverine and Cyclops. I'd definitely like to kick some more ass in the third one, though.
Is that easy in the costumes you wear?
I don't care what anybody says, thick black leather from head-to-toe is not the best thing to be doing gymnastics in.
Unless you're in certain specialist nightclubs, perhaps?
Yeah, unless you're in, like, some S & M/bondage places. But even so, I would imagine you would have a few bruises the next day. It's funny because you don't feel like a superhero in the costume. You feel very restricted. Also, I can only see, like, 30% of my normal field of view through the visor. So you do kind of have to cross your fingers and hope Bryan will magically edit it together to make you look brilliant.
So is there going to be a third "X-Men" movie?
I think it's inevitable, although there's no talk yet. I think the doors are wide open at the end of this movie to go much more into the Cyclops/Wolverine/Jean Grey storyline where she's evolving into her new character. So hopefully we'll go there.