James Marsden Says Drinking Is The Best Hangover Cure

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1Photo: Erik Pendzich/RexUSA.
James Marsden is worried he's becoming a curmudgeon. Clearly, James Marsden hasn't looked in the mirror lately. Seriously — old is the last word that come to mind when considering the very lively 40-year-old actor. Even several seasons of playing husband to Liz Lemon — and probably countless servings of night cheese — can't put a dent in his youthful glow.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the new flick Walk of Shame. Marsden plays a bartender who falls for Elizabeth Banks amid the most disastrous morning after in cinematic history. (Does that sound exaggerated? Just see the flick for proof.) As he recalled during a joke-riddled phone chat, WoS is chock-a-block-full of crazy scenes, one of which even features the actor in a bandage dress. Luckily, he's got a healthy dose of self-deprecation — and an even healthier taste for dishing out the laughs.

Are you filming right now?
"I am. We are filming this Nicholas Sparks adaptation called The Best of Me with Michelle Monaghan and I, so I'm down in New Orleans for a bit. I was just here right before this for this Jack Black comedy called The D Train, so it's kind of like my new home."

How are you liking New Orleans?
"It's great. I was here for The Butler and for Two Guns so I'm familiar with it at this point. And, now when you go outside it's all people from L.A. — the cast of Fantastic Four is here and Pitch Perfect and all these movies. You can't really escape L.A. anymore."

In Walk of Shame, your character falls pretty hard for Meghan (Banks) after a very short time and in the midst of a bunch of surreal circumstances. Do you think that you personally would fall for someone that quickly and with all the craziness that's going on?
"I don't know; I've never had a specific appearance but you're right — that attraction does happen really quick. But, I think the attraction that's initially there is enhanced by all this insanity. From a writer's perspective — the guy is an author — I can't imagine him not being drawn to the chaos a bit. Sometimes we run into people like that in our lives, and it's a refreshing, liberating feeling because we spend so much time stressing about controlling our lives and then you meet somebody who comes in like a tornado. It sort of invigorates you. I can see that line of logic, I guess, in regards to his attraction to her.

"But, you know, in the real world, it's probably going to take a little longer. But, we all come across those people at a party or in a line at Starbucks that you just have an ease with. You can just have an easy fun conversation with someone and it's like, wow, for the amount of time we were talking, that was a good time. I want to be in that person's field of gravity some more."

What was the funniest scene to film for this movie?
"My thoughts go straight to our little party scene at my apartment. I've known Elizabeth forever, and she's always been a friend — there's this Hollywood family that you kind of feel like you're a part of, and when a movie like this comes along, you get to go play with some of your family. So, Elizabeth and I — or Banksy, as we call her — we got to have fun with this movie. It's great when you already have a rapport established and you're already comfortable around one another. She knows that I say Uncle pretty quick — so, she asked me to put a dress on. It's not hard to get me to do stuff, so she was like, 'Great, he'll be perfect!' We had a great time shooting that scene, so hopefully the audience will have a great time as well."

Was the party scene ad-libbed at all? Or did you just pretend to get drunk and see what happens?
"They didn't write the exact specifics of what we were during the party at the apartment to have a good time — they knew we would figure it out. It makes it a little more fun, since Elizabeth is wacko. She's like, 'Let's get a knife out and put it near your naked body!' She also came up with the me-putting-a-dress-on thing very tactically. She decided to wait until the last minute to ask me so I was warmed up, and of course, I couldn't say no. And, she frowned when I came out and was like, 'You look better in the dress than I do!'"
1Photo: REX USA.

Your character in WoS is a bartender — have you ever actually been a bartender in real life?
"No, actually, and that's the most preparation I had to do for this role was for that scene where I was mixing drinks. I didn't know how the hell to do it — I never waited tables or anything like that."

What is the oddest job you've done, then?
"Well, I've been in some odd movies. I used to mow lawns when I was in high school — that was my source of income. That was a little odd, I guess. I kind of went from high school to a short period of college right to L.A. and then started booking odd TV shows and taking on odd roles [laughs]."

Do you have a drink of choice?
"You know, it depends on how I feel but if I know it's gonna be a long night and I'm gonna be drinking for a long night with friends, I probably am going to be drinking beer. If I'm at dinner, I'll do red wine, and then if I want to have a good time quickly I'll go for a tequila and soda. And then at nighttime, when I'm ready for bed, I'll have a scotch neat. Apparently I'm a big drinker!

"For hangovers the best cure is to start drinking again, honestly. It's either that or whatever the closest fast food restaurant is. The grease just makes me feel better. But, I also find that a good Bloody Mary is also pretty good. And then, you get to the problem where you start feeling terrible if you're not drinking and you get the super hangover."

We wanted to ask you about the craziest night out you've ever had — but, now that you're a dad, has your idea of a fun night out completely changed?
"Yah, my crazy nights out are completely in my rearview mirror. I was in a fraternity in college, and you get a lot of that stuff out when you're young. So, nowadays that I'm a father, it's completely changed. It's just physiologically difficult to stay awake. I physically can't do it — I can't drink that much and I can't stay out late. I hate to sound like such an old curmudgeon but staying at home and having a drink always sounds great. You get to the point where the feeling of being rested and not suffering from a hangover is so much better than any feeling you can get from being wasted. That takes you higher and that's the euphoria now. Rest. I sound like a lot of fun, don't I?"

There are a large number of 30 Rock fans who haven't been able to fill the void. Do you have any shows that you're really into?
"Oh boy, I don't watch that much TV right now. You know what, I was watching an episode of Veep last night, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is so damn good in that show. I think that's a really great substitute. Julia is another brilliant comedian, and it popped in my mind because it was the last thing I saw last night."