March 27th, 2012
10:02 AM ET
James Marsden may play the dopey Criss on NBC's "30 Rock," but the actor himself says he feels the need to be extremely up on current events to keep up with the whip-smart "30 Rock" staff.
News and culture references are constantly being added to the scripts, Marsden told us recently, and he feels "the need to keep up in order to maintain the water-cooler talk."
The actor has been playing Liz Lemon's love interest in a recurring role, and it's a character Marsden describes as "a dope, but a loveable one. He has his gourmet hotdog truck, [and] nothing ruffles his feathers, whereas Liz overthinks everything."
Opposites might attract, but who knows for how long: Marsden said that while he has no idea where Liz and Criss are headed, as a longtime fan of "30 Rock," he realizes his days are likely numbered, "going by Liz's track record."
"It's her sandbox," Marsden said, referring to series creator Tina Fey, "but she lets us play in it."
Marsden spoke to CNN while promoting last week's DVD/Blu-ray release of "Hop," the children’s Easter movie that tells the tale (tail?) of a slacker bunny that is heir (hare?) apparent to the Easter Bunny throne.
Aptly named E.B. and voiced by Russell Brand, he leaves his Easter Island home via a rabbit hole and heads for the hills – the Hollywood Hills that is, and tries to make it in Tinseltown. Unable to find a place to live, E.B. stays with Fred (Marsden), his human slacker counterpart, and the pair eventually shed their lazy ways and share the Easter Bunny role.
Marsden told CNN that he made a point to spend time with Russell Brand beforehand so they could gel. "Hop" also features the voiceover talents of Hugh Laurie, Hank Azaria and David Hasselhoff. Marsden also said that, as a father of two, he was excited to be a part of something his kids would get a kick out of.
He also got a kick out of filming "Red Machine," a thriller set for release next year about two long-estranged brothers who reunite in their rural Alaskan home and get stalked by a grizzly bear while hiking.
The movie co-stars Billy Bob Thornton, and Marsden likened Thornton's character to Quint from "Jaws."
When Marsden mentioned Quint, I told him that at my wedding, a friend of mine who was supposed to give a speech wound up forgoing the usual wedding speech niceties and reenacted Quint's U.S.S. Indianapolis speech from "Jaws" instead.
"That's genius," said Marsden, who admitted he is often asked to deliver speeches at weddings. "I wanna be friends with that guy. I'm stealing that. You're gonna read about me doing the 'Jaws' speech at a wedding."
James Marsden re-enacting the "Jaws" speech: Do we smell a YouTube sensation brewing?
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