James Marsden Finally Coming of Age: From ‘Corny Collins’ to ‘The Loft’

January 17, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

THE LOFT is a crime thriller opening Friday, January 30, 2015 and co-stars the handsome and charismatic James Marsden. Yes, the James Marsden who has been charming audiences for quite a while now, and yet seems to have lingered on far too long on the career slow-track.   I’m not going to lament this. Who is to say that slow isn’t better?  After all, don’t “overnight sensations” put you in the spirit of being mind-manipulated?  You know…  when the entertainment industry throws some artist into your face and declare they are the best thing since sliced bread, all the while you do nothing but view them as pop-culture puppets. Yeah, I’m sticking to that story.  Screen artists the likes of James Marsden at least give me the impression that they have paid their dues via climbing the rungs of the unforgiving Hollywood ladder – even if such is not the case.

Marsden first caught my attention during his performance in the 2007 film Hairspray where he portrayed the open-minded, rug-cutting, charming, and fun to watch baby-daddy-man Corny Collins.



MARSDEN as HAIRSPRAY character CORNY COLLINS. His acting / dancing first caught my attention here.

Epoch Times Photo


Marsden as Corney Collins performs The Nicest Kids In Town

It was during Marsden’s opening number in Hairspray (The Nicest Kids In Town) – that I grinned and chucked aloud,  taking notice of the man on the silver screen.  He possessed an aura that jumped off of the screen at you. A pretty face, a captivating grin, a hell of a dancer, and an over-all charisma that told me I’d be seeing more of him.  Marsden simply owned this song and dance routine.   Of course, Marsden was around long before I took to this character singing The Nicest Kids In Town, but this is when I took notice of him and to this day I cannot look at Marsden without thinking about the role that originally charmed me.  I’ll always see him as the Corny Collins character who slowly evolved into the leading man status that he so richly deserves. 

Yes, it’s true.  It was Marsden who portrayed that other guy  in the 2004 hit film The Notebook. Yet in spite of a stand-out performance, it failed to launch him into leading man status.  Instead, fast-forwarding to 2007,  Marsden appears as Corny Collins.  While it’s a great, diverse role that showcases his ability to sing and dance as well as act – it was not a leading-man role for him. Perhaps events transpire exactly as they should.  Slow and steady.  Yes, there is something to be said for this, because now Marsden has amassed a tv and feature film resume that is brimming over with versatility.  This subsequently renders him palatable for just about any starring role.  

Marsden’s acting prowess married with his good-lucks will at first attract romantic leads. And it has.  Good for him. That being said – it should not be dismissed that Marsden remains a natural at his craft.  He could indeed handily master any leading role. It was my hope that Hollywood was taking notice of this…. and they did.

Since his 2007 role as Corny Collins,  Marsden has endured in the game that is the film industry until 2013 and 2014 brought about his much deserve roles portraying  highly recognizable characters and leading men.  In 2008 he did indeed take  leading man status in the film 27 Dresses, alongside Katherine Heigl.  It was a cute film and Marsden was enchanting,  but Hollywood still did not take note.  



The goofy BENNIE AND THE JETS Scene.


That time finally came in 2013.   In 2013 Marsden co-starred as the late President John F. Kennedy in the Lee Daniels’ film The Butler.  And bravo.  As small as this role was,  Marsden as usual, was solid and convincing.  Albeit small, I considered this the breakout role for him.  It commanded affirmation from the Hollywood power brokers.


A serious and believable Marsden as JFK in the Lee Daniels film The Butler. 

 Epoch Times Photo


The heels of The Butler finally yielded his leading man role in the 2014 film The Best of Me.  I yelled out loud when I saw the trailers.  “Finally!” I declared,  “Why did this take so long!???”   In The Best Of Me Marsden starred along side Michelle Monaghan as high school sweethearts who reunite.  While this film didn’t blaze the film industry afire – it served as a milestone for Marsden.

Now enter in the 2015 release of the film The Loft.  Marsden finally takes top billing in this dramatic, sexy role as married infidel who discovers the body of a murdered woman in a loft that he and his friends keep for clandestine trysts.  The film is set to be released on January 30th and so far the buzz is good.

Yes, Marsden’s career can serve as a text book example of a slow-simmering evolution into cinematic grace.  But how sweet is that?  If he hasn’t exhaled, I’m certainly exhaling for him and  looking forward to seeing more of this “about-time” leading man. Corny Collins makes good!


“When All Is Said And Done… You’ll Go To The Movies.”  –  JWL

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