James Marsden owes Julia Roberts a special thanks. During his virtual visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Dead to Me star revealed that Julia Roberts helped him land his role of Corny Collins in the 2007 remake of Hairspray, telling Ellen that Roberts put in a good word for him.
If it weren’t for a random encounter with Julia Roberts, James Marsden might never have played TV host Corny Collins in a hit musical Hairspray.
Marsden told host Ellen DeGeneres, “I was sitting down with Adam Shankman, the director, and (producer)Craig Zadan and Neil Meron at the time in an empty restaurant in New York City and we were just talking about the potential of me playing Corny Collins,”
He also told Ellen on how in the middle of the interview, as he was trying to get the job, he had a tap on his shoulder and it was the Pretty Woman star, Julia Roberts.
Marsden continued telling how Roberts helped him, “And she was standing there and she said, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt. But, I just wanted to tell you that you’re in my favourite movie, The Notebook, and I love what you do in the film. And congratulations on it. Nice to meet you.”
James thanked Julia Roberts on The Ellen Degeneres Show, she was the one who cemented him getting cast in that role. Well, that compliment couldn’t have come at a better time because it ended up solidifying the director’s decision to give him the role.
Marsden said that immediately after Julia Roberts, 52, left his role in Hairspray became a guarantee.
Hairspray featured a star-studded cast of Marsden, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Brittany Snow, Amanda Bynes, Queen Latifah, Allison Janey, Christopher Walken, and Nikki Blonsky.
Additionally, the pair discussed his most recent role in Netflix series Dead to Me and adjusting to his new role as his character’s own identical twin.
‘It took a big swing,’ he added of the contrasting characters. ‘The guy is very different, much kinder and a nicer guy.”
After his character was murdered, he admitted to emailing, asking if there was any way he could have survived a ‘head trauma, drowning.’
The film debuted in theatres on July 20, 2007, and was a critical and financial success, holding the record for biggest sales on opening weekend for a movie musical until Mamma Mia! the following year.
This celebrity encounter we didn’t know we needed, until now. Honestly, we can’t think of a better person to play the role. And now, all we can think about is Marsden and Roberts being cast together in an upcoming rom-com hit.
Watch the interview of James Marsden on The Ellen Degeneres Show here: