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Actors and Their Niches 2: James Marsden – Lover in a Love Triangle

James Marsden

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This is part 2 in the Actors and Actor Niches article series, where Part 1 covered Robert De Niro.

Now, as talented and diverse James is, and as many as different kind of scripts he has picked, he seems to end up in love triangles a lot.

This hadn’t really occurred to me, until I read this blog post about Marsden being a part of a love triangle in the X-Men trilogy. Then I remembered all the movies James had handsome male rivals…and voila! Discovered his niche. But I have to point out, he is one of my favorite actors- and I do like the movies I covered here.


X-Men: James Marsden vs. Hugh Jackman for Famke Janssen


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Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is in love with Jean (Famke Janssen). And this is a very tricky situation for Jean, as she is married to Cyclops (James Marsden.)

Hugh Jackman vs. James Marsden…Now, that’s dilemma I’d have loved to be a part of.

Now, even though Jean has some feelings for Wolverine, they don’t get dangerous until the 3rd movie where weird things have happened to her…


The Notebook: James Marsden vs. Ryan Gosling for Rachel McAdams

The Notebook movie poster

The Notebook movie poster. Image via wikipedia.

The first movie I saw Ryan Gosling in was the Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Notebook, and even though I loved how he portrayed his character and how much in love he was with Rachel McAdams’ character, I was rooting for James Marsden too.

While Noah (Ryan Gosling) was Allie’s first and biggest love, class differences and her mother (Joan Allen) drove them apart. Then she met the lovely Lon (James Marsden)- and frankly, after that, I wasn’t rooting for Noah. Not just for Noah anyway. Because Lon was also a great guy- sweet, lovely, fun…and very good-looking. Oh, and as a perk, he had money. He was also very easy-going, and he truly loved Allie. And I’m not a big fan of the fighting is a sign of passion theory.

And I’d have to imagine your guy being adored by your parents can’t hurt a relationship either.

Yes, Noah gets the girl. Oh, come on- even if you haven’t seen the movie, it is Ryan Gosling on the cover, not Marsden.


Enchanted: James Marsden vs. Patrick Dempsey for Amy Adams  



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Fairy tale prince (James Marsden)’s relationship with his bride-to-be Amy Adams is endangered when his evil stepmother (Susan Sarandon) sends her to earth to separate them. That’s where she meets the lovely but cynical divorce lawyer (Patrick Dempsey). Then he follows her there to save her and complications ensue…


27 Dresses: James Marsden vs. Edward Burns (sort of-see below) for Katherine Heigl

27 Dresses

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Cynical wedding columnist Kevin Doyle (Marsden) meets the too-often-bridesmaid Jane (Katherine Heigl) during a wedding and is instantly amused by her attitude to weddings. When she leaves her significant notebook behind, he calls her. She doesn’t even realize how cute Kevin is, however, as she is too busy being in love with her handsome boss George (Edward Burns)- who is instantly smitten when he meets her sister Tess (Malin Akerman).

Talk about a mess when Kevin comes to cover the wedding of Tess and George.


* Even when it is not exactly him vs. the other guy, somebody complicated his relationship, or he complicated  somebody else.


Straw Dogs: Alexander Skarsgard vs. James Marsden about Kate Bosworth

Straw Dogs movie poster

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Successful novelist (Marsden) goes with his wife (Bosworth) to her hometown only to realize her ex (Skarsgard) and his gang may not be so welcoming to strangers who don’t live according to their rules. And by complications, we mean serious threats and violence here.


24th day: Scott Speedman vs. James Marsden – on Scott’s dead wife

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Marsden is a carefree gay player who couldn’t care about the lives of his conquests. But one day one of them captures him, quite willing to him. As it’ll turn out, Scott cheated once, with Marsden. He now has AIDS, and it is wife his wife died from. Marsden won’t likely survive if he’s the one who gave it to her. This can be my favorite Marsden movie. Great script, killer performances and solid ending. What more would you want?


Love Triangle or not, Marden is a joy to watch.

My recommendations for his niche movies are (in order):

24th Day

X-Men Trilogy

27 Dresses


(*Straw Dogs:  Not a great movie. But wouldn’t be a total loss to watch it.)

Recommended Non-Niche James Movies:

Gossip – a gem of a mystery/drama/thriller co-starring Lena Headey, Joshua Jackson & Kate Hudson

Hairspray – a very entertaining musical starring Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta & Christopher Walken

Interstate 60: Episodes of the Road – weird, but cute road comedy/drama feat. Gary Oldman

Looking Forward To:

Red Machine – action thriller co-starring Piper Perabo & Thomas Jane

The Loft – thriller co-starring Karl Urban & Wentworth Miller

2 Guns – action drama co-starring Denzel Washington & Mark Wahlberg



What are your James favorites?


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