James Marsden, sweating in a suit in the humidity on the High Line on Friday afternoon at Tommy Hilfiger’s menswear show, admitted he’s a neophyte to the fashion world. “I’ve never been to Fashion Week, and never come to one of these shows,” the actor said. He motioned us over to a shady spot to talk about his starring role in the Straw Dogs remake.
He says he did feel pressure to live up to the 1971 classic, which starred Dustin Hoffman. “You don’t want to remake a movie like that and make it worse; I was thinking about that,” Marsden told Vulture. “But we are making our own version of that movie, you know. I think the director purposely wanted to go against Dustin Hoffman type to try to avoid drawing too many comparisons. But there’s a lot of themes; same story, but different themes in the movie.”
In preparing for the role, Marsden says he revisited the original version mainly to make sure that he wasn’t duplicating Hoffman’s performance. Though there are differences between the two versions, the new one also includes harrowing scenes. “The final scene of the siege on the house was really intense, and physically and mentally exhausting,” Marsden said, adding that they did not use stunt doubles. “Alexander Skarsgard throwing me, launching me into walls. We really went for it. It was old-school filmmaking at that point.”
Of course, Marsden played Corny Collins in Hairspray, and he’s looking to break out his singing and dancing chops again — on Broadway next time. “I’m looking for a great musical on Broadway to do. I’ve never done Broadway, and I’d love to, so I’m in the hunt for that,” he said. “There are opportunities here and there for charity events and things like that to sing, but I’d love to take more advantage of it. I know I’m going to wake up one day and all that ability is going to be gone.”