James Marsden and a ‘circus of weirdos’ in prank comedy ‘Jury Duty’
James Marsden plays a ghoulish version of himself in “Jury Duty,” the new Amazon freebie prank-comedy series that combines “The Office” and “The Truman Show” with a dash of “The Rehearsal” thrown in for good measure. has been done
“Jury Duty” follows a mock court case, complete with flamboyant lawyers and oddball members of the jury, with one catch: Only one juror — Ronald Gladden, a solar panel contractor from San Diego — is not on the trial. is Her fellow “jurors” include the self-important actor James Marsden (as himself), who is trying to get her to recognize the judge so that she can be excused from the trial; Genie (Eddie Modica) a retail associate and self-proclaimed “anarchist”; and Todd (David Brown), so obsessed with hydrating that he straps a water bottle to his body.
“I thought it would be a lot of fun to have the ability to send to Hollywood [and] Deserving actor,” Marsden, 49, told the Post. “It’s in that vein that Larry David plays Larry on ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ It’s an exaggerated version of himself. Of course. [James Marsden] Thinks he is above any civic duty he has to do. He believes that every conversation is uninteresting, unless he involves her. It’s a great setup, because when you see him fail, he kind of collapses.
The judges speak to the camera, mock-style, about their observations as the case progresses, while onscreen text informs the audience that these people are all actors, and that the trial is a sham.
“I’m not an actor,” Gladden, 30, told the Post. “It was an ad I came across on Craigslist.” Gladden said he thought the trial was being filmed for public TV to explore the inner workings of the court system.
“It was like a roller coaster. When I first met James [Marsden], I was doing everything I can’t fangirl, because I’m a fan of his work,” she said. “I think he’s fun. And then, I’m like ‘Oh, this guy’s not as good as I thought.’ In the end, when I started to believe who James was, it broke my heart, I was like ‘never meet your heroes!’
“So, when I found out it was all a front, it was like a huge sigh of relief.”
Marsden (“The Notebook,” “Enchanted,” “30 Rock,” and “Westworld”) said he would be “freaked out” if he were in Gladden’s position, because “I don’t even like surprise birthday parties. ”
“It was important to me that he knows [our friendship] was real, because otherwise, you’d feel cheated at the expense of humor for a TV show,” he said. “And that’s not what the show was about. We’re surrounding him with this circus of nonsense, and seeing how he reacts. We want people to laugh, but not at him—you’re laughing at that jackass James Marsden. When we did the reveal, I was like ‘I can’t wait for him to find out that I’m not that type-K!’
Marsden said he had real experience doing jury duty six or seven years ago.
“I’ve done it once before, here in LA. It was something short, [a] Civil trial. I walked in and there was a wall of celebrities in a government building. I thought, ‘Well, sh-t, I’m not getting out of this, I’m getting picked!’ And sure enough, I was,” he said. “And in the middle of his opening argument, one of the lawyers turns to me in the jury room and goes, ‘By the way, I like everything you’ve done.’ In the midst of a court case!
“I turned to the judge like, ‘You’re not going to let me go?’ And he didn’t. I had to stay through the whole thing.
“It was a very Hollywood moment.”