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James Marsden thanks Julia Roberts for helping him to secure a part in Hairspray musical

James Marsden and Julia Roberts on the red carpet
James Marsden says Julia Roberts helped him secure a role in 2007’s remake of Hairspray. Pic credit: © Carrie-nelson/ Landmark-Media

James Marsden has sent a nod of thanks to Julia Roberts for securing him a role in the Hairspray movie musical because she praised him as the director was interviewing him.

The Alibi actor was chatting with Ellen Degeneres when he revealed that he’d been desperate to secure the part of TV host Corny Collins in the 2007 remake of Hairspray and that a chance encounter with the actress made it happen.

Marsden told Degeneres he’d agreed to meet director Adam Shankman for lunch in an empty off-Broadway restaurant in New York. At the time, he hadn’t realized that such illustrious Hollywood greats frequented the restaurant.

He stated that as he was getting a grilling from Shankman, the star of 1990s Pretty Woman interrupted the interview. “In the middle of the interview… I had a tap on my shoulder, and it was Julia Roberts.”

Marsden further explained: “She said, ‘I’m sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to tell you you’re in my favorite movie, The Notebook, and I love what you do in the film… and nice to meet you'”.

High praise from Julia Roberts does the trick

He said that that ringing endorsement from one of Hollywood’s hottest stars was enough for Shankman to land him the role. “And then Adam Shankman turns to me and says, ‘If you didn’t have the job already, I think that sort of seals it’.”

“So I have Julia Roberts to thank for that. She was the one who cemented me getting cast in that role,” he concluded.

James Marsden compared coronavirus to Stephen King’s The Stand

James Marsden caused controversy earlier this year when he compared Stephen King’s novel about a virus that kills over 99% of the earth’s population to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic.

Marsden said: “There are scenes in the beginning of ”The Stand” where as soon as you see someone who looks normal sneeze or cough into their arm, everyone’s eyes in the room darts towards them. I see that in public now, and everyone kind of takes a few steps away from the person. It’s crazy. We’re in full panic mode right now.”

Marsden clearly wasn’t the only person to make that connection to King’s horror novel as the author recently felt the need to apologize for making people think they were living through one of his books as he chatted with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show.

Meanwhile, Julia Roberts did her bit this month in the fight against COVID-19 by handing over her social media account to medical experts to help her fans better understand the current pandemic.

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