Oh My Dog
Actor James Marsden talks with Parent & Child about the different roles he plays — as a father in real life and as Diggs in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.
James Marsden couldn't be less like his character Diggs in Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. While he describes Diggs as a "hot shot," James himself is down-to-earth, admitting that one of the joys of working on an animated movie is that he didn't have to sit through hair and makeup!
Parent & Child: What did you love most about working on this movie?
James Marsden: Honestly, I think my favorite part was that I got to roll out of bed, put on a baseball cap, and go to the sound studio and do the performance. You get to go in and be goofy, have fun and be silly. The character allowed for that. He's Diggs, the German shepherd — he's got a lot of talent, but he doesn't have a lot of control over himself. He has a big ego, he's a hot shot, and he needs to learn how to follow team orders. But it was fun playing this character.
P&C: Do your kids ever watch movies you're in?
Marsden: They do, but they don't get that excited. It's cool that I'm in the movies, but they like the movies for the movies. When they were younger, you could see it was a little more difficult for them to get their head around. When children watch movies, it's very real to them. They have to learn the concept of what movies are. My kids had to learn that Dad plays characters, fictional characters that are filmed — playing pretend, basically.
P&C: What do you hope kids and families will take away from this movie?
Marsden: It's a very cleverly written script, where there's enough spectacle for the kids, but really sharp wit for the adults. It doesn't dumb itself down or pander just to make the kids laugh with the silly gags. I don't think we give the smaller audience enough credit these days. They pick up on more than we think they do.
P&C: What do you like about working on family-friendly films?
Marsden: It feels good. You step into this kind of movie because you want to have a good time, and you want to create a film that will bring out the kid in you. That's what this film did for me: It let me be a child and be silly and have a good time with it, and that's hopefully something that you'll enjoy watching.
P&C: What were your favorite movies growing up? What are your kids' favorite movies now?
Marsden: My favorites were Star Wars and The Wizard of Oz and Jaws. My daughter's is How to Train Your Dragon — she wants to be a dragon. And my son's, Alien vs. Predator.
P&C: What books most affected your life?
Marsden: I'd have to start with the three "where"s: Where the Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild Things Are, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Also, Green Eggs and Ham and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
P&C: Can you share with us one of your funniest or most embarrassing moments from school?
Marsden: My most embarrassing moment was probably when I decided to try out for the track team in 4th grade. I wasn't sure how it all worked. After a few sprints and long jumps, I went back to class. Then a few days later there was an announcement over the intercom that the track team needs to be out by the bus in 10 minutes. Wow! Out of school early to go run and jump? I'm in! So, I'm on the bus and they have a roll call. My name was not called. What I didn't know was that I had not made the team. But since nobody had told me I hadn't made it, I thought I had. I had to sit there on the bus all day with the entire track team knowing that I thought I had made the team.
P&C: Do you have any pets?
Marsden: We have a golden retriever named Buddy.
P&C: Any parting advice for our audience?
Marsden: Keep reading. It's one of the rare things you can do your whole life and really enjoy. You can let your imagination run free, and that's what I like about books. As parents, we need to help our kids discover that.