EXCLUSIVE: Guest Blogger Richard Kelly Heaps Praise Upon ‘The Box’ Star James Marsden

Richard Kelly is the man. Not just because he’ll be here all this week, posting as a guest editor for MTV Movies Blog. It helps, sure, but we’re talking about the guy who made “Donnie Darko” here. And “Southland Tales.” Isn’t that enough? Not for Kelly it isn’t. His latest brain-twisting tale, “The Box,” hits theaters on November 6. And he has a dynamite week of content planned for y’all, so sit back and enjoy!

October 30, 2009


Most people know James Marsden as Cyclops from the “X-Men” movies. This is obviously his most high profile role, and it certainly brought him a lot of great opportunities. But the bummer about playing Cyclops is that the audience can’t see your eyes.

There is only so much you can do with a role in which the windows to the soul remain covered for the duration of the film.

In the past few years a lot of people have come to realize a little secret about Jimmy Marsden – he has incredible range. He can do pretty much any accent without consulting a dialect coach. He can improvise comedy at the drop of a hat. And . . . when they saw him in the role of Prince Charming in “Enchanted” – audiences realized that the guy can also sing. He has an amazing singing voice.

I actually sang karaoke for the first time in my life at “The Box” wrap party in Boston – and I have to say – following James Marsden on stage was one of the most humbling (and humiliating) experiences of my life.

It then comes as no surprise that – like Lady Diaz – Prince Marsden is a very well-adjusted, down to earth person. A great guy. He also does a killer Paul Lynde impression (for those of you who don’t know Paul Lynde – he was on “Bewitched” and was often the center square on the game show “Hollywood Squares”).

If anyone reading this blog gets a chance to ask Jimmy to do his Paul Lynde impression, be prepared. It is seriously funny.

Jimmy (as everyone refers to him) gives what I believe is the best performance of his career in “The Box” (opening November 6th!). I know I am biased because I directed the film – but I don’t think I will be alone in this opinion.

The character of Arthur Lewis has about the same screen time as Norma Lewis. The film was designed to have an equally balanced journey experienced by the husband and wife who find themselves in the crosshairs of Arlington Steward’s experiment.

As an actor who started in this business when he was 19-years-old – it’s great to see someone who has more than paid his dues achieving leading-man status.

If you visit either of The Box websites (www.thebox-movie.com and www.youaretheexperiment.com) — you will see that the Mars Viking program that was conducted by NASA in 1976 figures heavily into the plot – as Arthur Lewis is an engineer at the Langley facility in Hampton, Virginia.

A French reporter recently brought it to my attention that Jimmy’s last name actually contains “Mars.”

It must have been fate that he would go on to play Arthur Lewis – whose enigmatic connection to Mars will be discussed by many who see “The Box.”