James Marsden Admits Feeling ‘Terrified’ While Filming ‘Jury Duty’ TV Show

James Marsden at the New York premiere of HBO's
James Marsden at the New York premiere of HBO's

James Marsden at the New York premiere of HBO's "White House Plumbers." The actor recently dished on what it was like playing himself in the hilarious new mockumentary "Jury Duty."

Actor James Marsden is getting buzz for his hilarious portrayal of a much jerkier, more self-absorbed version of himself on the Amazon Freevee documentary-style comedy TV series, “Jury Duty,” but he admits the experience was harrowing at times.

The show revolves around Ronald Gladden, an average guy who thinks he’s a juror on a real civil trial, not realizing the trial is fake, and the judge, attorneys and fellow jurors are all actors.

Marsden was the only actor playing “himself,” and since Gladden was familiar with his work, it created challenges not experienced by the other cast members.

Not surprisingly, the actor confessed to GQ U.K. in an interview published Wednesday that there were moments while filming the series when he didn’t feel up to the task.

“Every night, before the next day of filming with Ronald, I was so terrified that I wouldn’t be prepared for anything he’d throw at me, so I would just write down in a journal everything he could potentially do or say and then and then anything I could respond with,” Marsden said. “I was armed with ideas in my head of how this James Marsden would respond and some funny things he could do.”

But there was no way to prepare for some things, such as when Gladden mentions that he heard that the 2020 film, “Sonic The Hedgehog,” was bad, not realizing Marsden was in it.

“I love the fact that he said, ‘You’re in ’Sonic’? I heard that was not a good movie,’” Marsden admitted. “The chorus of laughter in my head during that moment! That was so much better than him saying, ‘Hey, I’m a big fan of your work.’”

Marsden said he learned there was no way to prepare for Gladden’s reactions, “so you have to be nimble and quick and put that through the douchebag James Marsden decoder.”

Not that he didn’t appreciate the opportunity to “send up the cliched, entitled Hollywood celebrity.” Marsden admits, “It was such a joy. I mean, I wish I could tell you that I didn’t enjoy playing that character.”

Still, the hardest part about filming the show may have been right after Gladden found out he had been the subject of an elaborate prank.

“The thing I wanted to do the most was run over to him as quickly as I could,” Marsden explained. “There were several hours of footage of me just being ‘Nice Guy James Marsden’ where we were chatting, so I wanted to run over to him, look him in the eye and say, ‘Hey, I’m sorry, and that not all of it was fake.’ The friendships, the connection we had, the laughs we shared, that was all real.”