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James Marsden

July 26, 2007|Michael Flaherty

The singing, dancing, acting Oklahoma native's resume is a study in sound judgment: "Superman Returns," "X-Men," "The Notebook," "Ally McBeal," "Saved by the Bell: The New Class." (You think we're kidding.) Marsden, 33, chatted with The Times about his new film, "Hairspray," mistaken identity and Internet myths.

I was a huge fan of your work on "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."

I wasn't on "Buffy." You're thinking of James Marsters ....

I'm just breaking your chops. Did you get that a lot when "Buffy" was on?

Not in person -- we don't look alike -- but people did confuse us in print, like, "James Marsters was great in the 'X-Men' movies!"

"Hairspray" is a long way from the "X-Men," huh?

They're polar opposites, though both films are about outcasts who become heroes.

What's your role?

I'm Corny Collins, host of a 1962 Baltimore dance show -- basically he's Dick Clark.

Which costar does the best Chris Walken impersonation?

Zac Efron does a good one. Actually, Chris Walken does the best Chris Walken impersonation in the movie. He's a comic genius -- that quirkiness and odd delivery.

You've got some experience as a singer....

I do, but it was always a hobby. I sang on "Ally McBeal." I think that's what [Hairspray director] Adam Shankman saw. But I've known [composer] Marc Shaiman for a few years. He did the music for a Sarah Jessica Parker perfume commercial. I'm the voice singing his song.

Your IMDB page says your nickname is "Bello Jimmy."

Incorrect. Only about 80% of what's on IMDB is accurate.

It says you're an "accomplished singer."

Well, that I'll take.

It also quotes you as saying you've lost parts because you're "too good-looking."

That sounds really arrogant.

You are a handsome man.

I appreciate that. I guess it's worked in my favor.

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