James Marsden is the latest Hollywood star to step into Ron Burgandy’s world. The X-Men actor experienced the world of cable news circa the ‘80s in Anchorman 2. Marsden was at the Activision launch for Skylanders: Swap Force at Toys R Us in Times Square. He discussed video games and movie sequels in this exclusive interview.
What are your thoughts on what Activision has done with the Skylanders toys and video games?
I think it’s pretty amazing how they’ve integrated the actual physical toy that you can manipulate and change out and swap with Swap Force, and integrate it into the game. I don’t know that there’s any other game like that, so they were pretty inventive in that regard.
Do you have a favorite Skylander?
I like Swashbuckler. He’s sort of my favorite. I think maybe because when I was kid, pirates were very cool to me. Also, the idea of combining a pirate with an octopus is a pretty cool fusion.
What impact do you feel the Swap Force toys will have on gameplay?
I think the customizable feature is probably the most interesting part of it . You can take the physical toys and swap them out, but then you have all the customizable features and upgrades for the characters. It just leads to an unending variety – I think there’s like 256 different combinations you can have. Once you’ve reached the end of the world they’ve created, you can have fun in that world customizing the characters.
Swap Force is coming out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. What are your thoughts on the next gen consoles?
I imagine they can do anything. The technology is so strong. I’m not that familiar with the PS4 and the Xbox One yet, but I’m guessing they’re going to be all-in-one consoles, meaning home movies, download, streaming, video games, probably social networking; all that stuff combined into one console. That’s fine for me. The less remote controls, the better.
What’s a favorite video game memory you can share?
Oh boy. This is going way back, but I think I spent maybe 72 hours straight with a couple of naps in-between getting from the beginning of Pitfall to the end. That was way back when. I’m still of fan of the 2D games like Super Mario Bros. and all that. It’s just the time that I put into these games, and that I could not win that frustrated and angered me, but Pitfall was probably the one that I had to win and reach the end.
Why do you think we haven’t seen a Skylanders’ TV show or movie yet?
Oh, because we haven’t seen one yet.
Do you think you would be involved with something like that?
Oh, I don’t know. I love the game, but I think it’s only a matter of time before we see a movie.
We do see a lot of movies turned into video games like X-Men. What would your vision be for the Anchorman 2 video game if you were in charge?
It would be fun to swap those characters out. Take Ron Burgundy’s hair and replace it with Brick’s.
What about recreating that brawl scene from the first film?
Yeah. There you go. Like a 2D game where they’re fighting as the news channels. I like that. Kung Fu style? That’s a good idea.
What was it like stepping into the Anchorman chair?
It was pretty exciting. I was a big fan of the original Anchorman, so to get back up 10 years later with these guys was an honor. It was a lot of fun playing with those guys.
Can you talk about the character you play in the new film?
I can talk a little about it, but not much. I play Ron’s nemesis at the new station where they work. I’m the new guy for Ron to make a fool of himself in front of.
What’s the atmosphere like on set with Will Ferrell and all those guys in-between takes?
It was probably the most relaxed atmosphere I’ve ever been on as far as a movie set. Those guys are all really good down-to-earth family guys. There’s no competing for jokes, so they’re actually very generous setting you up. No one wants to be the funniest. They want everyone else to be funny around them. It was a really good creative environment. The best environment for an actor is one where you feel safe enough to make mistakes, or to try something and have it not work because that’s where you find the stuff that does work. So it was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.
People have been waiting a long time for Anchorman 2. Another sequel fans want is Enchanted 2. Where would you like to see that story go next?
Well, hopefully we do it. I don’t know that we’re actually going to do it, but I would love to see that done before Amy [Adams] and I get too old to play these characters. I don’t know. I haven’t really thought too much about it. I love the success of the first movie. I loved being a part of the first one. You just want to make sure that it’s organic, that there’s a reason to make a sequel. I think we’d be down for it, but I don’t know that there’s any talk at this point.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will release December 20.
Skylanders Swap Force is currently available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Wii U and 3DS.