PLAYBOY: Is there anything to the rumor that you’re the father of January Jones’s baby?
MARSDEN: There’s so much stupid talk out there. I think that came from somebody thinking we were both in X-Men so it must be true. Every time I see January, she’s like, “Hey, father of my baby.”
PLAYBOY: You and Halle Berry were recently spotted together on a plane to Montreal. Does this mean you’ll be back as Cyclops in X-Men: Days of Future Past?
MARSDEN: People get so excited about the convergence of the two casts and all the possibilities. But what it means is Halle and I were on a plane together, which has happened a few times, actually. The first time we flew together she was eating out of a huge bag from Burger King. I just sat there watching, thinking, I love you, Halle Berry.
PLAYBOY: What future would you like to see for Cyclops?
MARSDEN: Cyclops is a tricky character because his power is so weird. I mean, putting his finger to his ear? It’s not all that spectacular. There’s not a lot of action to that. I was able to do a minor fight scene in the second X-Men, which was cool. But fans still come up and say, “Cyclops kind of got shat on.” I agree. The character is a little bit of a stiff Boy Scout.
PLAYBOY: Did you get to keep the visor?
MARSDEN: They were nice enough to give me one. I think about wearing it every Halloween, but I’m too scared somebody will grab it and run away with it. It’s very delicate. Stan Lee also gave me something cool—an old Cyclops shampoo bottle that was a merchandising thing from the 1960s or 1970s.
PLAYBOY: What’s it like making chick flicks?
MARSDEN: What’s funny is guys coming up going, “Hey, man, you’re in my favorite movie of all time.” I’m thinking X-Men or whatever, and they’re like, “The Notebook. I was bawling at the end.” Like dude dudes, you know? Good for you, man! That’s great.
PLAYBOY: Was it awkward having sex in a bathroom with Kirsten Dunst in Bachelorette?
MARSDEN: People think, Oh my God, that must have been so great. I just find sex scenes uncomfortable. I’ve done scenes with women who were topless, and you’re hyperaware of not staring at their chests. You’re never thinking, Wow, this is really exciting. You just think, Wow, how can I reassure this actress I’m not a total perv?
PLAYBOY: You’ve made three movies with Frank Langella, who has been called Hollywood’s bitchiest man. True?
MARSDEN: I love Frank, but he has a dirty joke he tells over and over, and he’s going to hate me for sharing it: A guy walks into a patent office and says, “I’ve got an invention.” The clerk says, “What is it?” The guy says, “It’s an apple. Take a bite.” The clerk takes a bite and says, “It tastes like a banana.” “Turn it around,” the guy says. The clerk turns it around and takes another bite. “That tastes like a peach.” “Turn it around.” “It tastes like strawberries.” “It’s every fruit you can imagine in one fruit,” the guy says. The clerk goes, “This is ridiculous. People like their fruits with different flavors, different textures.” The guy’s upset because he worked so hard on it. The clerk leans over and whispers, “Can you make it taste like pussy?” The guy smiles and goes away. Six months later, he’s back with the apple. The clerk takes a bite and spits it out. “This tastes like shit!” he says. The guy says, “Turn it around.”
PLAYBOY: Any life lessons from playing Tina Fey’s dopey stay-at-home husband, Criss Chros, on 30 Rock?
MARSDEN: I just let her be the man in the relationship. Sometimes you have to let the woman be the guy, and Liz Lemon makes that easy.
PLAYBOY: What would you do if you didn’t have to work?
MARSDEN: Probably play fantasy football. It’s the most ridiculous waste of time ever invented. When I was growing up in Oklahoma, everybody was big into sports, but I couldn’t give two shits about it. I didn’t really have a football team; I did theater. Then two years ago my buddies needed an extra guy, and I wasn’t doing anything. I drafted a lineup and started winning. Now it’s like managing a small company. This year I’d like all running backs: Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch. I sound like the biggest fucking loser in the world right now.
PLAYBOY: Your dad’s a well-known authority on meat safety. Would you care to share some public service tips?
MARSDEN: I would be more wary about eating undercooked burgers than eating an undercooked steak. With steak there’s bacteria on the outside but not on the inside. When you take that raw piece of meat and grind it up, bacteria move to the middle. Readers, if you get anything from this interview, it’s this: Order your burgers medium-well.