James Marsden was ‘anxiety-ridden’ while filming Jury Duty: ‘Are we doing the right thing?’
James Marsden has admitted that he was “anxiety-ridden” while filming word-of-mouth hit show Jury Duty.
Released on Amazon Freevee in April, the mockumentary show follows a group of people taking part in jury duty in the US.
However, one member of the jury, Ronald Gladden, does not realise that the trial isn’t real and genuinely believes he is taking part in a documentary about the legal system.
Serving on the fake jury alongside Gladden was Enchanted star Marsden, who played a heightened, obnoxious version of himself.
In a new interview with W Magazine, Marsden admitted that the experience had been incredibly stressful, as he was constantly questioning the ethics of the show and its treatment of Gladden.
“As fun as Jury Duty was, it was a slog. It wasn’t anything glamorous,” he said.
“I was anxiety-ridden throughout. ‘What’s this show? What is its identity? Are we doing the right thing by this person? Am I funny? Am I going to screw it up?’ I’ve never slept better because I would go home and just collapse, but then I’d wake up invigorated creatively.”
Gladden applied to be on Jury Duty in 2021 after reading a Craigslist advert calling for participants for a documentary about the process of serving on a jury.
In the show’s final episode, he is told that the trial has not been real and shown how the entire set-up has been orchestrated. He also received $100,000 (about £80,000).
Speaking about the moment Gladden found out the truth, Marsden said: “The only thing that I was prepared to do was sprint up to the witness stand, give him the biggest hug, look him in the eye and tell him, “We weren’t trying to make you the butt of the joke. The friendship we created was real and we’re here to celebrate you.”
“You’re not gonna be able to process all of that in an afternoon. I can’t even take a surprise birthday party. So it was important to me that he knew that after that day, I was a presence in his life in a positive way.”
Jury Duty is available to stream on Amazon Freevee now.