Broadway Star Brian d’Arcy James Talks ‘Something Rotten’ and ‘Spotlight’

Brian Darcy Something Rotten Shrek
Dustin Aksland for Variety

When the new Tom McCarthy movie “Spotlight” comes out later this year, you might not recognize one of its stars. That guy next to Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams? That’s stage veteran Brian d’Arcy James (“Shrek the Musical,” “Smash”), currently starring in Broadway comedy “Something Rotten.”

How’s “Something Rotten” going?

I just love how absurd it is, and I love the form and the style of a good old classic musical comedy. After “Shrek,” it was really appealing to play a human being instead of an ogre!

You’re the lead in this one, as you were in “Shrek.”

I’m drawn to that challenge, the responsibility of being the lead of a big Broadway musical. I like being quarterback.

Were you surprised to get the part in “Spotlight”?

When I  went in for the audition, I heard the casting director talking about who’s interested in the role that I was auditioning for, and of course they’re all big names of people I admire. I thought, “Oh, great, I guess this is not happening.”

Was it a good experience?

It was a thrill. I was doing some of the voiceover work and watching these scenes, and there I was, with Birdman and the Hulk and Rachel. I said to Tom, “I’ve been trying very hard to be cool about this, but I gotta tell you: I can’t believe that’s me in there!”

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