James Marsden talks Westworld and virtuous superheroes
James Marsden, age 44, was a Versace model in the early Nineties before his acting career took off, with a show called . In the last 24 years, he’s been in over 40 movies, and gotten to play the most glamorous roles, because – duh – that face. He did the romantic type, the mutant, the sidekick, the prince but, most often, the hot guy who loses in the end.
In 2016, he closed the loop with his return to TV as the endearing humanoid cowboy on HBO’s explosive sci-fi epic , starring alongside Evan Rachel Wood, Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Thandie Newton. “What’s been a common thread,” in how his Teddy Flood was received, he says, “[was] how much empathy he gets. He’s collected a lot of bullets in his life in the worst possible way. I guess a lot of people want him to stop getting shot.”
Will he, in the new season? Marsden can’t say, yet, but offers this: “If you see the trajectory of the storylines of these characters at the end of Season 1, you see what’s begun to fall apart, that these characters start to gain sentience, a little bit of control over themselves. I think you can anticipate an exploration of that on a much grander scale.”
Growing up in the Seventies in Oklahoma in the US, the sort of SFF Marsden was fascinated by was and . But mostly, he says, “the original  was my favourite. Or anything that was scored by John Williams [who composed the iconic theme song].
“Christopher Reeves was, to me, the epitome of Superman,” Marsden says. “Before we had to have all our superheroes dark and mysterious and brooding, he was virtuous. He still is. These days, a character like that can look a little more… milquetoast, to some people. But I think his commitment to good and purity are the sort of things we need in the world today.” Amen.
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