The actor talks Singapore food, regaining superpowers and filming nude for “Westworld”
Photos: Pamela Chow & Courtesy of HBO
Voted one of the handsomest men alive, James Marsden can make a boring grey couch look good. He sits on one across from us, looking eager and sprightly for a Wednesday morning.
After completing his run as Cyclops, aka Scott Summers, in the X-Men trilogy, Marsden is back to electrify fans with his boyish charm. He returns as the handsome, artificially intelligent cowboy Teddy Flood in HBO’s latest sci-fi series, “Westworld”.
The titular Western town is in fact a virtually constructed park where visitors can indulge in all sorts of sins – from decadent to depraved.
In Singapore for the first time, Marsden speaks to us about his experience with weird dreams, superhero work and filming what has been referred to as “the next ‘Game of Thrones'”.
Hi James! How has your first visit to Singapore been?
It’s been a remarkable experience so far. I’m eating my way through this country. I’ve had the most amazing food in my life, some of which scare me – was it durian? [Laughs] And I had some amazing chicken rice yesterday and I’m looking forward to having some laksa. I’ve eaten more than I needed to!
There’s a great sense of pride that everyone has here and I wish there was a little more of that back where I’m from.
How much of the plot twists in “Westworld” did you know beforehand?
We rarely had much more information than the audience has until we get the script to shoot the scene. Sometimes we’d get it just a few days before. We didn’t know where our character arcs were going through the season – so it was a fun mystery for us as well.
But I had no problem with it. I wanted to go along filming like I was an audience member; I wanted the mysteries to reveal themselves on their own time.
How did you feel when filming the scenes inspired by old Western films?
I’ve been a fan of cinema and Westerns for a long time, so to be riding a horse in Utah, chasing the fair maiden with these beautiful butes in the background, feeling like I was in a John Ford film – it was a special experience. It had a dream-like quality to it and it enriches the show. Hopefully, we get to do a lot more of that in Season 2.
Talking about dream-like – do you have any bizarre dreams?
Boy, I can’t really remember them. I try to forget the ones that are really twisted. I had a dream last night and Hugh Jackman was in it. [Laughs] It wasn’t anything nefarious, but, um, I think I was helping him build a house or something. [Laughs]