James Marsden: I Want To Be A Superhero Again

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'".

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How did you feel about filming nude in a scene with Anthony Hopkins?

Yeah, talk about surreal and dream-like – [I was thinking to myself] “What am I doing for a living? This is crazy.” I got to work opposite one of the greatest thespians of our time, and there I was sitting in my birthday suit. [Laughs]

There was a part of me that was nervous about that and a part of me that absolutely loved that. For me, the more bizarre it gets in a film or TV show, the more interesting it is.

And [Hopkins] was great – he would tell jokes and make me laugh in between takes. He would launch into Marlon Brando impersonations and talk about his art and symphonies that he writes, and when they say “action”, he’ll just become one of the scariest people you’ve ever watched. [Laughs]

Did you have a childhood theme park fantasy?

When I was a kid, I had the idea of a magical being coming to my bedroom and flying me off to Neverland, or to some crazy island with pirates and mermaids. But I was more into having magic or superpowers. [Laughs]

But now you got me thinking about how that would be like for me as an adult.

Well, you got to play Cyclops in X-Men. Any plans to return to the world of superheroes?

X-Men was a very special thing for me to be a part of and we got to be very close as a family. It’s been about six years for me and I would not be opposed to doing that again. It was a childhood fantasy come true and it’s still very popular – I didn’t think it would go on this long!

We are infatuated with Marvel and DC. The material is so rich, and I’d love to find something else to do – if I’m allowed to play another character.

Which other superhero would you most like to play?

When I was a kid, I always thought I’d be a good Spiderman, because I always thought I was really skinny and I liked to climb things. But that role’s been taken. I could play Spiderman when he’s, like, 50. [Laughs] I’ll teach the young Spiderman and not have to jump around so much.

At one point, a lot of fans were saying that I’d make a good Hal Jordan [Green Lantern]. If you know a character I could take, let me know. I’ll go after it.

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