Westworld star James Marsden is featured in the June 2018 issue of Men’s Health.
On Westworld, he’s an android cowboy with a mysterious past. But there’s nothing robotic about James Marsden, a thoughtful guy who doesn’t shy from emotion.
Do Westworld robots cry real tears? That’d be a question for the bloggers and the Redditors who obsess over the hit HBO science-fiction mindbender. But right now, on a weekday morning in the Santa Monica Mountains, Teddy Flood is welling up.
James Marsden, the actor who plays Flood, has just shared some heartfelt thoughts about family and fatherhood, and his eyes are moist. “Sorry, I get emotional when I talk about this stuff,” he says.
It’s clear that an intelligent sense of humor has served Marsden well in his career, now at the quarter-century mark and humming along nicely. His Westworld character—a seemingly good guy with a secret — has “died” several times at the malevolent bemusement park where his robot “lives.” He’ll die some more, no doubt. He may or may not end up with Dolores, and his past could remain a mystery for several seasons if the popularity of the show continues.
“It makes us look at behavior, and we see some very dark behavior on this show,” Marsden says. “I have to wash it off afterward, and then physically I have to wash it off to get the blood out of my ears and body orifices. You just have to learn to roll with the craziness.”
Marsden feels safe knowing that when he tries, even if he fails, the effort is still a kind of success. “I’m very proud and very lucky to be doing what I do. I want to move people. I love it when people stop me to say they love my work or thought I was funny, or that I made them cry. That’s always important to me. But if I couldn’t do this anymore, my happiness is knowing that I’m a fully realized person and my happiness isn’t dependent on being a success within Hollywood. I want to be able to step away and be fulfilled. There is so much more to life like giving love and being decent. I want to lead with my heart,” he says, pausing. “This is getting deep. I have to stop now. I’m getting too emotional.”
Westworld airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.
Photography: Art Streiber