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'Dead to Me's' James Marsden has some things to say about being the bad-guy lover

Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Q: It feels weird to say that you're good at it.

A: Well, anytime I get an opportunity to make fun of somebody that I would maybe make fun of in real life -- if I get to do that with a performance, it's fun. You don't get those opportunities to be that way -- nor would you want to be that way, in real life -- and also show complexities there too.

The guy has compartmentalized his whole life and he's created a facade of a business and a facade of a personality, really. And there's a little bit of psychosis in there. It's always interesting to find the most despicable part about the character and try to mine humanity out of it. And more importantly, how do you even find comedy in it. It was a nice challenge to find the balance in there with that.

Q: Was it any surprise that Steve starts the morning by jumping on a mini trampoline? It's such a good detail.

A: That's what is another thing that drew me to it -- Liz makes these observations about human behavior. Like, the Coen brothers are my favorite. They always are really very good at highlighting and displaying really some odd and weird things about human behavior. And here's this guy talking about, "I got to get on my tramp and get my blood flowing." He's got a ... mini trampoline on his balcony that he jumps up and down on like a child.

I wanted to be in the room when Liz came up with that idea. Because I can see a studio executive, like, "Cut that out, what does that even mean? Like, why is he doing that?"

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But it's so perfect. The weirder and more bizarre behavior there is in a role, the more I'm drawn to it. Even if there's no reason for it whatsoever. Like the first scene you see him in, he's like, "I got to go, I'm running a bath. Like, my bath water's running." He's a 45-year-old man and just completely unabashedly saying, "Yeah, I'm running a bath, I got to go."

Q: In "Westworld," your character Teddy died over and over again. Was it a nice change of pace to only have to die once?

A: Yes! I knew 1/8about the death3/8 before we started shooting. 1/8Liz3/8 gave me the bullet points, highlights of the season so that I could connect the dots. And I knew that that was how it ended. I used to be the guy who doesn't get the girl, and now I'm the guy who doesn't live. But yes, it was great to only die once and permanently.

Q: Given that you seem to have mastered the art of the death, how do you view it? Are you someone who fears it or is at peace with it?

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