Can you picture James Marsden as the Merlion?
The Westworld and X-Men star on what he likes about the Lion City
SINGAPORE — By now, most television buffs would have caught Westworld, HBO’s futuristic blockbuster about an amusement park set in the Wild West, where rich guests can have their way with their android “hosts”.
But even as audiences prepare for the series’ highly-anticipated season finale on Monday (Dec 5 at 10am Singapore time), actor James Marsden, who plays a gun-slinging host on the show, has been having a considerably more relaxing time than his character on Westworld.
The 43-year-old, who is currently promoting Westworld in Singapore, has clearly gotten acquainted with the city’s most popular icon.
“Maybe I could be a Merlion,” he quipped, when asked which host he would play if Westworld were set in Singapore.
“I guess I would be a statue, but a real one. If Westworld were in Singapore, that would be my request. I would be a Merlion in Singaporeworld.”
The actor has also gotten acquainted with the culinary offerings of the Lion City.
“I love that I am here for a while. There’s nothing more frustrating than visiting a new city or country and not having the time to actually experience it,” said Marsden, who flew into town last Saturday.
“I have been working a bit, doing interviews and things like that, but I got taken to a chicken rice place the other day. This has been a culinary extravaganza for me — I have been eating my way through the country. Some of the best food I have had in a long time!” he enthused.
“And I just love the chilli! (I have been) putting chilli on everything. That has been great! I haven’t had much time other than that, other than mainly experiencing Singapore from a culinary place at the moment, just trying out new food and all of that. I have a day off on Friday and I want to see some more things. I want to try laksa. I want to go maybe on the Night Safari and check that out.”
Marsden, whose other memorable films include the original X-Men trilogy (as Cyclops), Enchanted and 27 Dresses, said the other thing he liked about being in Singapore was how he could wander around town without having to go incognito.
“The few people that have come up to me and wanted an autograph or a picture have been very kind and nice and appreciative. Nobody has really bothered me here,” he said. “It has been really nice to blend in. Sometimes when you go incognito, that’s when they recognise you more. Put a hat and sunglasses and a coat, and (people will go) who’s the guy with the hat and sunglasses and coat? But if you do as the locals do, everyone just kind of treats you like normal.”
Q: If you were a guest in Westworld, what would you do?
A: I want to go with all the people I think I know, my friends and my family, and see how they behave. Oh I thought I knew you, but you’re sick. We can’t be friends anymore. (Laughs)
Q: The show takes a pretty dim view on humanity though. Are you equally cynical about human nature?
A: Well, it’s kind of a two-sided answer. I know how dark humankind can be sometimes, but I remain optimistic and hopeful about who we are as people. And I think the show in its own strange way does as well. Because I think the show presents the idea is what it means to be human. And I think the robots for the most part seem more human than some of the humans do. I try never to be overwhelmed with a cynical attitude towards where we are going. I believe in people, I believe in humanity. I believe in the virtues, the good things we can do in this world for each other, I believe in it. If I lose faith in that then what’s it all worth? That said, there are things that concern me. I have kids, a lot of people getting numb to certain things. Issues of violence, you never ever want to become numb to that, and sometimes with gaming and things like that, you can be. You can become numb to it and I think it’s important that we remain aware of the downside of all of that. I have never questioned or thought about it more until I had children, because once I am gone they are going to be here, and their kids will be here, and their grandkids. And I hope we can stay on a good trajectory, and I am hopeful about that.
Q: If you could build an amusement park like Westworld anywhere in the world, in any period, where would it be?
A: I hadn’t thought about that, that’s a really good question. Maybe 12th century England, with knights and jousting. That would be kind of fun. The Napoleonic era, Genghis Khan. Oh what about the 30s, gangster times? That would be cool. It’d be like virtual, real-world Halloween, you get to dress up and wear cool clothes and fire a Tommy gun.
The final episode of Westworld will air on Dec 5 at 10am, with a same day encore at 9pm, exclusively on HBO (StarHub Ch 601). Viewers can watch the entire season of Westworld on HBO Signature (HBO TV Ch 603) from 10am on Dec 24, as well as on HBO On Demand (StarHub TV Ch 602) and StarHub Go.
Source: Today Online