The breakout actor in this summer's much-anticipated sci-fi blockbuster Prometheus has the looks of a movie star but the soul of a classical stage actor.
"When your father directed your mother in Orpheus Descending," says Logan Marshall-Green of his drama-teacher parents, "the kid's going to be a theater nerd."
The 35-year-old Charleston, South Carolina, native has picked up a few onscreen credits over the past decade (the morally depraved Trey on The O.C., the antiwar extremist Paco in Across the Universe), but he's mostly worked Off Broadway—opposite Kevin Kline in King Lear and as the cholera-stricken Lloyd in Adam Rapp's The Hallway Trilogy. The latter performance caught the eye of the legendary casting director Avy Kaufman. "She called me in and said, 'Look, I can't tell you much, but this is a science-fiction movie that Ridley Scott is directing,'" Marshall-Green recalls. "I knew exactly what that meant."
Indeed, his role opposite Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron is sure to turn the low-profile actor (he's been linked to Marisa Tomei, but they're rarely seen together) into a hot Hollywood commodity.
Prometheus (which hits theaters on June 8) follows a crew of deep-space explorers, but the rest of the story is shrouded in mystery (there's speculation that it's a prequel to 1979's Alien). "I think we're supposed to tell you that nobody dies—but I die, like, three times," he jokes. "It's very vaudeville."
Read the extended interview with Logan Marshall-Green below.
—Rachel Rosenblit, entertainment editor at Details
DETAILS: You're a self-professed theater nerd, but you're about to star in the biggest movie of the summer. Are you ready?
Logan Marshall-Green: Well, it's a big movie—and safe to say, a very historic return to science fiction for Ridley Scott. But right now, I'm trying to find the next right job, not the next job, you know? I'm still going to make the same hard choices and deny the money for the smaller, better role.
DETAILS: But it might change the kind of attention people pay you, and you've mentioned before that you're not a huge fan of doing interviews—or, specifically, video interviews.
Logan Marshall-Green: I just think the more we're observed by other people, the less we can observe them in order to play them and find their true condition. The greats, the actors who I love … I don't ever see them, except for their work. For me, print is a good medium for exposure because it's just words, black and white, whereas with video, the mystery's stolen a little bit. And I'm not saying that's necessarily good or bad, because times change. We aren't in the silver-screen era where these actors were gods because we had no idea who they were. Due to mass exposure now, it's very easy to kill your gods.
DETAILS: Prometheus was filmed in 3-D, which is inescapable nowadays. But isn't it starting to feel sort of gratuitous and marketing-driven?
Logan Marshall-Green: I'm with you—most of the 3-D I've seen is crap. But the idea behind the angles of the shots, the lenses, the production, the lighting—and of course the way [cinematographer] Dariusz [Wolski] shot this thing—it was every day understood to be an immersive world. So it's not going to be a 3-D that jumps through the screen at you, and it's not gonna be primary-colored and comic-book-feeling. What makes it jarring is how real it is. Hopefully, you're forgetting it's this 3-D film, because you're simply living in it, like everybody else in the movie.
DETAILS: So, not the 3-D that gives you a headache?
Logan Marshall-Green: Well, hopefully you'll get a headache from holding your breath. But it won't be from the 3-D.
DETAILS: Nice sound bite.
Logan Marshall-Green: You like that? I worked on that all night. I should trademark that shit and sell it to Fox.
DETAILS: Your mom, Lowry Marshall, is the artistic director of Brown University's repertory-theater department. Were you the kid growing up who knew every lyric to every musical?
Logan Marshall-Green: Musicals—that's where my theater knowledge is lacking. Of course, my mom certainly knows her musicals. She used to be in a Cats club, actually. I'm not kidding.
DETAILS: A Cats club? Like, they would see the play over and over?
Logan Marshall-Green: I just remember the T-shirts. When it came out in the eighties, she and these women would get together and wear Cats T-shirts.
DETAILS: Did they do the face paint?
Logan Marshall-Green: I don't think they did—I would definitely still be paying for that in therapy.
DETAILS: You know, when you image-search your name on Google, a picture of you in a Cats T-shirt comes up.
Logan Marshall-Green: That's all for my mom. I work out in that shirt. It's, you know, for irony—a really bad attempt at irony.
DETAILS: When you're in New York, do you get to see much theater? Have you seen Death of a Salesman yet?
Logan Marshall-Green: I'm going this week. That's the role I eventually want to play.
DETAILS: Biff Loman?
Logan Marshall-Green: Willy. I mean, I'd love to play Biff or Happy, too—but the idea is to stay in this game long enough to play Willy Loman, you know?
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