The Musketeers’ Marc Warren on playing the villain – and being hated on The Good Wife

"I enjoy playing the baddies. They’re easier and more fun. And for some reason I just have that look – the look of the nutter. It’s something in the eyes. But anybody who knows me would say I’m not like that at all"

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From Hustle and Mad Dogs to The Musketeers, Marc Warren has made his name playing screw-ups, villains and ne’er-do-wells – but what drives him to pick these edgier roles?

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Radio Times got the chance to talk to Marc about his choice in parts – and pick his brains about a few telly favourites in the process. Read on to find out his ultimate career fear, why he tunes in to Ultimate Fighting and how one show’s fans got him sacked…

You always seem to play the baddie, as you do in The Musketeers. Is that what you’re like in real life?
No! I’m very nice in real life. But I’m doing another baddie soon in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, for the BBC. He’s an evil fairy who seduces women and takes them to his mansion. I enjoy playing the baddies. They’re easier and more fun. And for some reason I just have that look – the look of the nutter. It’s something in the eyes. But anybody who knows me would say I’m not like that at all.

Do you ever think about playing someone cuddly?
They’re very boring to play, and very difficult to play. I have done it and I really struggle playing those kinds of character. It’s not really my forte. I’m much better with people who have got problems, are on the edge, troubled and a bit wayward. That’s my bag.

You’ve done shows like Mad Dogs and The Musketeers, which involve blokes going off on location. You must have got up to some crazy stuff…
We didn’t get up to anything! We’re all blokes in our 40s and working long hours, normally six days a week, and getting up at 5.30am. It’s not that kind of gig. If I was in my 20s, just starting out, then good times for all. But not these days.

Marc Warren in The Musketeers

You did The Good Wife – what was it like working in the US?
My instant reaction was that I didn’t want to do it, but everybody said I should. I was in New York for five months and ended up feeling right at home. I was playing another wrong ’un, but the fans hated my character. I was the husband of one of the main girls and the fans turned against me.

I was booked for ten episodes, but I ended up doing nine. They hadn’t worked out how the audience would react.

How does British drama compare with US drama?
I don’t really get into that debate, but if you ask me what shows I love, they’d all be American shows: Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

What can’t you miss on television?
Ultimate Fighting Championship [the extremely violent American mixed martial arts competition, shown on BT Sport]. I’m bang into the UFC. Conor McGregor is my favourite fighter. He’s this crazy Irish guy. I don’t know why I like it; it’s pretty brutal. Maybe because I’m not brutal it fulfils that element within me. I’ve been watching it for quite a few years now. I’ve never been in a fight though.

Marc Warren in The Good Wife

What has you reaching for the off switch?
To be honest I don’t watch that much “live” television; it’s mostly things I’ve recorded. Television is like mass hypnosis, and if you have it just rumbling on in the background, you get sucked into the vortex. It can just drive you crackers. So I only really watch what I want to watch. 

What is your guilty pleasure?
Celebrity Big Brother. I have been down that road. When that show hits it can be car-crash television and really compulsive. You’d never get me into that or the I’m a Celebrity… jungle though. I never see myself as a celebrity. I’m just an actor; I turn up and say my lines. That would be the last day of my career.

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The Musketeers is on BBC1 tonight (Friday 27th February) at 9.00pm