Logan Marshall-Green was a punk kid whose life could have taken a much darker turn. “Mom did a good job of keeping me and my brother out of jail—for the most part,” the 35-year-old actor says with a mischievous grin.
“I mean, we still went to jail, but…” Marshall-Green and his identical-twin brother, film and television writer Taylor, both “ego-driven Scorpios” with a “Cain and Abel” dynamic, ran roughshod over the demands of their single mother while growing up in South Carolina. “I spent a couple of nights in jail. But it could have been worse, and we owe a lot of that to my mom, who somehow found a way to instill in us some sense of responsibility and moral fiber.”
If you spend enough time in New York, you’ll recognize guys like Marshall-Green, a working theater actor who’s happy toiling in grubby black boxes and reciting lines of Shakespeare to a half-empty room. “You can take just one sonnet and work it for a week,” he says. “It just goes to show what you can continue to wring out of the Bard’s verse.” Luckily for him, Marshall-Green also happens to look like a movie star. He has the sturdy physique of a dockworker and a languid handsomeness that insinuates itself, first suddenly and then gradually. It’s a physical alchemy that has served him well during his search for film and television projects such as Fox’s beloved soap opera The O.C., the M. Night Shyamalan–penned thriller Devil, and this summer’s Prometheus, filmmaker Ridley Scott’s prologue to the genre-defining Alien franchise.
He recently moved to Los Angeles, but divides his time between downtown L.A. and New York’s East Village to pursue both stage and screen acting. “I consider myself to be pretty blue-collar when it comes to punching a clock and handing a specific service over to people to help them get from A to B—like a bus driver,” he says, which isn’t to suggest that he’s devoid of passion. “Theater is a very religious thing for me. When you’re performing eight times a week, you’re being asked to carve your heart out, or fall in love, and every night you are challenging yourself to do that. It’s one of the toughest jobs out there.” In Hollywood, he says, he can tell the difference between those who parachuted into the business versus those who honed their craft. “You can spot the ones who didn’t wear their costume to high school the day their play opened,” he says, laughing.
Marshall-Green, who recently filmed Black Dog, Red Dog, an adaptation of Stephen Dobyns’ award-winning book of poetry, with Chloë Sevigny, James Franco, and Olivia Wilde, is an avid hiker and adventurer. He wears a tarnished gold chain and a chunky bronze ring on his finger. He has an arresting gaze, the kind that’s often adopted by highway patrol officers when you’ve been caught going 100 in a 70 zone. He is intense but not stuffy or self-serious, and you can tell he reads your every gesture. Until he turned 18, Marshall-Green wanted to broadcast New York Mets games on the radio for a living, partly out of a fanaticism for baseball but also just to do something worlds apart from his parents’ professions. His mother, Lowry Marshall, is a professor of theater at Brown University, and his father, the late Russell Earl Green, was also an actor. “I didn’t want to be in the theater, even though I’d done it my whole life. I just wanted to perform live. I wanted to be the next Bob Murphy,” he says of the legendary sports broadcaster.