James Marsden talks 'Westworld's' success, recalls early days on 'iconic' shows like 'Party of Five'

It’s good to play for a winner, even when “you’re here to be the loser” and no matter how many times you die.

Just ask James Marsden, who plays Teddy Flood, the robotic host of the smash HBO series “Westworld.”

There’s no place Marsden, whose character dies regularly on the show, would rather be right now. Being part of a show that’s been nominated for 22 Emmys — tied with “Saturday Night Live” for the most this year — can have that effect.

“I don't think anybody anticipated 22,” Marsden says. “It's a testament to the show and the people involved. It took some time to get it the way we wanted it to be, but it shows that if you really care about something, sometimes you may need to slow down just to get it right.

“We did that a few times in the shoot, and then the show came out and was very well received.”

It was received well at Comic Con in San Diego over the weekend, too, when the cast teased some footage from Season 2, which will air next year.

Teddy Flood is a great role at just the right time for Marsden, who had roles in “Party of Five,” “Saved by the Bell” and “Touched by an Angel” during their heyday, but never was a regular on any of them — though he could have been.

“‘Party of Five’ … I think I was meant to be a regular on the show, but they didn't know if they were getting picked up for a second season and I was offered another TV show,” Marsden recalled. “So I took ['Second Noah'] in sort of a gamble, not knowing if ‘Party of Five” was going to be picked up. So, unfortunately, I went into that, and ‘Party of Five’ had to recast because I was off on another show.”

But Marsden, 43, said he has no regrets.

“At that time, I was 19, 20, and it was just about getting work,” he said. “Obviously I knew what those shows were.

“I would go in and do a fun guest star on something and then move on and try to find something that might turn itself into a career. Along the way, I guess, it's fun to be a part of shows that were iconic.”

And though his character has a knack for dropping dead on “Westworld,” Marsden had better luck in the Doritos “Bold or Boom Challenge” at Comic Con, where his Team Nacho Cheese beat Joel McHale’s Team Cool Ranch.

That’s right … When it was over, the Cheese stood alone.