Justin Theroux on playing the bad guy — in movies and his marriage

When Justin Theroux started dating Jennifer Aniston, his urbane biker look generated some serious supermarket-tabloid side-eye. “Like, ‘Mr. Wrong,’ ‘He Sucks,’ whatever,” Theroux says, laughing. “‘Who is this guy, how dare he?’”

This was the inevitable challenge of courting America’s sweetheart. “My wife is very beloved,” Theroux says. “As she is by me. So there was this thing of, ‘Who’s this dark, horrible person?’ Maybe the fact that I wear a lot of black had something to do with that.”

But at 46, and having just celebrated their second wedding anniversary, he’s comfortable saying his look is here to stay. “I’m not gonna take any wild fashion swings at this point,” the “Leftovers” star tells Alexa on the set of our cover shoot. “I’m pretty much black jeans, black boots and T-shirts. Makes laundry very simple.”

‘At first you think he could be, like, a serial killer, but he is actually the nicest person in the world.’

 – Jennifer Aniston

Theroux’s monochromatic uniform may give off a don’t-F-with-me vibe, but get him talking and his cover is blown: He’s warm, open and quick with a joke. It’s a light-dark balance that’s reflected in his acting career, which ranges from dramatic and brooding (“The Girl on the Train,” “Mulholland Dr.,” “American Psycho”) to shamelessly goofy (“Wanderlust,” “The Ten,” “Your Highness”). As Aniston once put it, “At first you think he could be, like, a serial killer, but he is actually the nicest person in the world.”

The two sides are both at work on his latest gig, voicing black-clad bad guy Garmadon in “The Lego Ninjago Movie.” For a man who just spent three seasons marinating in grief on HBO’s show about the Rapture, Theroux found the villain’s cackle to be a surprisingly heavy lift. “One whole recording session, they just wanted maniacal laughter,” he says. “It’s like a workout. By the end I never wanted to maniacally laugh again.”

But he does laugh, albeit not quite maniacally, when describing his new obsession: “I just found a Netflix show I’m addicted to, called ‘Embarrassing Bodies,’” he says. “It’s the most English thing I’ve ever seen. They set up a mobile clinic in Leeds, and say, ‘You’re welcome to pop in here if you have something you don’t want your doctor to see.’ It cracks us up. It’s always way worse than you thought it was going to be, and there’s no…

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