James Marsden’s role as John F. Kennedy has put the hunky actor on the map as one of Hollywood’s hottest bachelors, but The Butler actor still feels uncomfortable with his status as a sex symbol and prefers to play more laid-back characters.

“I’d rather play a goofball or a rube than a steamy leading man role,” Marsden said. “I’m actually less comfortable being the smoldering hot guy,” the 39-year-old admitted. “I know I have a face like a model. But I’m actually just a goofy drama nerd underneath.” The Butler star has certainly been turning heads as of late, looking dapper on the red carpets for his new film based on the famed Lee Daniels novel.

James Marsden James Marsden's rugged Out magazine cover proves the JFK star is a Hollywood heartthrob, but the humble actor is still uncomfortable with his sex symbol status.

Marsden also suited up for a steamy photo shoot for OUT, with a cover line proclaiming him as “the sexiest nerd you will ever meet.” Yet, Marsden seems unfazed by his sex appeal, preferring instead to focus on his movie career, which he promises will never include cheesy roles. “I never set out to make a bad movie,” Marsden explained. “Some movies just turn out bad, and I want to scream, ‘Why did you pick that take?’”

The actor has gotten lucky with some flicks, however, which turned out to be far more successful than he originally anticipated. “There are some movies that I’ve been in that I was sure people would laugh at that have become huge,” the Hollywood hunk said. “I thought The Notebook was going to be a schmaltzy movie-of-the-week type thing, and here we are,” Marsden pointed out.  

James Marsden James Marsden and his Butler costar Minka Kelly look just as glamorous as the real JFK and Jackie O, but the sexy actor said he prefers more laid-back roles.

His latest role as American icon John F. Kennedy was perhaps the most challenging character Marsden has had to portray, though his knack for impersonating the former president proves why he was chosen for the part. In fact, Daniels, who directed the film adaptation, said he was drawn to Marsden’s unique passion and his ability to poignantly deliver JFK lines. “I’ve been a big fan of his work for a long time,” Daniels said of Marsden.

“The man loves to do his homework – and he did so much homework. He came in and did a perfect impression of John [Kennedy], but I told him, ‘OK, now you say the speech how you would say it,’” Daniels recalled. “I picked him because I think he embodies the youthful side of Kennedy that gave so many people hope.”