Westworld Bits: Everyone Comments on That Shocking Twist, Jimmi Simpson Promises No “Bullsh–t” Cliffhangers, and the Inevitable ‘Blazing Saddles’ Mash-Up
Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
In this edition of Westworld Bits:
- Sidse Babett Knudsen talks about the shocking events of this week’s episode.
- Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy talk about the shocking events of this week’s episode.
- Jeffrey Wright also talks about the shocking events of this week’s episode.
- Jimmi Simpson promises that season one won’t end with a “bullshit cliffhanger.”
- Video game developers comment on whether or not Westworld is accurate to their process.
- Westworld gets mashed-up with a classic (and not-so-classic) western comedy.
- The latest fan theories and easter eggs, explored.
- And more!
Sidse Babett Knudsen’s Theresa Cullen became Westworld‘s first onscreen human casualty in the final minutes of this week’s episode, beaten to death by Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard moments after learning that her colleague and lover was actually a secret Host built by Dr. Robert Ford. Knudsen spoke about the experience of shooting the episode with IndieWire, where she revealed that she almost suspected the truth about Bernard by taking note of Wright’s acting choices:
When I read [Episode 7]. Oh, man, it was so weird because when we started shooting, I thought there was something in the way [Wright] looks kind of in my eyes but not really in my eyes — the way Jeffery would act in those intimate moments. The first scene I said, “God, you’re a robot, aren’t you?” And there was no reaction, there was no reaction at all, and then I thought, silly me, of course he’s not, come on. So my instincts were right, but I felt so ridiculous thinking it, so I was kind of ashamed. But then when I read it, I went, “Yowza!” I was right. It was so deliciously horrible to find out.
You can read the rest of the interview, where she delves into the logistics of shooting a violent death scene, at the link above.
It turns out that Jeffrey Wright has known the truth about his character for quite some time. Speaking with Variety, showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy dissected the twists of “Trompe L’Oeil,” with Nolan revealing that they told Wright the truth early on so he could tailor his performance accordingly:
We told him after the pilot, before episode 2 — not because that was the way we were going with the story, but because we wanted him to be able to play the role as immersively as possible. But we had reasons that I can’t get into that dictated we be clear with him about some aspects of his performance. With our actors, for the most part, we try to leave them in the dark as much as possible. With Jeffrey, we had the conversation relatively early.
Joy elaborated on the relationship between Dr. Ford and Bernard, especially since it’s become increasingly clear that the founder of Westworld has spent the vast majority of his scenes so far in the company of hosts, not human beings:
I think it’s the trap of these creations and having the kind of power that Ford wields. It’s always threatening to lose your own perspective on things. So while the hosts are having a hard time figuring out who they are and what they want, I think it can sometimes lead to conflict within the humans too. From the very beginning, Ford had this track record of talking to robots. He’s talking to Old Bill when we started this series. You just get this sense that there’s no one else he can trust, so he’s kind of talking to echoes of himself. He’s become this kind of Platonic Pygmalion and Galatea. You create your creatures, and you might not start to fall in romantic love with them, but you love them, and you need them in order to express yourself.
The parade of spoiler interviews continues with Vulture‘s conversation with Jeffrey Wright, who spoke about whether or not knowing the truth about Bernard made him tweak the way he plays the role:
It didn’t affect my performance so much as it affected my awareness of certain moments and certain elements of it. For example, the realization that Bernard has this discovery of the origin of problems with the hosts and of the park itself, to some extent, was equally a journey of self-discovery. So just that added dimension and added level of reflection was useful.
As one of the few actors to share many scenes with him, Wright also spoke about working with Anthony Hopkins and the conversations they’d have between takes:
When I know that I have to work with another actor for an extensive amount of time, my primary concern is whether or not we’ll work well together. It has less to do with the concern of engaging on camera as it does off camera. [Laughs.] So I was just curious about that, and I don’t recall the details of our first conversation, but I realized that he’s a wonderful guy and a fascinating thinker. Half the joy for me of working with him was talking to him when the camera wasn’t rolling. Largely about politics and the social disaster that is Donald Trump’s campaign and Trump himself.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d love to be a fly on the wall while Anthony Hopkins and Jeffrey Wright talk about politics…
Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy also spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the series, with Joy providing commentary on one of the most disturbing scenes of the series so far – the beating of Clementine:
For me, it’s one of those scenes I find the most emotional this season. Not only because this scene where they have one host abuse her — it’s so harrowing — but weirdly I get more emotional when she starts beating him back, because I’m like, “Kill everyone, Clementine, kill everyone!” And when she’s stopped in her tracks I get so mad. And Angela in this scene, within the plot of this series, they would have to pick somebody [for the rigged demo] you would never see coming. That’s how you sell the idea the hosts are dangerous. She’s the most innocent, the most loving of all of them. She’s like this delicate bunny rabbit. And Angela is like this gentle, kind, etherial creature with an incredible sense of movement and grace. And when you take all the power and intelligence — both in an actor and in her character — and then you unleash it, you get to see a wonderful scene.
When asked about her “lobotomy,” Nolan explained exactly what the Westworld technicians were doing to Clementine after that violent demo:
It’s a little more complicated than that. They’re physically removing part of her personality. It’s like when the NSA has a hard drive they want to get rid of. They don’t just erase it, they drill holes in it. The mind of the hosts are organized similar to a human mind, with that frontal lobe containing most of the code for her personality. So the person we know as Clementine is largely gone.
So while actress Angela Sarafyan may stick around and have a role to play, Clementine herself seems to have left the show for good.