Westworld Bits: Everyone Comments On That Shocking Twist, Jimmi Simpson Promises No "Bullsh–t" Cliffhangers, And The Inevitable 'Blazing Saddles' Mash-Up

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.

westworld theresa video confrence chinese board member

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.

Westworld episode 7

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...

westworld host blood

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.

Westworld episode 7

Even though Westworld has been officially given the green light for a second season, don't think the first season finale will leave everything unanswered. Jimmi Simpson, who plays William on the show, spoke with TV Line and declared that season one won't end with a "bullshit cliffhanger":

I would say I was on the edge of my seat all the way until I got the tenth script... I think we all had different ideas, and then when 10 came — I think I could speak for most of the cast — the general feeling was like, "Holy f—king s—t." Because basically, what they've done is they've somehow tied up everything you wanted to know and then pointed this whole world of other s–t that you hadn't really thought of that now you really, really want to know, too. It's not some bulls–t cliffhanger where you're like, "Oh f–k, what now?" It's like, "Oh my God, thank you, and I can't wait for more."

As much as I love digging into Westworld's mysteries, it makes me sigh with relief to know that the show is actually going to address them rather than bat them around for the next five years.

Westworld episode 7

io9 has posted one of the most inspired Westworld articles yet: a series of comments and observations about the series from video game developers. In my weekly spoiler reviews, I've commented on how the show frequently reflects what it's like to play a video game (especially a video game that offers an open world experience), so it's satisfying to realize that it reflects the other end of the gaming experience as well. For a sample, here's Walt Williams, a writer on Spec Ops: The Line and The Darkness II:

I think it gets a lot of the personalities of the developers right, for sure. Like in the past two episodes, Anthony Hopkins' character has really kind of opened up with his ego. And it's a personality that I've seen time and time again. In the first two episodes. he's very humble and almost approachable. [He's meeting] these people halfway and there comes a point where he's just like, 'No no no, you see, until now we were just having a conversation. Now you've fucked with mine, so now I have to fuck with yours. And I'm God here.'

You've got the corporate woman who is clearly kind of in this interesting publisher role, but you also have these recognizable personality types in these other roles. Jeffery Wright's character has this very quiet quality to him that is very reminiscent of my experience with programmers and people who were spending their time really working and digging in with the code and not necessarily the most social.

You've got the guys on the lower levels who are doing their QA and repair jobs, but secretly thinking they should be the guys on the upper levels. In the industry, we always get pissed at that guy, 'cause we're like "Hey man, just do your job. I know that you're trying to impress people and show that you can do this, but just do your job." But I also get being the guy down at the bottom wanting to prove that you can do the other thing. The way that they worked that in the show was much better than most people tend to go about it in the industry. Whereas that guy was just like, "I'm actually trying to learn to do it first" instead of just being like, "I know how to do it and you all need to listen to me." Which we see a lot of.

You can read many more at the link above.

In so many ways, this was inevitable: someone has mashed up Westworld with footage from Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles. What wasn't inevitable is that is works shockingly well, especially since a few lines of dialogue from both film and show work extremely well when placed in a new context.

And if you want to see Westworld mashed up with a far lesser western comedy, Funny or Die has Ridiculous World, which blends the HBO series with Netflix's unfathomably awful The Ridiculous 6.

Artist Ollie Boyd is selling his new Westworld poster for £35.00 over at his site, just in case you need something new to put on your wall.

westworld gunslinger cameo

Two episodes ago, Westworld treated us to a brief cameo appearance by the Gunslinger, the villainous robot played by Yul Brynner in the original film. Then we learned that the sculpture was provided by Nick Marra Studios. Now, they've shared this picture snapped on set, showing off the imposing figure in all his glory. It's amazing how non-threatening that set looks when someone turns on a light...

westworld basement

In my review of "Trompe L'Oeil," I wondered if Dr. Ford's secret basement was the same room where Bernard was conducting secret interviews with Dolores. Naturally, Reddit grabbed some screen shots and it certainly looks like they're the same room.

westworld basement

Two questions now: 1. Is that actually Bernard interviewing Dolores or are we seeing Arnold speak to her in a flashback (which would play into the "Bernard is a robotic recreation of Arnold" theory)? 2. Is the Host being built during Theresa's murder intended to replace her in the real world, giving Dr. Ford another spy on the inside? After all, Bernard seemed so interested in documenting her facial expressions earlier in the season...

westworld continuity

During Maeve's nightmarish tour of the Westworld's labs, she sees a lifeless host body take on color as it is injected with blood. If that face looked somewhat familiar, congratulations: you have a strong memory and watched episode 2, where that particular Host was still in the design stage. Is this just a fun continuity easter egg or are we witnessing the birth of a new character? A tip of the hat to Reddit for this one.

YouTuber HaxDogma has created a video examining the sequence where Felix reveals the truth about Westworld to Maeve and it's good stuff, providing the thematic analysis and grand theorizing that makes talking about this show so much fun.

Westworld Episode 5 Photos: The Adversary ed harris

Ed Harris has given us his fair share of great performances in great movies, but he thinks that his work as the Man in Black in Westworld may become his most well known performance:

I knew it was very important to HBO and would be done in a certain classy way, and I knew they would promote the (crap) out of it. I thought it might be kind of fun to be in something people actually see. This could easily become the thing I'm most known for.

He also explained that he knows the basic outline of who the Man in Black is and what he wants, but there are still twists to come:

Beforehand, they told me enough to understand what kind of life my character had in the outside world and why he was coming to this park. But then you get the script for Episode 7, say, and you're going, 'Oh! Thanks for telling me, man! I didn't realise THAT about myself!'

westworld skull on a stick

If you're a Westworld fan planning a trip through the American southwest and would like to see some familiar locations, RoadTrippers.com has got you covered.