Westworld: You’re In For A Wild Ride

October 21, 2016

With just three episodes under its belt, Westworld has already hooked viewers—and it’s not just SciFi fans that are already sharing theories while they wait patiently for new episodes. HBO may have another gargantuan hit on their hands as the buzz around Westworld continues to expand. We caught up with some of the stars of the show at the Los Angeles premiere a couple of weeks ago, and it was obvious from our conversation that even the actors themselves were bursting with excitement about this project. Check out our exclusive interviews with Jeffrey Wright and Louis Herthum below, and be sure to catch up on all of Westworld tonight ahead of Sunday’s new episode at 9/8c on HBO.

 

Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe

What can you tell us about your character, and world that viewers will enter when they watch Westworld?

Well, the show is a reboot of Michael Crichton’s 1973 movie about a theme park where you can live out your fantasies in the American West of the 1880s. You can wear the white hat, or the black hat. You can be a gunslinger or the sheriff. You can live in the brothels, if you’re so inclined. Hike the mountains. Everyone that you interact with in this world is an artificial intelligence program. A robot, a “host,” as we call them, that’s indistinguishable from humans. There are very few consequences in this world. What happens in Westworld, stays in Westworld. Then, things fall apart, as they do. The question that we begin to explore is when do these hosts, these artificial intelligence programs, actually become new life forms? When do they become sentient? How do they respond to their place in our world?

We’ve got the most incredible cast you could ever imagine assembled. Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, the gorgeous Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and 500 others coming to tell this story! We had a stone blast, as they say, doing this thing. We’re just very excited for an audience to finally share it with us.

When Michael Crichton developed this world in the 70s, artificial intelligence was a wild idea. We’re at a place now where these kinds of realities aren’t too far off. What are your thoughts around artificial intelligence? If you could, would you own a host?

I think we already do, to some extent! We’re already talking to devices constantly. We’re getting advice. Devices are thinking for us. I think we’re already there, which is why the film and this world is so much more relevant than it was then. Crichton was so far ahead of the game, that even the technology around film making at the time didn’t serve him to the extent that it might have. Now, I think the time is perfect. [Series creators] Jonathan (Nolan) and Lisa (Joy) are really tuned in to the implications of the technology. They are beautifully creative, inventive, and surprising writers. I think we’re going to have a good time with V2 here. I think it will serve the interest of Crichton’s story very well.

You’ve gone from 1920s Atlantic City (Boardwalk Empire), to a very different yet equally dangerous world. What is it about working with HBO that has brought you back to series television again?

HBO is doing long form television in a way that no one else is doing it. They’re bringing production values that equal any in the business. They’ve got writers like Jonathan Nolan, Terry Winter, and Howard Korder who are total badasses. That’s what’s been most thrilling. I didn’t think, necessarily, that I would enjoy doing something like this for so long. The writing that I’ve been given has made the idea of exploring deeper down into these stories and these characters so gratifying. It’s so satisfying—that that’s the reason I came back!

Louis Herthum as Peter Abernathy

What can you tell us about your character, and world that viewers will enter when they watch Westworld?

Well the film was so far ahead of it’s time in ’73. I’m old enough to remember it very well, and have been a little freaked out by it! I think viewers are going to be struck by the show—it’s something that you’ve never even imagined seeing before. It’s going to elicit so many thoughts in people’s minds, because it will make us take a hard look into ourselves. I guarantee you people will be watching us going, “Hmm, if I was there, would I do that? I would do that!”

You’re in for a visual spectacular, and you’re in for writing and directing that’s off the charts. Of course, that’s what you usually get with HBO. You’ll see a cast that is second to none—absolute brilliance, I think. Something that’s very deep. My biggest concern through the 2 year wait since we did the pilot, was that I hoped it wouldn’t be too over people’s heads. I mean I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on in Game of Thrones!

The buzz around the show started months ago. Did you feel any pressure around expectations?

No. You know, that’s the thing, I felt no pressure ever. When you have an opportunity like this, it’s scary. It’s intimidating. You’re working with some of the finest actors in the world. That’s what we live for! In my fairly long career, this is by far the best opportunity I’ve had. I’ve done some great stuff, and I’ve had some great opportunities but this, this is the ultimate.

 

Check out our exclusive interviews with Jeffrey Wright and Louis Herthum above, and be sure to catch up on all of Westworld tonight ahead of Sunday’s new episode at 9/8c on HBO.