Westworld stars talk season 2, working on the show, and more.
Westworld premiered last night across the nation, but a few hours earlier HBO hosted a premiere party at the Revere Hotel Boston Common. After the screening, fans and press were privy to a question and answer session with Simon Quarterman, who plays Lee Sizemore, and Shannon Woodward, who plays Elsie Hughes, hosted by Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner. It was an interesting Q&A in part because both actors play humans on the show and both have very different jobs working for Delos, the company that created Westworld.
Anyone expecting spoilers or secrets of season 2 probably don’t understand that mystery box shows like Westworld keep the actors tight-lipped. Kirsner asked about filming the show and it was revealed half the time actors don’t get scripts until a week or even a day before shooting and those aren’t even full scripts but just their lines. Quarterman said this can be liberating as it keeps you “as present as possible.” It was confirmed later on in the Q&A though that Samurai World will definitely be featured in season 2.
Kirsner asked them both about the hiring process. They both said it was very long, and Quarterman revealed he first tried out for Bernard (played by Jeffrey Wright). Woodward let everyone know she may not be in the first episode, but she confirmed, “I’m on the show a lot this year.” Other questions from Kirsner included what it’s like to act with nude extras everywhere (Woodward said you’d forget they were there and found it helpful to play her character as she stopped seeing them as human). Quarterman talked briefly about how great it is being paired up with Maeve (Thandie Newton) in season 2. Both actors confirmed season one originally had scenes showing the Delos employees outside of Westworld and Woodward pointed out her character was supposed to be the animal robotics specialist. Fans hungry for any new deleted scenes that might pop up should note Woodward made it clear those scenes were never shot, so “technically it doesn’t count.”
Questions were then opened up to the audience. The first question came from a robotics engineer who wanted to know what the white goo is that’s inside the robots. The actors, of course, didn’t know and related how the San Francisco event also had some pretty complicated questions from scientists in the audience they couldn’t answer. Other questions were about what it was like shooting — Woodward said they never had off time in trailers as they were always shooting — when they think this timeline takes place — Woodward said “Reddit kids” figured out the timeline starts next week, in 2018 — and tips on dying in a show where you can die over and over.
I asked whether or not Woodward and Quarterman ever look at fan speculation on Reddit or social media and both actors said not at all. Woodward talked about how the actors would attempt to figure out what is going on as the scripts came in. “We’re like the first Reddit thread,” but that once the show starts airing it, “feels kind of weird and wrong to watch other people and spy on everybody else who is having that experience. It’s exciting to share it with everyone else and let them go on that journey and wait to see what happens on the Twitters.”
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A few more questions were asked with Woodward confirming Luke Hemsworth, who plays Stubbs, is her favorite character and a final question from Kirsner brought quite a few laughs. The question? Has Westworld ruined Disney World for you? Woodward immediately answered, “No, because nobody dies there.”