The cast and creators of WESTWORLD on existential crises and the evolution of the series

— April 19, 2018

Bring yourself back online. As passionate fans of the series are well aware, plot points for HBO’s WESTWORLD are locked up like the internal workings of Delos Incorporated. Before the hit drama returns for its second season, Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada, series stars Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and Jeffrey Wright, and co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy sat down to discuss the new season, the series’ themes, and their experiences on the show. Here’s what they had to say. The evolution of the characters: Evan Rachel Wood (ERW): “…all of the characters are almost pulsating. They’re themselves and then they kind of push the boundaries a little bit, and push the boundaries a little more, and push the boundaries a little more.” James Marsden (JM): “…it’s not a great analogy – but they give us this emotional piano, where you have all 88 keys, and at the beginning of the first season, we’re sort of playing chopsticks in the middle. And then Evan and Thandie start to branch out and are, like, oh, what is that note? Teddy’s still sort of in the middle. But then, very quickly, he has access to all those keys.” James Marsden on his character Teddy’s awakening: JM: “…he’s getting to explore and make choices about what his identity is, and define his identity, without shedding the identity that was created for him. And those are the questions that this show asks: who are you, who do you want to be when you have a free will, and are you making the right decision when no one’s looking? What kind of person do you want to live with, yourself? That is thrust against a backdrop of chaos and mayhem and revolution, so it’s like imagining a baby being born into war.” The importance of female crew and characters: Jonathan Nolan (JN): “Very much. We have three phenomenally talented female directors on our second season.” Lisa Joy (LJ): “Yeah, it’s important to have female directors, international directors, but not just in direction, throughout the cast and crew and the writers room…diversity is something we’ve definitely strived for.” JN: “We learned this in the writers’ room a long time ago. You have to have this alchemy of a singular vision for something and then you have to pair it to this incredibly intensively collaborative aspect of television.” How the series has affected the cast: ERW: “Now I’m wondering all different kinds of other new things that the show is throwing at people. I literally had an existential crisis after season two. I was driving my car, looking around, like….what are, what the f**k are we, what is this? Like, none of this is real? What are we doing? You just realize, everything is programming.” JW: “What was really interesting for me as an actor, exploring the definitions of humanness and human behaviour and all those things, is what we try, obviously, to replicate when we perform, and this is what the hosts are undertaking as well – this facsimile of humanness.” Who’s the biggest fan: JM: “Evan’s the biggest WESTWORLD fan I’ve ever met. She f*****g loves this show – every emotional virtuous, wonderful thing and the sickest, most perverse things. She just loves what it says, loves what it asks us to ask ourselves.” Created for television by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, WESTWORLD is executive produced by J.J. Abrams and depicts a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin.  Season 2 premieres Sunday, April 22 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO Canada, day-and-date with HBO in the US.  
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