Bernard Lowe has been at the center of Westworld‘s puzzles since the show’s inception, with actor Jeffrey Wright serving as the show’s steady center. That center was only an illusion, though, as we learned in episode seven that Delos’s head programmer was actually a host. The horror of the revelation was compounded by watching Bernard be forced to murder his lover, Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), on the orders of Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), only moments after the unveiling. The twists didn’t stop there; in the ninth episode, we discovered Bernard was modeled after Ford’s original partner, Arnold – a theory fans had been kicking around for some time. During another of their one-on-one conversations in the installment, Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) confessed to killing Arnold, and viewers finally understood it was Arnold, not Bernard, that Dolores has been speaking with all this time. Finally, after confronting his maker and demanding a few answers, Bernard discovers that he’s still not his own man – and is forced to kill again, this time himself.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Wright this week, discussing the revelations of the past few episodes and the particulars of playing two similar roles.
Wright says that show creator Lisa Joy described the season’s story to him in advance. “I understood the arc and some of the generalities, but she remained slightly cryptic about some of the finer details. Some of these finer points I discovered as the scripts became available. But I knew everything I needed to know to separate the various timelines and also understand a little about the nuances that differentiate Arnold from Bernard.”
Wright acknowledges slight differences in his performances to distinguish between Bernard and Arnold. The actor tells THR, “Almost reflexively, I found that Arnold was a bit warmer. He’s a bit more available. We only see him in his relationship with Dolores. But it was odd, really. There’s more of a glow within him. There’s a smiling heart there. It was a very subtle shift. Whereas with Bernard, although he’s empathetic and empathizing, he’s still somewhat detached and somewhat more clinical. Obviously not to the extent that Ford is, but there’s something slightly less humane about him.”
Bernard’s final scene, where he’s ordered to place a gun to his head before pulling the trigger, was an incredibly intense one. Wright tells THR, “The gun plays the emotion more so than I have to. The stuff that was rawer was the trickier stuff, and the more tiring stuff. If it’s going to match the level of storytelling we’re going for, then it had to be what it is.”
Pressed to describe the finale, even with a few words, Wright is coy with THR about admitting he knows anything. “Is there a finale? No one mentioned it to me.”
He has quite a bit more to say about creating season one and his two characters, so swing by The Hollywood Reporter for the full interview!