Westworld’s first season wrapped up months ago, and season two filming is nowhere in sight, but thankfully the cast still enjoys sharing their experiences from the show. Today Gold Derby posted an interview with Jimmi Simpson (William), who shares some insight into his character’s journey and what is was like to play a nice guy for a change.
Simpson says William was quite a departure from the characters he normally portrays, although William is more like Simpson’s true self. He recounts his mother saying, “Why are you always playing such jerks? Doesn’t anyone know you’re really a sweet guy?” Playing a romantic lead was a unique role for him. “I normally come into series in very small doses for an effect. With William, it was episode three and I realized all these people are waiting for me to move the story forward. Holy shit! That was a whole new experience.”
The revelation that William was a younger version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris) wasn’t entirely unexpected; Simpson figured it out when a makeup artist wanted to reshape his eyebrows, saying, “The only reason they would change my eyebrows is because they are trying to get me to look like someone else.” Since Ed Harris didn’t know about the twist, Simpson would secretly observe Harris in action to better inform his portrayal. Simpson says the “highlight of his life” was when Harris came up to him toward the end of filming and said, “I hear you’re a young me; heard you’re doing an okay job.”
Even though he knew it was coming, it was hard to accept. “I hoped they would change their mind,” he says. “But as it unfolded I think they did it perfectly. My job was not to play William turning into the man in black. My job was to play William who has his heart broken, and then he begins his 20, 25 year journey to turn into a man that dark, and that hard. I bet over the next 10 years he came back endless amounts of times, hoping she would find this mode that he found with her. It’s after years of that heartbreak that he became the man that he unfortunately became.”
When asked about the possibility of a future role for young William, Simpson states “[Season 2] doesn’t film for a while, so all the questions are in the air as to exactly who is coming back.” He would definitely love to return, but only if it makes sense. “We now know the finish line for this man so I don’t know if there’s enough story to show. But I could see some interesting ways to bring him back. Like the corporate takeover, or his other heartbroken visits to the park. But I’d never suggest they just stick William in for no reason.”
Check out the entire interview in the video below:
Would you like to see William again, or do you think his time on the show is over? Let us know in the comments!