Ed Harris Discusses Westworld’s Success and Playing the Villain in New Interview

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Filming on Westworld‘s second season is winding to a close, which means we are only a few short months away from the premiere! News has been scarce – and interviews even scarcer – but hopefully that will change as our favorite Westworld stars enjoy a well-deserved break from the rigors of production! Thankfully our favorite villain/anti-hero, Ed Harris (William aka Man in Black), took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Cowboys & Indians. Read on for his thoughts on Westworld‘s first season and what to expect in season two.

Harris wasn’t particularly surprised about the critical and commercial success of Westworld, but he did get the news in a rather unconventional way. “When it was airing for the first time, I was in London with my wife, Amy [Madigan], doing the play Buried Child for three or four months. So, when people would come up with a photograph of the Man in Black to ask for my autograph, I assumed that the series was doing pretty good.” He adds, “I was most happy for two of the producers, Lisa Joy and Susan Ekins, who have been developing the series for several years.”

What is it like for Harris portraying such a dark, villainous role? “It has been fun to play the Man in Black,” he admits. “When I got together with the wardrobe folks, I was very concerned about finding the right hat. It felt crucial. When I got the outfit together, it was great. I just put that thing on, and suddenly I’m the Man in Black. There you go. It’s very empowering, in a good way.”

The Man in Black was part of a massive plot twist last season, when it was revealed he was actually William (Jimmi Simpson) the love interest of Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) from decades earlier. “My character has been going to the park a month a year for 30 years. The audience finds out late in the season that the Man in Black’s real name is William, and he now owns Westworld and decided not to go back into the real world — it was made pretty clear that I was not a robot,” Harris explains. “He’s decided not to leave the park, as there is something that he has to get to the bottom of there.”

That “something” involved removing the humans’ control over the hosts so that they could fight back. As we know from the season finale, William got his wish when the hosts broke free from their constraints and turned the park from a playground to a battlefield. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here – will he side with the hosts or the humans? Unfortunately Harris isn’t telling, as he refuses to reveal any details about the upcoming season. “One thing I can say is that all these [artificial intelligence] beings are set free, and the stakes will be much higher as they will be after revenge against their human counterparts.” Does that include William? Only time will tell.

Check out the full interview here.

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