Tessa Thompson Discusses her Westworld Character’s Unquestioned Power

Charlotte Hale_Season 1

As the dust settles from the premiere of Westworld‘s first official season 2 trailer during the Super Bowl a couple weeks ago, the show’s cast looks to be back on the interview grind with only a couple months left until the season premiere.

Tessa Thompson [Charlotte Hale] recently sat down with Larry Wilmore on his podcast “Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air” to discuss her involvement with the Time’s Up movement. The Ringer transcribed Thompson and Wilmore’s talk, and during their conversation she compared her Westworld character to one of the larger goals of the movement, that being to empower women and people of color across all industries.


The powerful introduction of Hale in the show’s first season was meant to make a big splash and throw off the established power dynamic that had been crafted throughout the early episodes. Thompson explained that she and co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy spent a lot of time discussing how her character could make the biggest impact upon arrival:

“I had a lot of conversations with Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan […] about Hale, my character coming in and really changing the energy. Because there’s something sort of lyrical about the show and there’s a lot of these sort of esoteric, really serious moments, particularly between Jeffrey Wright’s [Bernard] and Anthony Hopkins’s [Dr. Ford] character[s], and they really wanted something that came in and really felt like it stood to threaten what we understood tonally about the show.”

Thompson went on to discuss how the science fiction genre further assisted the actress and showrunners in their goal to give Hale unquestioned power on the show:

“I just wanted to get out of these ideas about power and what it looks like—and those conversations with Lisa, in particular, were so cool because one of the fantastic things about working in the space of science fiction and speculative fiction or anything that deals with the future is you get to decide what the future looks like. And how cool if there’s a world in which a young woman of color is at the very head—or one of the few people at the very head—of this company and no one has to talk about it. It’s never addressed in the narrative.”

Thompson’s character may indeed get a boost in legitimacy from the sci-fi setting, but I have to say her brilliant portrayal of Hale is more than enough to persuade any audience of her high-level status, regardless of the setting within which she finds herself. Make believe or not, you don’t want to mess with Hale.

Check out more of the podcast’s transcript via The Ringer, and let us know what you think!

2 responses to “Tessa Thompson Discusses her Westworld Character’s Unquestioned Power”

  1. This is highlighted by their best friends, Hale and Reece, an interesting couple you almost wish could overtake Anna and Will, as Hale is nearly the only person worth rooting for, despite Rebecca Hall’s empathy-luring performance. Hale and Reece are sexually satisfied in monogamy but emotionally growing in distance as Hale wants to adopt a child while Reece wants their relationship to remain without parenthood. Hale and Reece both have strong performances; an endearing and sympathetic Hale played opposite the familiar “confident asshole” figure of Reece.

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