Another day, another interview as we inch ever closer to the Westworld premiere! Today we bring you news from The Independent, as showrunners and co-creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy – along with several cast members – discuss the upcoming season.
The husband and wife team of Nolan and Joy approached Westworld more like a film franchise than a television show, with the ability to “subtly shift genre” between seasons. They also admit they mapped out the entire story before even writing the pilot. “But that being said – even though you have a road map – when you have actors as gifted as the ones that we have you always have to leave room for surprises,” Joy explains. “Part of the greatest joy…is you go to set and think a scene is going to look one way and then all of a sudden there’s this whole new level or intellectual resonance [the actors] can find within it, and it’s learning to dance with those moments and go from there.”
Nolan shares that surprises – whether spontaneous or written into the script – always have purpose. “The show wasn’t there to have twists and turns just for the sake of it, it had the reveals because the hosts didn’t really understand where they were, who they were, when they were. We wanted to explore…storytelling that’s really harnessed to the unique perspective of a protagonist who doesn’t understand the world in the same way we do.”
It’s not just the hosts who don’t understand their world – sometimes the actors don’t either. Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores Abernathy) confesses, “We all pow-wow a lot. Last season we didn’t really talk to each other [about the narrative], but because there is so much to digest this season we couldn’t not talk to one another…we definitely compared notes a lot more because it was just harder.”
Part of the difficulty lies in Westworld‘s complexity; the series is meant to be viewed multiple times in order to catch every small clue. As Jeffrey Wright (Bernard Lowe) explains, “I went back and watched the pilot and I’m hearing and seeing things and going, ‘Whoa, those are windows onto season two.’ There are some very clear references to season two that I had not picked up on the first viewing.” He adds, “I really appreciate the architecture of the storytelling – there’s a mathematical clarity to it and a deliberateness to it. Everything has its purpose.”
Shannon Woodward (Elsie Hughes) shares some insight into the plight of the humans in the season to come. “What’s interesting about season two is there’s such a role reversal, the human beings no longer have the control over the park that they had before and now the hosts have this autonomy. They’re discovering and essentially choosing who they want to be, while the humans are now having to grapple with the idea that they’ve lost control and where does that leave them, what are there alliances and where do their morals lie?”
What will the hosts do with their new found freedom? Rodrigo Santoro (Hector Escaton) says they will start discovering who they truly are. “In season one, Hector was the result of a programming, a narrative that was written for that character by a human programmer. Now in season two, he and the other hosts are free from that narrative and beginning a journey of self-discovery and searching for their identities.” Does that mean Hector will give up his life of crime and settle down…perhaps with Maeve? Only time will tell.
Check out the full interview here.