Jimmi Simpson on His Surprisingly Prominent Westworld Role; Jay Worth Explains the Complex World of Visual Effects

William and James Delos Westworld

We have over a month left to wonder if Westworld will take home any awards at the 70th Primetime Emmys, but the show’s 21 nominations give it pretty good odds. One of those nominees is Jimmi Simpson, who is up for his first ever Emmy as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. VFX Supervisor Jay Worth is hoping for his second win in the Outstanding Special Visual Effects category, for which he garnered an award in 2017. In new interviews, both men discuss the hard work they put into Westworld to earn their nominations.

Jimmi Simpson appears in the latest episode of the IMDb show to discuss his role as William on Westworld. He shares his surprise to have been selected for such a prominent character, saying, “Prior to Westworld, most of my work was running support – showing up in a piece or a project and adding a little cherry to the sundae for a scene or two. And I assumed that was what was happening with Westworld, because I auditioned with two scenes and I had no idea what the scope of the story or the characters would be.”

He continues, “So when it all kind of fell together in my brain that I’m actually going to be a central focus for the narrative, I was stunned, because of the magnitude of the show. There was a part of me that was like, ‘That’s not going to happen – how could I be Ed Harris?’” Simpson has long been a fan of the veteran actor and felt he had big shoes to fill. He didn’t want to become a caricature of Harris, however. “I purposely avoided any kind of ‘Ed’ work until the last three or four episodes; watching him to make the transition to slowly move a little bit more cool, to feel a little bit more secure as William.” After watching William’s dark turn in season two, Simpson definitely became the Man in Black.

Watch the interview – including a fun trivia segment which Simpson fails spectacularly – in the video below:


Sublime Westworld

Speaking with Variety, VFX supervisor Jay Worth explains the complexities involved in bringing the nominated season 2 finale episode, “The Passenger,” to life. “As per normal for us, everything about it, from the storytelling aspect to the location challenges to the scope and the size and just the volume alone – 580 plus shots – was challenging,” he admits.

The most difficult aspect to get right was the “The Sublime,” the digital Eden where some of the hosts’ minds are transferred as they enter a rift in the Valley Beyond. “It was this bending in space,” Worth says. “A little bit like a mirage, but it still had a physical presence.”

It certainly wasn’t an easy task to create paradise in the desert. “Unfortunately we were shooting in the middle of Simi Valley in the middle of summer, when it was brown and not very pretty,” he says. “We ended up having to roto [rotoscope, the process of compositing different elements into a scene] everything, as well as put in these mountain tops and just try and make it look like something that looks very pleasing.” The hosts certainly seemed to think so! I say mission accomplished.

Read the rest here.

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