Westworld Roundup: Pushing Boundaries in Season 2; Setting Shogun World to Music; Bernard’s Awakening; William’s Transformation into the Man in Black

westworld-dolores-evan-rachel-wood-1529706797The Westworld news is few and far between in the long wait between seasons, and production is likely still months away. Although we may not have any new information about season three, we do have several interviews to share to help ease the pain. Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy explain their approach to making an Westworld an enjoyable and relevant show, Sean O’Meara discusses Westworld’s Emmy nomination for music supervision, and Jeffrey Wright and Jimmi Simpson reflect on their Emmy worthy season two performances.

Speaking with TheWrap, Jonathan Nolan admits when he creates the scripts for Westworld he doesn’t worry about pleasing everyone. “The only way I know to write the show is to write it for ourselves. You make the show that you want to see and hope that there are enough people in the audience that are excited to see it. And that seems to be where we’re at.”

His wife and fellow showrunner, Lisa Joy, concurs, saying she was “thrilled” with the Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) storyline this season. “In addition to being able to do a story that has long interested me about a woman who comes to power and has to navigate her own personality and choices, I think it’s really fascinating right now in society. It’s a thing we as a society are trying to navigate.”

Nolan and Joy both agree that having a series on HBO gives them the freedom to push boundaries. “I think you’ve got a lot of people making ambitious television right now, but HBO kind of invented it,” Nolan admits. “Game of Thrones blazed this trail for massive productions and ambition on television. Really cinematic television. It created this extraordinary opportunity for us to create a show that is this challenging.”

Read the rest at TheWrap.

Akane Shogun World - Copy

Over at Billboard, Sean O’Meara explains his approach to setting Westworld to music – particularly the episode he submitted for the Emmy nomination of Outstanding Music Supervision, a relatively new award category. “Our show is a study in the ways in which different cultures collide and cross-pollinate with each other through music, film, television, video games, etc. ‘Akane No Mai’ was an incredibly exciting challenge because it gave us the chance to explore the give and take between Eastern and Western filmmaking – a conversation that I have always been fascinated by – and delve into musical choices that play on the Eastern-Western collision.”

As is tradition with Westworld, part of that music involved a unique cover of a modern song. “I was drawn immediately to the Wu-Tang Clan. Their music is incredibly rich and layered — and built on repurposing Samurai film dialogue and mise-en-scène in their music,” O’Meara explains. “Composer Ramin Djawadi, music editor Chris Kaller, and I explored a lot of options, but ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ has such an iconic riff that it quickly became the clear choice. Ramin’s stunning transformation of that song is one of my favorites in the series.”

O’Meara recognizes how lucky they are to have such a talented composer in Djawadi. “Every once in a while Ramin will compose a piece of music where we’re unsure if the song we are considering will work. His original music seldom loses. In fact, we had [made a version of] the opening credits for the entire series with a song that felt like a perfect fit – an updated take on a classic. We had watched every cut of that pilot with that song in the credits. But I had a nagging feeling that Ramin could beat it. And he did.”

Go to Billboard for more.

Bernard Westworld

In an interview with Gold Derby, Jeffrey Wright recalls the grueling pace of filming season two as “one of the most challenging exercises I’ve taken in my career. We put a lot of film in the can. We probably shot the equivalent of seven full length movies over the course of six months. It’s kind of like having a baby; they say ‘long days, short years.’ In our case it’s long days, short months.”

The effort was worth it, however, as Wright is proud of the work they put in. He’s also pleased at the progression of his character, Bernard. “What has emerged for him is a new sense of self and sense of freedom. Ultimately the journey for him is one toward agency and one toward self-determination. For that reason, Bernard’s story is a metaphor for the existences we all enjoy or don’t enjoy right now. The construct allows us a lot of deep exploration into the human experience.”

Bernard’s agency was on full display in the season finale, “The Passenger,” which is Wright’s Emmy submission for his Outstanding Lead Actor nomination. “Trying to manage that math of his dysfunction and his awakening was pretty tough. Obviously this show is a huge logistical challenge…It was a challenge but deeply fulfilling. I call it benevolent chaos. There is definitely method to the madness. But it certainly is a pretty mad way of going about things.”

You can see Wright’s entire interview below.

Finally, Jimmi Simpson speaks with TV Guide about his Emmy nominated performance as William. Check out the video below for his thoughts on bridging the gap between season one William and Ed Harris‘ Man in Black, William’s motivations, and working with Evan Rachel Wood.

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