As Westworld’s second season begins production, the Huffington Post brings us an interview with casting director John Papsidera. A veteran with over 20 years in the industry, Papsidera has won two Emmys and has been involved in casting several blockbusters. With his level of experience comes confidence in his discretion, especially for a secretive project like Westworld. “That’s a unique thing, and to me, that’s the reward…to have those relationships and ultimately have people trust you.”
Leaks are always a risk on a big production – just ask Game of Thrones. “In any kind of fanboy world, you take extra care when people want to get that information out on the internet,” Papsidera explains. During auditions he gives potential actors fake scenes, and he avoids discussing character arcs, to prevent important details from being revealed.
“We don’t really talk about where [the role] goes and what they do because there’s so many intricacies in Westworld, and stories, and secrets. You got to be very careful to navigate those waters correctly so it doesn’t get ruined for anyone.” He adds, “If somebody’s aware you’re looking for Japanese actors that could play a period piece, you don’t [want fans to] figure out or discuss how that world is now fitting into Westworld.”
“It’s a huge cast, and it’s a monumental task. Especially when you start to delve into different worlds, because then you’re pulling from entirely different talent pools,” Papsidera explains. We saw a glimpse of one of those worlds in season one with Samurai World; perhaps we will see it – or others – in season two as well.
Another challenge Papsidera faces is securing big name talent. “I brought up Daniel Day-Lewis for a project once, and somebody said, ‘If you can get Daniel Day-Lewis [a notoriously choosy actor], you’re the most brilliant casting director in the world.’ I didn’t get Daniel Day-Lewis,” he admits. “[This job] is about trying to expand your creativity as much as you can, but at the same time problem-solve and be realistic.”
The show certainly scored a win with its star-studded cast for season one, but Papsidera isn’t resting on his laurels. “We certainly have a big ambition with who we’re going to cast in Westworld, but we felt we had the material and the team that people would be excited and want to be a part of.” If he has anyone specific in mind, he isn’t telling. “We’ll have to find out who the next Holy Grail is.”
Read the entire interview at Huffington Post.