“Often we just resorted to ‘that’s what she said’ jokes and everybody would laugh for a solid 30 seconds because we were exhausted” reveals Jimmi Simpson about how things were kept light on the set of “Westworld.” In our recent webchat (watch the exclusive video above), he adds, “That’s all we needed. So thank you to whoever started that dumb thing cause that was so handy for a bunch of crazy, exhausted people.”
On “Westworld” Simpson plays a guest in the western-themed futuristic theme park inhabited by robotic hosts. Over the course of the first season William falls in love with the park’s original host Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood). He says, “I normally come into series in very small doses for an effect. With William, it was episode three and I realized ‘all these people are waiting for me to move the story forward. Holy shit!’ That was a whole new experience.”
At the end of the season it was revealed as one of the program’s secrets that the show’s villainous man in black (Ed Harris) is actually William 30 years in the future. Of the reveal, he adds, “They told us so so little. But not knowing the truth you are always wide open for any stimuli from every scene. So you are paying more attention. And when it happened it was difficult to play. It was really sad to see these people, who we thought should be together, not be together. It was tough.”
Despite being kept in the dark, Simpson was able to figure out the twist before everyone else. This was when the makeup artist “asked if my eyebrow shape could be changed. I then saw one of the creators an hour later and said ‘I’m thinking the only reason they would change my eyebrows is because they are trying to get me to look like someone else.’ She said to not tell anyone I knew that.”
On the plot shocker, he explains, “I hoped they would change their mind. But as it unfolded I think they did it perfectly. My job was not to play William turning into the man in black. My job was to play William who has his heart broken. I bet over the next 10 years he came back endless amounts of times, hoping she would find this mode that he found with her. It’s after years of that heartbreak that he became the man that he unfortunately became. At least that’s what I was playing.”
Simpson does not know if he will be back for season two: “We now know the finish line for this man so I don’t know if there’s enough story to show. But I could see some interesting ways to bring him back. Like the corporate takeover, or his other heartbroken visits to the park. But I’d never suggest they just stick William in for no reason. The writers have told me that they know this story very well. I’m mostly invested in Dolores, cause I think she stands for so many things.” And will we ever see a scene where he can act alongside Ed Harris? Simpson imagines that “maybe William shows up as a host and has a scene with Ed?”
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