Jeffrey Wright Q&A: ‘Westworld’
“It’s validating that the work that we did in season one landed,” divulges Jeffrey Wright when asked during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) about the impressive 22 Emmy nominations for his series “Westworld.” Great as the awards recognition is, however, the actor was more excited by “the response that we got from all of our fans.” Wright contends as Best Drama Supporting Actor for playing Bernard Lowe, a programmer of artificial intelligence at a western-themed amusement park populated by stunningly life-like robots called “hosts.”
The HBO series was adapted by Michael Crichton‘s 1973 film, which starred Yul Brynner as a vengeful android seeking revenge against a park-goer (Richard Benjamin). In this retelling, the focus is shifted towards the robotic hosts, creating audience sympathy for them. “The hosts are exactly metaphors for humans,” praises Wright, “and so the decision to focus the show on their experiences and their perspectives… was a really ingenious one, because it allowed the audience to examine that metaphor even more closely.” The emotional resonance in the show “is not a result of our sympathy with this technology, but it’s the resonances of that metaphor with our own experiences.”
Wright won his first Emmy in 2004 as Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for “Angels in America,” recreating a role that won him the Tony in 1994. With 22 total bids, “Westworld” ties “Saturday Night Live” as the most nominated show of the year. In addition to Wright, it contends as Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Drama Actress (Evan Rachel Wood), and Best Drama Supporting Actress (Thandie Newton).