Simon Quarterman Interview: ‘Westworld’
“I had a small inkling,” admits Simon Quarterman of his surprise return to “Westworld” in Season 3. The reappearance of his character Lee Sizemore was a shock for viewers who watched the former Delos employee die in the previous season. In a twist only “Westworld” could produce, Lee was brought back in the form of a computer program. “I thought that somehow he miraculously survived this hail of bullets,” says Quarterman with a laugh, “but that was not to be.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Existing in the virtual world hasn’t dampened the actor’s excitement for the role. “Even though he’s now a simulation,” explains Quarterman, “for me there’s still been an arc to his development.” Indeed, it’s been a fascinating journey for a man who began as a narcissist, treating “relationships as transactional in nature.” As his story unfolds and he grows empathetic towards other characters, both human and host, we see a “kind of deconstruction of his identity.” That is especially true with this new virtual version of Lee, who must question his own reality in a similar manner to the hosts that he once programmed. “Just like the hosts, there’s still an opportunity for him to come off those rails” and discover his own path, details Quarterman.
Exploring character growth after death is a wild experience, but the series explores even more surprising concepts. When asked about the overall story for Season 3, Quarterman exclaims “I’ve been finding out as I’ve been watching it!” Lee Sizemore appears in two episodes this season, which makes Quarterman eligible for the Drama Guest Actor Emmy category. But since showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy keep their secrets closely guarded, Quarterman wasn’t privy to other “Westworld” shockers. “You’ll get to read the episode that you’re in,” he explains, “the rest of it? If you’re not in those episodes then you won’t be given a script.”
Ultimately, the actor appreciated the ability to focus on his own arc. “It brings a little more immediacy” to the work, says Quarterman. That immediacy is imperative considering the lack of time performers have with the scripts before shooting. “You can just do it instead of overthinking things,” he explains excitedly. Spending most of his scenes with the “generous actor” Thandie Newton is an extra bonus. “We’ve had a bass since day one,” he divulges.
With “Westworld” renewed for a Season 4, Quaterman has no idea whether his simulated iteration of Lee will appear in some virtual capacity. He is so entertained by the twists that Nolan and Joy bring to the series that he “wouldn’t even like to prophesize” on what comes next. “I’m sure if Lee does come back,” muses the actor, “they’ll cook up something pretty interesting.”