Warning: Spoilers for season one of “Westworld” below.
Jeffrey Wright has played two complicated roles on HBO’s hit sci-fi drama “Westworld,” but it helped that he wasn’t totally in the dark while shooting the first season.
Wright played both the head of the programming division for the titular fantasy theme park, Bernard Lowe, and its mysterious, late cofounder Arnold Weber. It was revealed by the end of the season that Bernard was actually a host, one of the very human-like robots that inhabit the park, which was created by cofounder Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) in the image of Arnold.
“I knew before we started the second episode,” Wright, 50, told Business Insider on Monday of when he found out about his character’s twists. “I didn’t know while we were shooting the pilot, but when we circled back to begin the production in full, [series cocreator] Lisa Joy dropped the multiple bombs on me about the true nature of Bernard.”
Looking back, Wright is grateful for the knowledge as he felt it would have been too difficult to play the role without knowing its secret dual nature.
“It wouldn’t have made sense otherwise for me to track the performance and to track his narrative, because the conversations with Dolores don’t make any sense if those conversations are Bernard and existing in the timeline that we all assume is the present,” he saight.
Wright wasn’t privy to every twist in the story, though.
“Many of us had secret cards in secret pockets as we filmed this,” he said of his costars. “And gradually they became so we started to put our secrets out on the table as we went forward. But nobody knew that Bernard’s blood was synthetic until the reveal.”
Secrecy was paramount during the production, although Wright does admit that he spilled his story details to someone very close to him.
“Actually, my kids came to set at some point, they flew out to L.A. to stay with me, and my son insisted that I tell him more,” Wright confessed. “But that said, he’s 15, and it gave him a bit of a carrot to dangle in front of his friends.”
During Sunday’s season finale, it became increasingly clear that the company that owns Westworld, Delos Incorporated, was looking to push out Dr. Ford and Bernard. But that changed during a Delos gala meant to usher in a new future for Westworld. Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) assassinated Ford and unleashed a barrage of bullets on the guests. In effect, Dolores pulled off a coup that would give the hosts control of Westworld.
What does that mean for Bernard when season two of “Westworld” hits at some point in 2018? Wright was a bit cagey about his character’s position in future episodes.
“Certainly what we know is that there’s no one in the park who knows the technology now more so than him,” Wright teased. “Bernard understands the technology literally inside and out, so he’s in an interesting position when the curtain dropped.”
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