Evan Rachel Wood speaks about Westworld season 2 1

Evan Rachel Wood speaks about Westworld season 2

If you’ve been keeping an eye on events transpiring in sci-fi drama Westworld, you’ll notice that things are going to hell in a handbasket since the first episode of season 2 onwards with a host rebellion in full swing within the park and the series’ signature multiple timelines blending in to create a delicious puzzle to piece out and tease as the series progresses. The titular leader of the host rebellion, Dolores Abernathy, who was once the pleasant ‘rancher’s daughter from the town of Sweetwater’ is now a full-on blood crazed homicidal maniac on the warpath.

Credit HBO

Credit HBO

Played by actress Evan Rachel Wood, the character of Dolores has undergone a full-on change from affable docility to full-on gun-toting alpha female. We catch up with Rachel in a short interview to find out more about her journey so far playing Dolores and where she and her character are headed to in Westworld season 2.


Q: Where do we find Dolores at the beginning of this season?
ERW: We’re not picking up exactly where we left off, but we’re definitely going to see the aftermath. And what we see is that Dolores is finally making decisions for herself. I think when she killed Ford that was the first real choice that she’s made, and now, we’ve also learned that she’s been harbouring this other character, Wyatt. So when I finished season one, I just couldn’t wait to get back to season two to find out who that was, who was Wyatt. Now, we’re seeing all the different layers of her – she’s not just one thing anymore, she’s got access to every side of herself, all the different personalities. She has Dolores in her, that only sees the beauty, and then there’s Wyatt, that only sees the ugliness. They’re constantly at war, and she’s very selective about when she brings each character out, for different situations. I think she’s only really Dolores when she’s with Teddy now. And she’s Wyatt when she has to rally troops or when she has to get something done. But then there’s also another side of her, that she’s creating, which is just herself. Which is what she’s never been able to do – to really define herself.

Q: How do you differentiate between the different sides of her when you are playing them?
ERW: It’s funny, but no one has actually picked up on the fact that I don’t have an accent this season – not even in the Super Bowl trailer. She has no Southern accent anymore. And no one has noticed. When she’s Dolores she has it, but when she is Wyatt, or this new thing, she doesn’t. So, I think you’ll learn; you’ll be able to pick up on the cues of when she is each thing.

Q: The show was far from simple last season, but it sounds even more complex this year….
ERW: That’s what was really hard this season – all of the characters are almost pulsating. They’re themselves and then they kind of push the boundaries a little bit, and push the boundaries a little more, and push the boundaries a little more.

Q: When we talked for season one you said you’d wondered at points if you were a robot and if people had been lying to you all these years. How was it this season?
ERW: Now I’m wondering all different kinds of other new things that the show is throwing at people. I literally had an existential crisis after season two. I was driving my car, looking around, like….what are, what the f**k are we, what is this? Like, none of this is real? What are we doing? You just realise, everything is programming. It’s all learned! And we call this the real world but it’s just the world that we’ve all agreed upon to live in together, but it’s not necessarily what’s true for anyone or what’s natural. So it’s weird. We’re not free. You know? We’re in a controlled environment that’s very curated and we’re fed what we’re supposed to be fed, and you really have to search for truth, especially now. So I think that the show is more open than ever, yeah.

Q: You have said that playing Dolores had changed you fundamentally. Can you expand upon that a little bit?
ERW: In every way. I get really into roles, and sometimes it’s hard not to go through the evolutionary shifts that the characters do. And Dolores’ are so profound and so rooted in reality and in metaphor for so much more. I think everybody can relate to Westworld, maybe in different ways, and it might represent something different for everybody, but, for me, it was finding a power that you’ve had all along, that you just didn’t know you had access to. Or you didn’t believe that you had, or you had been programmed to give up. She changed that for me. She made me ask more questions. And it’s cheesy, but she made me believe in myself more. I look at her as a separate being from myself, so I draw upon her for strength. So, when I marched in the women’s march, and when I testified in congress, I wore a locket with Dolores in it each time, because it reminds me that there’s a piece of me that’s…really…I don’t know what the word is for it. There’s a piece of me that’s created by her, I suppose.

Q: When you’re so invested in a character, what are the potential pitfalls?
ERW: The hardest part about this show is that we’re all always so excited to jump back in, but then we remember, oh, right, this never ends well for anybody on this show. And we’re so invested in the characters now that when bad things happen to them or when something goes wrong, it really is gut wrenching for us to have to do. Loyalties shift on this show so much and we’re not even aware, that one day you’re like, oh right, you guys are against each other, and you’re like, what? What happened, I don’t like that! It feels like a violation, because you’re so invested in everyone.

Q: How long was the shoot this season?
ERW: Six months. And we basically shot ten movies in six months, and it was absolutely sadistic and awful to do to us. We were in LA, but we were in Moab for a bit, and Kanab and Lake Powell. We kind of moved farther out into Utah.

Credit HBO

Credit HBO

Q: What’s the impact of being part of the show on your own behaviours, in terms of technology and social media?
ERW: I think our biggest threats right now are not bombs being dropped on us, but our actual psyches being hacked, which they are every day on some level. I think people need to be aware more of just how fragile our minds are, and how easily it is to manipulate them. I think we’re all a little too confident in the fact that we have free will. We aren’t questioning our own reality enough. There have definitely been times I’ve had to go hide my phone, or delete the social media apps, because you get sucked in – it’s really hard. And you might be going down a rabbit hole of propaganda, and not even know it. Everyone is searching for some sort of truth. I feel like we’re in an era where actual vulnerability, integrity and honesty are the revolutionary things. Those are the things that shock people. Just like me going to Congress – everyone’s like, that was so incredible and so brave, and I was like, thank you, yes, it was really hard, and it did take a lot of bravery, but really all I did was just tell my story and be vulnerable and be honest. And everyone’s like, oh my god! That’s so brave! It’s brave to be honest right now. But everyone’s ashamed of their truth right now, too.

* WESTWORLD airs same time as the U.S. every Monday at 9am exclusively on HBO (Astro Ch 411 and 431 HD) at 9am, with a same day primetime encore at 10pm. The series is also available on HBO On Demand (Astro Ch 411 and 431 HD).