Westworld has been a massive critical hit for HBO. Based on the best-selling novel by Michael Crichton, this updated version brought to life by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy has not only captivated audiences but has also left them wanting more.
Although the Westworld story arc revolves around several characters and plots, one of the most engaging has been the story of Dolores Abernathy. Played to perfection by Evan Rachel Wood, Dolores’ is a central figure in Westworld and ultimately holds one of the keys to where the series is headed to.
In this interview we uncover what’s in store for season two of Westworld and where the story of Dolores will take viewers as told to us by Evan Rachel Wood.
Where do we find Dolores at the beginning of this season?
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.
The show was far from simple last season, but it sounds even more complex this year….
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.
You have said that playing Dolores had changed you fundamentally. Can you expand upon that a little bit?
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.
How long was the shoot this season?
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.
What’s the impact of being part of the show on your own behaviours, in terms of technology and social media?
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.
Catch the Emmy-winning drama series Westworld every Monday at 9am, with a same day primetime encore at 10pm, exclusively on HBO (Astro Ch 411/ HD 431). New episodes premiere every Monday at the same time. The series is also available on HBO On Demand (via Astro GO).