HFPA in Conversation: Evan Rachel Wood,Back to the Future of Westworld

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros March 18, 2020
Actress Evan Rachel Wood, Golden Globe nominee

magnus sundholm/hfpa

What does your vision of the future look like? That is one of the themes Westworld’s third season deals with. “The first season was the awakening, the second season was the reckoning and this season is really about choice: who we decide we are going to be now given the information and now knowing the world,” three-time Golden Globe nominee Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Dolores, told HFPA journalist Greet Ramaekers.

When she was approached by Westworld’s creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy they talked in-depth what the show wanted to accomplish and what was its message without giving out many details. The series is based on the 1973 science fiction film of the same name, written and directed by Michael Crichton, that takes place in a fictional, technologically advanced Wild West-themed amusement park populated by androids. “I think about halfway through season one, as I started to get more and more information on what the show actually was, is when it did really hit me what we were doing and what I was a part of. And I was elated and excited and intrigued and I became a huge fan of the show myself.”

Not knowing the story from the beginning to end is sometimes frustrating to her. “You are really sort of freefalling. It is also very freeing because you are forced to focus on the moment that you are in and give everything to that moment and to put your faith in the creators and then sort of let go. One word that comes up a lot on set is surrender; we don’t have a lot of control over what’s happening. I think that does make for some really interesting moments that we’re able to capture because everything is so kind of spur of the moment.”

She likes to try to figure out and follow clues and the mysteries. “The show also really challenged my ideas about the world and about humanity, which I think is what it’s supposed to do. I genuinely have an existential crisis every season on some level because they’re always introducing these new ideas and these new ways of thinking that we might miss in our everyday lives.”

Wood thinks Westworld has always been slightly ahead of the curve.
“What I love that the show teaches us not just about ourselves and our humanity but also about the world that we live in and about technology and our relationship to technology and how what we’re doing now will affect us in the future. What are the ramifications of what we are doing and what we don’t understand in a cautionary tale about how that might manifest. It’s science fiction but like the best science fiction, it’s really rooted in reality.”

Listen to the podcast and hear why chemistry between other actors is important to her; why she depends on her imagination; why she became an actress; how her life changed after the movie Thirteen; what integrity means to her; when she stopped being a people pleaser; what is her greatest love; why didn’t she tell her parents she could sing; why she finds it more comfortable communicating with music than speaking; what kind of band she is in; what kind of performer she is; why she is a David Bowie fan; why she thinks we need to label people’s sexuality at the moment; what makes her fall in love; what keeps her sane; why she advocates the statute of limitations on domestic violence crimes; and her experience directing a short film.