Jeffrey Wright He has gone from being a practically anonymous performer to being one of the best-known actors on the small screen. His role as Bernard Lowe in ‘Westworld’ has earned him tremendous popularity among the millions of viewers who have been watching one of the most followed series in recent years. Wright, who has participated in series such as ‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘Angels in America’ o la tv movie ‘Confirmation’, all from HBO, has visited Spain during the presentation of the well-known television network in our country, a perfect opportunity to talk about the tremendous impact of ‘Westworld’, about his next season and also about his future plans as an actor.
Question: ‘Westworld’ holds the record for having become the most-watched first season in HBO history. From your perspective as an actor, how do you experience that such a complex series has become such a resounding success?
Answer: Better this than the opposite, of course. It is always better to be the most seen than the least seen [risas]. This whole journey started in August 2014, when we started filming the pilot and we already realized from the beginning that ‘Westworld’ was going to be something special. It took us two years to share it with the public and we were very excited and eager for them to see it. When you work in film or television, the initial audience is the cast, the technical team, it is not like the theater where you see the reaction of the public in a second. In this sense, it is great that the public accompany us on this trip and have as much fun as we do.
The creators of ‘Westworld’ have managed to find the balance because they treat everything with mathematical precision
Q: With ‘Westworld’ many viewers have the impression that there is more wrapping than development in the series’ plot. Do you think that, with the passage of time, fiction runs the risk of being lost or, on the contrary, do you trust the scriptwriters?
R: Yes, of course I fully trust the writers. Also, I trust the ship captains Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy 100%. The first time I read the script, the first thing that caught my attention is the balance that the scriptwriters build, because they are dealing with a very complex subject and they have managed to be very effective in creating this narrative arc, it shows that they have everything very thought out. This is a reflection that I have seen in my work on the series and that the public will also live as an experience when they see ‘Westworld’. The creators have managed to find the balance so that no aspect stands out above the other because they treat everything with mathematical precision.
Q: Bernard, your character, has had an impressive arc from the start of the series to the last episode of the season. Since when did you know that Bernard was going to have so many shades?
R: When I started shooting, I had no idea where my character was going to go, not even when I shot the pilot I knew that Bernard had so many secrets. However, before starting the second chapter Lisa Joy told me that she wanted to talk to me and told me that my character was much more complex than it seemed and that I was also a host. I was stunned and amazed, but it was necessary for me to have that information because not everyone needed to know that there were two timelines and 35 years apart, but without that information I could not play my character.
Nobody has a general idea of what will happen in the second season, but it is very clear that there will be many surprises
Q: What can you preview what viewers will see in the second season of ‘Westworld’?
R: In ‘Westworld’ you never know, because it always goes back and forth and you have to question everything. Nobody has a general idea of what is going to happen in the second season, but it is clear that there will be many surprises ahead and that there is still a lot of ground to explore. The premise of this series allows creators to go wherever they want, the limit is the imagination. Who knows? The same next year we can record ‘MadridWorld’ [risas].
Q: What relationship do you have with HBO, the network where you have had the opportunity to work on such iconic series as ‘Boardwalk Empire’?
R: Throughout all these years I have continued in contact with HBO executives, with whom I have a friendly relationship, something that does not usually happen on television. This says a lot about the culture of HBO, in which from the executives to those who work at the bottom there is constant support, in a very healthy environment in which to work. The first thing I did on HBO was the miniseries ‘Angels in America’, which began on Broadway in 93. Thanks to this play I understood what it was to be an actor and after seven years in the theater I understood well what my My profession and starting at HBO to reprise this series says a lot about how important HBO is to me and the nature of the network. In no other chain can you pass something like ‘Angles in America’ or ‘Westworld’, the most important series in the history of the chain and which is comparable to some film works.
In no other network can you pass something like ‘Westworld’, the most important series in the history of HBO
Q: Does your participation in a series as important as ‘Westworld’ make you rethink your career by starring in more television series?
R: Of course, HBO has created the great long-distance dramatic series, such as ‘The Sopranos’ or ‘Game of Thrones’. At the beginning, when I was starting my career, working on television did not seem like fun, because it meant always working with the same character week after week, but that is where HBO makes a difference, working with scriptwriters with literary approaches, which goes beyond what can be achieved in cinema. In ‘Boardwalk Empire’ there were between the scriptwriters playwrights and novelists and a very special relationship was created between the actors and them. I really like discovering these new dynamics and I find it very interesting to be in a series from the beginning; so I can contribute and create something from scratch.
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