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Spoilers below for the latest episode of Westworld, titled "Reunion."
For its second Season 2 outing, Westworld supplied major inside intel on how Westworld came to life on a foundation of seedy ulterior motives, and the episode focused a lot of William's evolution after Season1, and fans watched his older iteration reconnect with El Lazo in an attempt to woo the Revolutionaries leader to help him on his quest for The Door. Surprisingly, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul star Giancarlo Esposito portrayed this version of El Lazo, an on-set secret kept from most of the actors, including Evan Rachel Wood. But it almost all got spoiled by a few talkative cast members. In Esposito's words:
I was at a party for the Emmys and some of the other actors from the show were there who I had not seen on the days that I was shooting. They said, 'Oh, you were on our show!' And I went, 'Nooo, not me.' And Evan Rachel [laughed]. And I said, 'But it's nice to meet you.' 'No, you were on our show! No, we were doing a scene at the other location and we were waiting for Sir Anthony Hopkins to come out of your trailer, because he's such a big fan and he wanted to see you.' And I said, 'Nooo, I don't think so. I think you must be mistaken' --- and they bought it! Actors who are on the show, who were there on another hill the day I was there! And I was just very excited about even trying to fool them. It gets to be a bit of a game, and it's fun when you think about it.
First, it's pretty incredible that Westworld even attempted to get Giancarlo Esposito involved for a top secret cameo appearance, since it's hard enough for some TV shows to hide casting notices from fanbases, much less the people who actually work on the set every day. And there were a ton of people involved with that El Lazo scene, too, with all (or most) of the Revolutionaries there to act out the shocking resolution where they all sacrificed themselves as part of Robert's plan to make things has hard as possible for the Man in Black's mission. Those actors would all need to be trusted as much as El Lazo would trust his own men, and they certainly kept a tight enough lid on it that viewers were fully shocked to see Gus Fring's face in that dimly lit scene.
Alas, it wasn't the actors in that scene that were responsible for almost blowing the lid off of the surprise cameo, but rather others on the show that appeared to not have any clue that it was even to be a secret. I'm sure Evan Rachel Wood was sitting there listening to that conversation and going, "I've heard more sensible discussions between the Westworld hosts."
I think it speaks to Giancarlo Esposito's acting chops that he came out of that conversation not only without spreading the word that he was involved, but also having fully changed others' beliefs that he was on the set. I mean, it's one thing make someone think they're misremembering an old song title or a memory from high school, but to just straight-up lie about a direct memory from months previous takes some thespian guts.
Speaking with The Wrap about his experience on Westworld, Giancarlo Esposito talked about how difficult it was to pull of the cameo while keeping the surprise intact.
Being on the set was the most difficult [part]. Just to stay in my trailer and not really show my face --- be cool about my presence there while I was shooting --- was one of the things I had to be conscious of because there were a lot of extras, a lot of actors who clearly I know, and I respect, who just wanted everyone to know, 'He's with us out here.' But after shooting and knowing that the scene had gone so very well, I was really actually even more excited about no one knowing.
Hopefully with more surprising cameos coming in the future, Westworld airs Sunday nights on HBO at 9:00 p.m. ET. Head to our summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows will be debuting soon.