For Westworld Season 2, creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy decided to use a detective noir format to lay out the aftermath of the Season 1 finale bloodbath, which meant the second batch of episodes was heavily steeped in timeline switcheroos, memory-based mysteries and unexpected character dualities. At the center of it all was the ever-evolving Dolores, but that doesn't mean star Evan Rachel Wood was in full understanding of everything that was happening in the twisting and turning narrative. In her words:
I had no idea what was happening in Season 2. At all. And we shot out of order, so most of the time --- I mean, it was insane to be an actor on Season 2. I don't know how I feel about it. [Laughs.] But it was a ride. We stopped reading the call sheets. We would show up and Jeffrey and I would ask what episode we were in. It was kind of that level of --- we just lived in the moment in whatever scene that we were doing, and that's how we made it.
That's as hilarious a sentiment as it is a disturbing one. It's amusing to think about all of Dolores' heavily complex and emotionally driven sequences in Season 2, and to then picture Evan Rachel Wood walking way from each of those scenes wide-eyed and shrugging, without much of a clue as to how those moments would connect to any or all of the others. The joys of being an actor, right?
It almost feels counter-intuitive for the stars of a major TV drama -- one that got nominated for a whopping 21 Emmy Awards, no less -- to be entirely out of the loop (no pun intended) for the main storyline. Keeping the plot points a secret is one thing, but keeping principal cast members in the dark about their own characters seems like the backwards route to take. But regardless of how much or how little she knew was going on, Evan Rachel Wood still put forth one of the most chilling TV performances of the year so far, and the actress' general cluelessness offers an interesting balance with the endless calculations happening inside Dolores' mind(orb).
When speaking with Vulture, Evan Rachel Wood was asked how much she and co-star Tessa Thompson rehearsed Dolores together, and Wood's answer shined another light on how little the actors were told as the season went on.
You know, it's hilarious because we became really good friends at the beginning of Season 2, and then we started hanging out, and then all of a sudden we realized that we were gonna be the same person [laughs] and it was very strange! This show is so funny. Because they didn't tell us anything. . . . But you know, we weren't really doing scenes together, and I was basically playing a different character this season. So when she found out she had to kind of be me, she came to me and said, 'Wait --- what have you been doing?' [Laughs.] I'm like, 'OH! Oh right! Yeah, I've got to do the voice for you and everything!' So I just made recordings and she really made it her own, it was good.
Considering the Dolores-as-Hale twist probably wasn't bandied about around the Westworld offices, Tessa Thompson and Evan Rachel Wood had to get together on the side to figure out the best way to make the dual-character performance work. And then who knows what kind of context they were given outside of that. Did the stars even know those late scenes were in Arnold's real-world house? Did Wood and Thompson know they were actually acting opposite a working android prototype of actor Jeffrey Wright? (That's not real. Or is it?)
Even if both Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Harris, and most likely everyone else, were kept in the dark for most of the production of Westworld Season 2, it definitely didn't hamper anyone's performances, with much of the confusion playing perfectly into the characters' arcs. And now, everyone gets to be completely mystified by potential Season 3 plotlines until that season ends up premiering in another 2 years or so.
For now, dive back into the chaos by rewatching Season 2 on HBO Go or HBO Now, and head to our non-confusing summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows will be showing up soon .