Evan Rachel Wood: working with Anthony Hopkins ‘like watching Da Vinci paint’

Mild spoilers for Westworld follow
I took the advice of those of you who were urging me to watch Westworld and marathoned it over the weekend. The show is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, with so many layers to the interactions between the hosts, or the robots who work in the wild west-themed park, and the humans who visit and work there. It’s really hard not to get addicted to the show, so if you’re considering watching Westworld do it now before you lose an entire weekend. There are so many excellent performances that you get lost in the story and start to take the debauchery and violence for granted. There were think pieces last week about the host with his head caved in, but it didn’t even phase me, nor did the orgy scenes in the new border town of Pariah. After a while you just kind of accept that there are different rules in Westworld. Apparently it was a bit of a shock to the actors who were filming those scenes. Evan Rachel Wood has an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in which she talks about the evolution of her character, Dolores, and how it was to sit naked in front of her creator, Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins. There seems to be a whole backstory between Delores and Ford. Rachel tells THR that she tried to figure out what it could be by studying Hopkins’s demeanor during those scenes, but that she couldn’t get a read on him.

Episode five is a big one for Dolores, starting with her arrival in Pariah. What does she make of the town?
I think what we’re starting to notice, especially in this episode, is she is improvising. She’s really breaking code. She’s speaking in a less damsel, Disney princess-type of way, and more like a philosophical stoner. (Laughs.) She’s suddenly asking different questions about her reality, and she’s also making sense of it very quickly, and in an evolved way. Like, when she sees Pariah, she doesn’t freak out; she says, “It’s beautiful in its own way.” Because it’s almost what the world looks like when it’s not pretending. It’s just an honest world. She’s also obviously starting to hear things that she would normally be programmed not to …

And seeing things, as well.
Yes. She’s seeing things and talking to the voice, which is getting louder and stronger. I think she’s scared about what’s happening, but she’s compelled to see where this is going to take her. And we also saw Dolores and Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) have a scene together for the very first time this season.

What are some of your memories of shooting those scenes?
It was breathtaking. Because obviously I was so excited to know what it’s like to do a scene with Anthony Hopkins. But it wasn’t just a scene. It was an empty glass box, and I sat on a stool, naked, and Anthony Hopkins was five inches away from my face. It was such an intense scene, and especially for Ford. I feel like it’s the first time we’ve really seen him vulnerable and scared, without all the answers. There’s 30 years of history between him and Dolores that we still don’t quite understand, and I’m still trying to figure out exactly what’s going on in that scene, and who they are to one another, and why he’s so scared.

The scene ends on a great note, as Dolores asks Ford: “Are we friends?” And he very chillingly replies, “I wouldn’t say that at all.” So what are they?
It could mean so many things. They could be enemies, or not. When Anthony and I did that scene, he did every single take differently. I thought I might be able to get clues from his performance, and then it changed every time. So I was like, “Aw, man! It could be anything!” He blew me away with his acting. Of course, we all know Anthony Hopkins is one of the greatest performers of our time, but seeing him in person and seeing those subtleties and seeing them change every take was just like watching Da Vinci paint. It reminded me why I love what I do. It was unbelievable. I even forgot I was naked! It was that good!

What was your experience shooting the scenes at the sex party in Pariah?
It was so crazy. It was one of the craziest days of shooting I’ve ever had in my entire life. I just kept having to go into a corner, put my earphones on, and try to zone out, because I also had to sit there and not really react to what I was seeing, and it was… people were painted gold and red, and there were orgies, and we had no warning. We just walked on set and there it was. (Laughs.) Jimmi Simpson and I just kind of clung to each other.

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

Mild speculative spoilers
She’s so thoughtful about her work and about Westworld and you never once doubt that she’s an automaton coming into consciousness. EWR is selling the hell out of this show and she has another interview with Huffington Post where she gets incredibly excited talking about how intense it gets in episode five and beyond. I especially liked her character’s arc in episode five, where she picked up a gun and decided to no longer be the damsel in distress.

I’m only just delving into this show and have realized that there are all sorts of theories about what’s really going on with Dolores and with the various characters. There’s a theory that seems to hold some weight that there are two versions of Dolores, and that’s why she keeps seeing herself. That would also explain how the bandit who was killed by The Man in Black, Lawrence, turns up as El Lazlo so soon afterwards. There’s another theory that we’re looking at different timelines and that two of the human characters are actually the same person at different phases of their life. I’m not going to get into that but you can read about both of those theories on Huffington Post. I hope the second one is not true.

Also, there are SO MANY talented actors on this show. I love Thandie Newton and I want to see more of Rodrigo Santoro. Ed Harris is perfect as the Man in Black and it goes without saying that Anthony Hopkins slays.




photos credit: HBO

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31 Responses to “Evan Rachel Wood: working with Anthony Hopkins ‘like watching Da Vinci paint’”

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  1. swak says:

    I love Anthony Hopkins. He’s such a great actor! Was hoping it was on Netflix – but is not 🙁

  2. paolanqar says:

    Just 2 things:

    1. she is a fantastic actress in Westworld
    2. Can you imagine having to be naked in front of Anthony Hopkins while pretending to be a humanoid? that would take some balls.

    I never really had feelings for her but now I love her.

    my take is that Arnold is not dead, he is the voice and is trying to het the humanoids give him information for some sort of revenge on mr ford

  3. lightpurple says:

    I want to see more of Rodrigo Santoro WITH Thandie Newton. They had electric chemistry in the scene they had together and she is really killing it on this show. I watch for Thandie. And the scene this week with Hopkins and Ed Harris was a master class.

    • Hannah says:

      Rodrigo Santoro was always very flat in brazilian soap operas even when he had a good character, so I wouldn’t expect much.

    • Giddy says:

      I thought he and Thandie were great together also. He was beginning to soften from just being a gunslinger when the door burst open with gunfire. I love this show and often repeat sections because so much is going on!

      • Lightpurple says:

        Right? We’ve just cut a bullet out of that was inexplicably imbedded in an abdomen, they’re shooting down the door, kiss me!

      • BunnyBabe says:


        What if Hector is a host made in the likeness of Logan? They do say they keep your DNA and we know Logan screwed everything that moved, so they’ve got his DNA on deck… possibly a clone? I think they look so much alike.

        Side note: I love Ed Harris’s laugh, too. It gives me life!!

    • QQ says:

      YEESS that was so Firey! that show is giving me everything!

      Its’ so stunning to watch, Interesting I cannot wait how these threads will develop.

  4. amukay says:

    I really think Evan Rachel Wood is a great actress. She’s so good at playing the vulnerable innocent characters (Barefoot, anyone?), and then immediately flipping to cold and detached.

    Westworld is my new favourite show – I’m obsessed! Has anyone read the Terms & Conditions the showrunners released? Gives some good hints about what’s to come.

    • BunnyBabe says:

      Omg I totally have🙋🏼 I think things are going to start getting crazy (crazier?) as we venture outside of the towns

      Have you been to the discoverwestorld.com site and done the chat with the host? It’s crazy how you can ask them any question you want…

  5. susanne says:

    Gah. don’t have the hbox. At least first episode is free. I trust y’all.

  6. eggy weggs says:

    Westworld is mind-blisteringly good. I watched the first two episodes and all other TV was poo for a few days. OK, I’m over that now, but dang, Westworld! I’m so glad we are living in the golden age of TV.

  7. Dani says:

    Nothing interesting to say besides I met a guy who sings for a mildly known indie band who dated Evan Rachel Wood, she came to a show I was at, super friendly but sooo different than how she comes off in interviews/Hollywood.

  8. Sarah says:

    Sorry to come across as smug and obnoxious but I TOLD YOU SO, GUYS. Westworld is amazing. Best new show on TV. Jonah Nolan is a freaking genius and his wife Lisa Joy is proving to be brilliant too.

    I’m so glad that people who judged this show without seeing it and called out ERW for defending the violence in it gave it a shot and re-evaluated their opinions. ERW is playing Dolores just right. And I’m kind of crushing on Jimmi Simpson, the guy who is playing William.

    As far as theories go, I don’t think there are multiple versions of hosts running around. If that were the case, then why replace Dolores’s father in the first episode with a different looking hosts?

    Now if the show has one timeline, then MiB killed Lawrence in broad daylight around the time William and Logan were getting to Pariah. But they had to wait one whole night to see El Lazlo. That’s plenty of time to repair Lawrence’s neck and ship him back to Pariah. After all, we only saw Lawrence at the end of his loop, where he’s hanged unless a guest like MiB intervened. Maybe he’s has always been El Lazlo who is captured by the sheriff after he leaves Pariah who then try to hang him.

    • Giddy says:

      I agree completely. The actors are uniformly great. And so are the special effects. I look forward each week to this show and didn’t expect to, so it’s a very nice surprise.

      • Sarah says:

        The actors really are amazing. They are all doing a fantastic job with the equally fantastic writing.

  9. QQ says:

    WHAT IF EVERYONE IN THE STAFF ARE ROBOTS TOOO YOU GUYS??!?!? I’m enthralled by that!, I totally could watch a show on the staff, or on the Past of the park, or on Storyline building, or on the loops of any given character ( honestly I’ve been scourging the site and I saw some internal memos, seems like everyone behind the scenes are Running amok doing inappropriate stuff and the robots have been malfunctioning for a while, is so so so well done and well thought out!0

    • BunnyBabe says:

      Yes QQ!! They totally expose the corporate culture where the employees are doing whatever and no one really is supervising them… funny, true, and not going to be so funny when it starts going down!

      Um questions:

      That worker stole a bird?! Who else is stealing stuff? (Oh my bad, he said “borrowed” lmao)

      Satellite monitoring/transmitting? ARNOLD is that you?!

      What’s up with the blood transfusion thing, and that little kid is back… I swear he’s Ford’s spy. Paging Varys!

      My poor Teddy bear. And we lost Lawrence, who is hands down the funniest guy on the show to me now. I need him back STAT. Doesn’t he seem older in the MiB gallows storyline, like maybe they moved his role after being El Lazo for a while?!

  10. Kyrgios says:

    Wish i had time to watch TV. Might have to binge watch this when I’m on annual leave.

  11. Juls says:

    I watch this show and do enjoy it. The acting is on par with GOT. But some holes in the premise bug me. Maybe you guys can help me out. For instance, how can the guests tell hosts from other guests? How do they keep guests from accidentally killing each other?!

    • J. says:

      The guns aren’t “real.” They only work on hosts, and the hosts’ guns have some kind of special effect that makes it look like a guest is shot for realism, but they can’t be killed. This was all explained in the show.

    • Schnee says:

      The guns can only fake-kill the hosts and the hosts are additionally programmed not to kill guests otherwise either (like with hands or knives).

      But what we learned in ep. 5 is that hosts in the outer regions are allowed to at least hurt and injure guests (Logan is getting beat up). Very interesting. This means that it is indeed getting more dangerous the more you leave the established paths as a guest.

    • BunnyBabe says:


      Go chat with Aeden at http://www.discoverwestworld.com and you can ask him any question you want!! Try these awesome words to say to him…

      Jon Snow (this one is hilarious)
      Violent delights
      Man in Black

  12. TalkingAbout says:

    Love Anthony Hopkins!

  13. BunnyBabe says:

    Yay CB thank you for this post!

    I wasn’t initially a two timeline gal, but I’m beginning to think that’s the case because MiB could easily be a jaded William who’s been coming back for 30 years. We’re seeing today’s storyline with the MiB AND simultaneously watching the events that led to the disaster 30 years ago.

    Some Evidence they could be the same🤓

    Same eye color (blue) and race (caucasian)

    No Maeve interactions with William. It’s Clementine working outside of the brothel in William’s time. And when Maeve bugs out in present time they say that Clementine has done the job before, so she should fill Maeve’s role.

    Old Westworld logos are shown during William’s entrance to the park vs the new logos used today.

    Dolores keeps having flashbacks to another time as evidenced by the lack of people in her flashbacks as contrasted with the people around her in the present time.

    This show has completely sucked me in. I’ve seen all the episodes countless times and I practically live on Reddit’s Westworld page.

  14. DesertReal says:

    What I love the most, is its complexity.
    It’s literally a show about whatever you see it as.
    Westworld is a total kaleidescope of writing, acting, directing, and pulling the thread on a story that is completely subjective. Its incredible. Love it.

    Oh! And I think Anthony Hopkins killed Arnold.