Tribeca Film Festival: ‘Westworld’ Panel and Q&A

Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores) in Westworld

A Q&A for the HBO series ‘Westworld’ went awry, but not after the cast and crew discussed what is in store for the upcoming second season.

Though predominantly known for their film content, the Tribeca Film Festival also presents a number of television programs as well every year, and this year happened to include a Q&A and discussion with the cast and creators of the hit show Westworld. Westworld, which premieres its second season this Sunday, April 22nd, on HBO, is ramping up expectations and preparing the audience for what is sure to be a season of twists, turns and more. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, the married showrunners, were joined on stage by four of the stars of the show, James MarsdenThandie NewtonEvan Rachel Wood, and Jeffrey Wright, moderated by writer Christopher Orr. Together, the six discussed the expectations set for them and what will happen in the upcoming season.

Following a screening of the premiere, the cast and crew heard about what to expect from the rest of the series. One of the biggest talking points is the upcoming “Shogun World” which will debut in the season, following another park with its own problems. The introduced world will come with its own cast of character, changing the stakes for everyone. According to Nolan, the park of the first season was designed by Anthony Hopkins’ character to look like “a John Ford movie or a Sergio Leone movie,” so for Shogun World both Hopkins’ character and Nolan & Joy looked to the films of famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, and using for Shogun World “an entirely Japanese cast and Japanese stunt choreographers” in order to make the world seem authentic.

For both Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood, the journey their characters go on in the second season were quite surprising and dangerous, with Wood saying that for the upcoming season “I’m still trying to figure that out,” and that she “didn’t know who her character was in season two.” Newton, on the other hand, was more candid about how her escaped host Maeve will react to the outside world: “She’s f—-d!”

The actors also talked about the secrecy surrounding the newest season and how that confused their own performances as well. Wood discussed how she sometimes wouldn’t know what episode they were filming at any given moment. For a show notorious for a sense of secrecy (down to the trolling YouTube video released a few weeks ago promising “all of the spoilers of season two”), it was just as hard on the cast as it will be on the audience.

The night ended with a Q&A and one very uncomfortable question in particular. A man stood up and after gushing over the cast and crew, asked of Jonathan Nolan would read his screenplay. Q&A etiquette rule number one: Don’t Do That. As a result the panel wrapped up quickly and the night drew to a very awkward close.

See the full panel below, and stay tuned for the premiere of season two of Westworld on Sunday.

The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, runs April 18-29.

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