Evan Rachel Wood learned of her Outstanding Drama Actress Emmy nomination for Westworld the way Dolores would: in bed, and completely unaware of the narrative set in motion for her.
“What I try to do is forget when they’re gonna be announced so that it’s a nice surprise and so you’re not losing sleep with the anticipation killing you,” Wood tells EW. “So I kind of put it out of my mind and saw the phone ringing this morning and thought, ‘Ooookay, I bet I know what this is.'” She laughs. “It’s wonderful. I’ve been speaking to my cast-mates all morning and I’m so proud of them and the show, and everyone involved works so hard on it and loves it so much. It’s just a wonderful feeling when it’s a perfect storm like this.”
It’s a storm — a storm of 22 nominations, the most for a drama this year — they’ve been waiting for for a long time. Wood began working on the pilot for the HBO thriller in 2014, and stepping into Dolores’ boots for a second season feels just as fresh as the first time she headed West. “The amazing thing about this show is I don’t think it will ever be the same every season,” she says. “There’s always something more that we’re learning about the characters and that they’re learning about themselves and becoming more and more awake, at least in Dolores’ case. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to approach every season the same way… It’s rare to be on something where you get to keep reinventing your character.”
“Thank God we had Lisa Joy and Jonathan [‘Jonah’] Nolan at the helm,” she adds of the showrunners. “I don’t know if I would have really trusted anybody else to give me just as much information as I needed to be informed enough but not all the way. It was the first time where I played a role where I didn’t know my arc, where the character was going to end up… Once I started reading where [Dolores] was going and I started putting things together and learned about the multiple timelines — which I learned about accidentally at the end of episode 3 — that’s when I threw everything out the window and went, ‘I don’t know anything anymore!’ I really just surrendered to the experience after that.”
But for fans who have to wait until 2018 to see season 2, Wood does have a small tease to offer. “Jonah and Lisa summed it up really well: The first season was defined by control, and the second season will be defined by chaos,” she explains. “From the little that I know, they are not kidding. It’s even more ambitious than the first season, so get ready.”
Wood, too, is getting prepared for the season to come. As she revealed on her Instagram, she’s begun her corset training, which involves wearing a corset and tightening it every day in a process she admits she avoided for season 1 and ended up wishing she hadn’t. “I hate it, I really do, but I gotta do it,” she says, laughing. “I didn’t do it before season 1 and I regretted it, so I’m just trying to get ready. I’m the jerk that insists on wearing it because it makes me stand differently and I want to carry myself correctly, so even when I’m horseback riding, they’re like, ‘Do you want to take the corset off?’ and I’m like, ‘No!'”
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Luckily, she won’t have to sit through corset training to prepare for the Emmys. Wood says she’s rooting for Big Little Lies (“I binge-watched it, and it was just one of the most moving, honest pieces I’ve seen in a while,” she gushes) on awards night, and of course, can’t wait to reunite with the currently scattered Westworld cast, whom she calls her “favorite people.”
Westworld returns in 2018. The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live nationwide on CBS.
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