Westworld badass Evan Rachel Wood on season 3: 'Dolores is on a rampage'
She's Dolores Abernathy, the Deathbringer, Wyatt and — who knows? — perhaps some other personas all rolled into one. Westworld's android avenger mesmerizingly played by Evan Rachel Wood is on a mission in the radically reimagined new season of the acclaimed HBO drama series as she embarks on a quest in our "real world" to ... well, we're not exactly sure what she's up to, at least at first. But it's something. And her goal collides her with Caleb (Aaron Paul), a construction worker/freelance gig-economy criminal who might just change humanity's ultimate fate.
Below Wood chats (spoiler-free) about Westworld season 3, which premieres Sunday night on HBO, as well explains her viral Cats review.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your reaction when you the scripts this time?
EVAN RACHEL WOOD: Massive excitement mainly because every season is always different and we all know that our characters will be evolving and changing and growing into something completely new. So I was excited to see who divorced was in the presumably real world and I was completely blown away.
What about it blew you away?
I think we've been waiting for some time to experience the world outside of Westworld and how it operates. Westworld has always been a metaphor for a number of things, but it has been a metaphor for the world that we live in and the loops that we're all stuck in. Now we really get to see that play out in a way that we haven't seen before. And realizing that Westworld [the park] may not be all that different from the world we live in now. And what are the mistakes that we are making now look like in the future? How do they play out? How does technology advance in a way that we don't understand it anymore? And what happens when you plunk Dolores in the middle of that — when we still don't really know what Dolores' endgame is.
We know she's on a rampage, sure. But she's also a highly intelligent, very strategic being. We've seen the carnage of her plan, but now we get to see the more meticulous Dolores and the one who has to blend in with the real world and is now a fish out of water. This is all new territory for her. And I think her relationship with Aaron causes her to question a lot of things about the human race. So I'm excited for people to get to know her on an even deeper level and see things she's capable of.
You sort of lightly touched on each of my next three questions within one answer. But let's try to go a little deeper on them anyway. And I know this is probably tricky to talk about. But what can we gather about her motivation at this point? We got a sense in season 2 that she aspires to some degree of host global domination. Or is there something more to it than that?
I don't think it will be what people expect, but we will certainly get to learn more about what she is really after. And she's learning along the way, as well. A lot of questions that have lingered since the first season will be answered. Considering how quickly she's able to process situations, read people and plot out strategies in her head, she's just 10,000 steps ahead of everyone. So what may not make a lot of sense to us for a couple of seasons might start making sense now. Because she's had a plan the whole time, we just don't know what that is yet.
You said that she has to try and blend in. We know the ways in which hosts are different from humans, but now that she's in the real world are there new things she has to do to pass for human?
I think it's going to be funny watching a robot pretending to be human, pretend to be human-human. It's one thing to be a character in park, now she has to really blend in with human beings, which means she has to be a little more flawed and messy. And the closer you get to pretending to be something, the more dangerous it can be because you start to understand it more and more. It will be interesting to see her relationship with human beings evolve and that could be good or could be very bad. There'll be a lot of the Dolores we know and love, but there'll also be new complicated emotions that she's going to have to wade through.
She's gotten more human-seeming as time has gone on. It sounds like that continues here even if it's just at a strategic level.
Right. The fun thing about Dolores is she's very hard to read, especially last season. She gets to have a little more fun. She's freer. Now that she no longer has these chains, she's 10 times more dangerous. We know she's escaped with a number of pearls [host control units]. So part of this may be a bit of a who's-who kind of thing.
You mentioned her relationship with Aaron Paul and showrunner Jonathan Nolan has talked about how he shows her a little bit more of the better side of humanity. Can you give a sense of whether this is a romantic connection, a friendship, a business partnership?
It's nothing black and white. It's very complicated. Her one true love will always be Teddy, they're bound together. She's lost him now. She's lost her core program. It's gonna be a journey for her and certainly a journey for anybody who develops feelings for Dolores, especially a human. A fish and a bird may fall in love, but where would they build their nest?
Sure. I don't know if this is unintentionally a tricky question, but, do you have a hope for your character and in terms of where and what you would like for her, eventually?
I would love to see a very pure version of her. She was forced to merge with Wyatt in the first season and that wasn't quite her choice. So I'm curious to see how she's gonna make peace with the fact that's a part of her. Maybe she can find a way to remove that part of her if she so decides. I think it'd be interesting for her to really be able to be exactly who she wants to be and not something that was forced upon her. I don't know when or how that would happen. The original version of her is still in there somewhere. I'm wondering what that would look like.
And finally, on another topic, did you get any flack in the industry for your hilariously candid Cats review?
Here's the thing: I really never do stuff like that. I don't like saying things that are not favorable, especially about other works of art. This one, however, I had such a visceral reaction to it that I was having a literal anxiety attack watching it. Without thinking, I didn't know what else to do but not be alone in it and broadcast my reaction. There was no malice in it. I respect all the work that goes into these things, but I did have kind of a freakout. Go see it. Love to all of them. Decide for yourself. But I think it's good to be prepared.