A version of this story about Jeffrey Wright first appeared in the Emmy Hot List issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
For the first two seasons of “Westworld,” we mostly saw Jeffrey Wright’s character, android programmer (and actual android) Bernard Lowe, inside the created environment of the Westworld theme park. But Season 3, which landed 11 Emmy nominations, including one for Wright, finds Bernard taking on a secret identity and navigating his way in the real world.
It also, in the closing moments of its May finale, found Bernard emerging from a long journey into The Sublime, the digital world housing all of the Westworld hosts that Dolores locked away safely from human control at the end of Season 2. We know it was a long journey because Bernard is covered in dust when he finally opens his eyes — but how long it’s been is the question.
Can you tell us what that finale post-credits scene that shows Bernard coming out of The Sublime after a time jump means for Season 4? And how big of a time jump was it?
Bernard steps into The Sublime and at some point he steps out of it, it seems with a bit more information than he had previously. And perhaps with a bit more clarity than he’s previously enjoyed. Now, the question of when it is that he comes out, I think, is a very simple one. I think we find him emerging from The Sublime after the pandemic has passed (Laughs). He’s come out of that thing fully vaccinated, OK, and ready to live a new and more free existence going forward. Where he’s going, we don’t necessarily know, but he’s different than he was before he left.
When it came to the actual logistics of shooting the real world versus the park, what was the experience like for you to finally get out of the park?
What was so ingenious and beautiful, I thought, was the way in which Jonathan (Nolan) and Lisa (Joy) used multiple locations across three continents to represent this future. It was exciting for us not only to travel to these different places to help create the world, but when watching the shows, to see the way in which those locations had been woven together to create the stage upon which “Westworld” take place this year. We have instances where it’s Exterior: Singapore, Interior: Downtown L.A. And done seamlessly. It’s just stunning stuff, and I think added so much to the depth and the authenticity of this, in some ways, inauthentic futuristic world.
What would you describe as the most challenging part for you of playing Bernard this season versus the first two seasons?
I don’t know if there were struggles. For him, there is still this ongoing existential crisis that he’s confronted with–the concerns about whether or not he’s being manipulated, and by whom? So that struggle against this idea of freedom is the challenge that he’s faced in the past and the one that he faces currently.
And I guess on some level that is an even more resonant challenge for me, and I think for all of us, because it reflects a reality that exists within our world now. The question of how we are being manipulated, controlled and influenced in ways that we probably aren’t as aware of as we should be — that was a big theme in the show this year, and one that I was really excited to explore.
I also think that theme became increasingly relevant when the show played out in the midst of the events in our country and in the world around this outbreak. Behaviors around this thing are in many ways the function of information we’re receiving–and whether or not that information is reliable. Whether or not that information is driving us to make healthy decisions for ourselves is an enormous question. So the themes of the show this year became increasingly relevant as the show progressed, but also as the world progressed, or regressed.
Read more from the Emmy Hot List issue of TheWrap Emmy magazine.