SPOILER ALERT: This interview accommodates particulars about tonight’s Westworld season 3, third episode “The Absence of Subject” on HBO.

Wow. Tonight’s episode of Westworld confirmed us a Charlotte Hale we by no means knew. Deftly performed by Tessa Thompson (of such huge films because the Creed franchise and Thor: Ragnarok), the actress takes Charlotte to a number of nuanced emotional planes. Whereas Charlotte stays the cutthroat boss of Delos Corp, at the same time as a rebooted host, inside she’s an absolute mess, attempting to wrap her head across the ex-husband and younger son she’s simply change into in tune with in addition to the battle that’s happening within her, to the purpose the place she’s imposing bodily hurt upon herself. Thompson explains all of it for us. Tonight’s episode was directed by Amanda Marsalis and written by Denise Thé.

Earlier than we leap into speaking about tonight’s episode, how are you doing throughout this loopy time? 

Thanks a lot for asking. I’m all proper. I’m quarantined right here in Los Angeles and my household is all secure and sound. I’ve been attempting to actually determine the right way to greatest be of assist and repair throughout this time. It’s been so complicated. I do know so many individuals, not simply People globally are struggling, however I’ve been actually heartened by folks’s efforts on-line, whether or not it’s simply discovering some charitable solution to give again or simply connecting and offering leisure and solace for folks throughout this time. It’s very nice. So I’ve been watching.

It’s such a delicate time that I really feel like I’ve been largely simply creeping on social media however form of nervous about the right way to use it myself. There’s nice organizations like One Truthful Wage that’s doing actually nice work with serving to tip employees throughout this time since so many individuals are actually struggling and don’t get to work in the way in which that they often do. I’ve been simply attempting to assist form of shine some mild on these organizations which are actually important throughout this time. We’ll see, perhaps I’ll do one thing on-line however largely I’ve simply been utilizing this time to attach with family and friends and skim rather a lot and hand around in my backyard.

Tonight was a whopper of an episode for Charlotte. While you first acquired your fingers on the script, was your first impression? It’s a aspect of Charlotte we’ve by no means seen earlier than. Did Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Pleasure warn you to the truth that a giant one like this was coming down the road for Charlotte?

Westworld season 3 Tessa Thompson as Charlotte Hale
HBO

I imply, I used to be blown away by it. Each episode this season, I believe, has been so well-crafted. We’re actually attending to know these characters. They’re form of increasing in ways in which I don’t assume any of us actually anticipated. I believe the addition of those new characters have been so good. I had a dialog, perhaps a pair months out once they have been form of engaged on writing the present. Lisa needed to run some issues by me which was unimaginable. She let me learn about this concept that we’d get into Charlotte’s life; that she must go and take care of the outdated Charlotte’s actuality and a kind of issues can be her household life. So I had a way that that was coming, however past that, I had actually no thought. So a number of the issues within the episode have been such a shock to me.

I believe one factor that has been so fascinating about enjoying Charlotte up to now, to me she was like this form of enigmatic thought of what huge enterprise seemed like, what kind of company energy, dare I say, company evil appears like when it locations the underside line over its staff or the form of ethos of the corporate. However I had no thought up to now about who this lady was in her private life. It sort of didn’t even matter in a method as a result of she wasn’t somebody that cared rather a lot essentially about her personal private life. She was all work. So on this episode, you determine that she was a lady that was really battling the right way to exist on the earth as somebody that was on the frontline of enterprise but in addition a mom, a associate, battling the right way to make a relationship work. It was unimaginable to know that every one these items are form of taking place together with her, and I by no means knew that nor did the viewers. It was only a feast to get to work on this episode and to work with Amanda Marsalis and the unimaginable administrators, Denise Thé, the author. It was actually a pleasure making this episode.

Charlotte Hale, left of robotic, takes management in tonight’s episode.
HBO

So there’s a line towards the start the place Charlotte says, ‘Why should I be right here?’ So we all know that Dolores can occupy Charlotte. However is there one other soul inside Charlotte now? Is that somebody we would know or is that the outdated Charlotte? There’s a delicate aspect of Charlotte that’s combating the enterprise aspect that we all know.

I don’t know. I believe we’ll have to find that. I can say one factor is when she’s first form of turned on, no less than on this present, it’s form of like delivery in a method. Once we start the episode together with her, she’s a brand new being that has no thought of what they’re and whether or not or not it’s a consciousness that the viewers has seen earlier than, an outdated character that we’re accustomed to or a brand new one. I’ll say that over the course of this season this new being turns into one thing none of us has seen earlier than however it’s but a thriller, no less than in episode Three who this being is.

HBO

So, when did the true Charlotte die? Tonight, we acquired a way that it was on the finish of season one within the bloodbath however then we see within the season 2 finale the Charlotte-host killing one other Charlotte.

So the true Charlotte died towards the top of season two in that scene the place see Charlotte killing Charlotte and at that time the –Halores– she was occupied, this new shell was occupied by Dolores or Wyatt at the moment, who then killed the true Charlotte. However that H,alores, that form of Charlotte double had infiltrated previous to the dying of Charlotte. For these scenes, I believe round perhaps episode six or seven of season 2, one, for instance, the place you assume Charlotte is interrogating Jeffrey Wright’s character, Bernard however it’s the truth is Halores.

And sound frequencies that Charlotte retains receiving on her cellular phone on this episode — are you able to expound on that? It’s clearly main her to sure locations. 

At this level within the season it’s a thriller to her what these frequencies are. She’s attempting to determine, however she’s being despatched this form of ominous frequency. Somebody is attempting to attach together with her. It’s unclear who it’s, however she’s having to contend. I believe one factor that she does uncover in episode 3, and the viewers sort of already knew, is that she herself was sort of the mole inside Delos. She’s having to form of take care of that due to course she’s now answerable for Delos, so she’s having to form of determine some outdated decisions that Charlotte Hale made and what if any impact they’re going to have on her now as she’s infiltrated Charlotte’s life and the corporate.

As Charlotte breaks down emotionally within the resort, Dolores tells her, ‘You’re speaking like one in all them. They don’t have impulse management”

Westworld
HBO

It’s a reference to people. Yeah. I believe that’s one thing that we see this new model of Hale or Charlotte actually take care of this season as a result of Evan Rachel Wooden’s Dolores at this level is a brand new being on a mission that’s very resolute about what she’s after. That may unfold and change into clear to the viewers because the season goes on, however she is aware of what she desires now on this new world. I believe this model of Charlotte is in some methods her minion  despite the fact that it’s introduced that they’re form of equal they usually’re after the identical factor. This model of Charlotte form of discovers, I believe has to contend together with her house life, together with her personal concepts in regards to the humanity round her that she’s seeing, and he or she’s having all of those emotions actually eager to crawl out of her pores and skin. And on this second I believe Evan’s Dolores is attempting to say to her ‘Cease that.’ In a bizarre method, despite the fact that we’re sparring towards our personal humanity company in a method, this can be a time to be steadfast, to be like a robotic, and to be steadfast in our mission, and that’s going to be arduous for this model of Charlotte for a lot of causes this season.

Charlotte’s brutal piercing self infliction upon herself. That simply provides a complete different aspect to her. Are you able to speak extra about how she will be able to’t stand to be in her personal pores and skin?

HBO

It’s sophisticated. She’s having some actually robust emotions arising. When you have been a number within the park at Westworld and had sentients, which all of them did to various levels, definitely for Dolores, somebody like Charlotte was host enemy primary. She was somebody that didn’t care in regards to the host, didn’t imagine that they have been sentient beings, felt that they have been simply machines they usually have been items of kit that have been costly however in any other case not very helpful. So in a bizarre method, for any host thoughts and consciousness to be caught contained in the physique of somebody that didn’t care very a lot about them in any respect is painstaking sufficient.

Then I believe this being is having to take care of the truth that really persons are not good or unhealthy. That Charlotte, whereas as a number to a number, she was an enemy, a human or lady that beloved, that was attempting to do her greatest as a father or mother, that was attempting to do her greatest on the earth, and I believe that’s true of all folks. We’re neither good nor unhealthy. So I believe this explicit being is having a extremely arduous time contending with that. Additionally, there’s simply this worry of getting to take care of somebody like Serac, of getting to take care of the previous choices that Charlotte made and the way that form of put this being’s mission and livelihood actually in peril. So there’s a number of anxiousness.

I believe it’s a mess of issues that drive her to need to actually simply form of claw her pores and skin away. It’s a bizarre factor to say that it was enjoyable to play as a result of it’s not enjoyable and the reality is there’s very many individuals that truly damage themselves in that method; people which have a tough time with no matter they’re doing emotionally and he or she’s expressed it in that method. It’s harrowing and actually painful and arduous to observe and arduous to do. However I believed it was such a phenomenal form of bodily expression of what she’s going through internally and having to see her as a form of buttoned-up businesswoman however inside she’s actually simply struggling I believed was such a phenomenal, poetic, deeply unhappy factor to play. It was additionally somebody that’s sat with this character for lots of years, to see a aspect of her that was extra sympathetic is one thing that I by no means thought I might see. I imply, I actually thought I might die (laughs) in the course of the center of season one. So, I can’t imagine that I caught round this lengthy on this present, this present that I’m such a fan of. However to get to see a personality that I’ve beloved in my very own private method evolve and get to see new sides of her is admittedly unimaginable.

There’s a number of commentary about humanity in Westworld. In mild of what’s happening proper now on the earth with the coronavirus, has the present taken on a brand new which means for you?

One of many joys of engaged on this present has at all times been the methods by which it’s so profoundly poignant at these instances, whether or not it’s speaking in regards to the methods by which knowledge is used in opposition to us or asking the questions in regards to the nature of our humanity. For me, my favourite sort of leisure is the leisure that additionally holds a mirror as much as us; that we must be entertained and likewise be asking huge questions. To start with, I really feel like the whole lot has new which means nowadays for me. I’m clearly studying, watching, listening to rather a lot, as most individuals are as a result of there’s not a lot else to do as I’ve been in my home.

I’ve heard of this virus known as the good equalizer: That we’re all form of in the identical boat and to a sure extent that’s true, and I might posit that in some methods one thing like this additionally illuminates these of us which have privilege and people of us that don’t. To start with, to even get to remain house and quarantine and to assist flatten the curve is a privilege. Some folks can not try this. Some folks must work. Some folks must exit into their workforce. My sister, for instance, is a nurse. Day by day she places her life on the road. So in some methods, we’re all on this collectively and in different methods we aren’t.

I believe for me one thing that this season actually articulates is the methods by which, for instance, Aaron Paul’s character, Caleb, is caught on this loop and form of begins to make this realization in episode Three that the powers that be have determined what he’s able to and what he’s not able to and that they —Dolores says it, that they determine to not spend money on you and thereby it’s form of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe the identical factor occurs on this nation and globally. So I believe this time, this virus form of illuminates that. I imply, for instance, I had talked about earlier, tip employees for instance. I imply there are points in the way in which that tip employees are handled in any case previous to this virus and now you may actually see how important it’s that they’re paid a good wage throughout this time. Hopefully this time will help folks within the restaurant trade actually see that and make some adjustments total in order that once we bounce again from that, that the employees are paid pretty.

There’s a tinge of seeming form of post-apocalyptic (within the present). Typically I’d like to only watch one thing enjoyable as a result of there’s a lot uncertainty and a number of unhappiness, and I believe we’re actually struggling in ways in which we’re not used to, notably within the Western world and as People. Having this factor infringing form of on our private freedom, which is one thing that we’re probably not used to, however I believe for me I really feel this chance in methods to form of reshape the way in which that we dwell and the way in which that we deal with one another and the way in which that we deal with the planet.

That is form of begging us to have a look at these issues and actually deeply contemplate what lasting adjustments we are able to make. For that, I’m grateful. If there’s one silver lining, I’m grateful for it. I see positively this season the Hosts on Westworld are in a time once they’re pondering of attempting to actually reshape the world, and Dolores, for instance, is attempting to try this via revolution. However I might say the creation of a humanity that’s extra simply, variety, equal — it doesn’t occur with out some strife. It doesn’t occur with out some folks making some huge sacrifices. So these are the issues that I sort of take into consideration as I’m watching this season at the moment.