Created for television by Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy, the dark odyssey Westworld is about what happens when the artificial consciousness that you’ve programmed begins to develop a plan of its own. Its strong, compelling, violent and provocative first season made it HBO’s most-watched freshman series ever, and its 10-episode second season is sure to be even more mind-blowing, with twists and turns that you won’t see coming.
At a press day for the launch of the new season, Collider (along with a small handful of other outlets) participated in a roundtable interview with actress Angela Sarafyan to chat about her role as Clementine Pennyfeather, how Season 2 felt compared to Season 1, reading fan theories, being a part of the Rickroll, what’s next for Clementine, how the showrunners tell them just the right amount of what they need to know, at any given time, how this show has changed her, as an actress and as a person, what this show has to say about the world we live in today, and how she’d summarize the new season.
Question: Did going into Season 2 feel very different, actually knowing the show you were making, as opposed to not knowing, at least at the beginning of Season 1?
ANGELA SARAFYAN: I guess, yes. Before, it was in your imagination, and now, you’ve seen what it looks like. For it to be received so well was such a wonderful thing. But actually, I had no idea what Season 2 was gonna look like, so the mystery continued. I had no idea where the characters would go and what would happen, and it wasn’t what I expected. It really wasn’t. I haven’t even seen Episode 1, so I can’t wait to see it. They sent it to me, but I chose not to see it because I wanna experience it with everyone else. I think that there’s something cathartic in that, where everybody in the world is watching it and you’re watching it like, “Shit, is that what happened?!” And then, you live through it, every week.
Do you read what the fans tweet about the show?
SARAFYAN: Yes! I love looking on Reddit, and everything. The thing with the posters and how they saw every single detail was just so funny. Jonah [Nolan] said he wants people on Reddit to write Season 3, and they’ll just produce the episodes.
Do you have any favorite Reddit theories?
SARAFYAN: I had a funny experience in Season 1. Terry George, the filmmaker who did Hotel Rwanda, saw Episode 1, and I happened to meet him and he said, “Oh, Bernard’s a host.” I was like, “What?! No, he’s not!” He was like, “Yes, he is!” I was like, “How do you know this?!” Jeffrey Wright didn’t even know he was a host, in Episode 1 of Season 1. There are so many brilliant minds out there that could see things, before we can even see them, as actors. Writers have very different minds, and I feel like some of the people on Reddit are the same way. They see little details to things and clues. They’re like detectives.
What was it like to get to be a part of the Rickroll?
SARAFYAN: That was really fun. Jonah was like, “Can you learn to play this?” He told me the night before. I was like, “Sure!,” and then I just practiced. I play the piano, so it was just a matter of getting the notes. That’s why you see me so focused. I didn’t have time to prepare it, so I was like, “Come on, don’t make mistakes now, Angela!”
Now that you already know the world and characters, what was the vibe like on set, shooting Season 2 compared to Season 1?
SARAFYAN: Well, there’s so many different storylines, and it’s just a matter of creating relationships. With Clementine and Maeve, it’s love, it’s friendship and it’s a person that you trust. If you love someone and they’ve died, you’re connected to them always. I loved having that and being at the Mariposa in Sweetwater, all of Season 1, and the relationships there. I didn’t see where Season 2 would go. We felt like a family, so it was just nice to see everyone because I like the people I work with. I feel so grateful, every day, that I get to work with them. It just felt good, even if we had to wake up at 3am and drive an hour out. Sometimes my call time was at 3am, so and I’d wake up at 2am and drive out to the desert, and I would just be so happy to see everyone because they’re good people. I think that comes from the fact that Jonah and Lisa are so humble and so kind and brilliant. It’s just a rare combination, so everybody under them reflects that.
What can you say about where things pick up for Clementine?
SARAFYAN: Well, maybe you might see some things in Season 2 that might reflect a little bit of the freedom the experienced, at the end of Season 1.