Evan Rachel Wood is back for more violent delights, and seemingly violent ends, on Westworld season two.
“I was blown away,” she recalls of getting the first script of the season. “I thought, OK, well, let's see how we ease back into this, you know? But they waste no time. I mean, we hit the ground running in a way that I don't think anybody saw coming.”
ET caught up with the 30-year-old actress at a press day for the HBO hit, where she admitted to being in “utter disbelief” about where the story is going this season.
“We're not picking up exactly where we left off,” she teases. Westworld’s first season ended with a literal bang as Wood’s “host,” Dolores, channeled one of her other personalities, Wyatt, to shoot and kill Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), essentially Westworld’s architect, at an event celebrating the park.
“We're going to pick up in the aftermath a bit, and we're going to see, definitely in the first episode, where Dolores is at with herself, her many selves,” Wood shares. “It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I spoke to [showrunners] Jonah [Nolan] and Lisa [Joy] before season two started to kinda say, 'OK, so, where is Dolores now? Is there anything I can watch? Are there any references?' Like, 'What tone are you going for?' And Jonah just goes, 'I don't think there's ever been a character like this,' and I go, 'Great! Oh, cool. No pressure! It's never been done.'”
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“So, it really was interesting finding where she is, and who she is now,” Wood adds. “What I love about the character is that I think, there's endless possibility. She can be whoever she wants to be, so.”
Wood compares Dolores to Jekyll and Hyde, saying her biggest challenge in season two was figuring out how to play someone who has access to multiple selves all at once.
“It was really intense,” Wood says. “I also thought I was coming back and playing, like, somebody with the soul of a man. Like, Wyatt was a man and I was going to have this-- but then they reminded me that Wyatt can also be a girl's name.”
Fans got their first look at the new season during Super Bowl LII, when a minute-and-a-half long teaser debuted during a commercial break. In the spot, Dolores announces, “Look at this world, this beautiful world. We built this world together, a world where dreams come true. A world where you can be free, but this world is a lie. This world deserves to die, because this is your world. We’ve lived by your rules long enough. We can save this world. We can burn it to the ground, and from the ashes, build a new world. Our world.”
Now, Wood says Dolores’ speech in the promo might be a bit of a red herring, admitting to ET that she’s not sure if Dolores’ mission this season is, in fact, to destroy Westworld.
“It's always more complicated than you think,” she offers. “I think she definitely wants her freedom, and she wants access to the world that's been denied to her. I don't know if her endgame is destroying it yet or not. I think that's something we're gonna explore a bit more.”
Helping Dolores to explore the future of Westworld is her love interest, Teddy (James Marsden).
“I think this season, for them, it's going to be the first time that they're really interacting off-script, you know?” Wood shares, “and finding out what their relationship is, now that there are no barriers and no narratives, and if that love is real, you know, or just imagined.”
“I think there is code of Teddy's that he's retained, and a lot of that is his loyalty and allegiance and love and affection for Dolores,” Marsden tells ET. “But, that's not to say that doesn't get challenged this season. I think they're going through a considerable phase of growth, and we'll see where they go.”
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“Even though certain things are programming, that doesn't necessarily mean they're not real, you know?” Wood says. “Just 'cause you program love doesn't mean it doesn't feel like love.”
Viewers will also get to see Wood team up with Maeve (Thandie Newton), who at the end of season one seemed to be on a mission to track down her daughter, who may or may not exist.
“That's the assumption, and it's an assumption,” Newton teases. “As far as I guess, Maeve knows, or we know, she has a degree of command over what she's doing. But because I'm so flummoxed by, you know, the second season, in a really good way, you know, it's like I'm really paying attention now. I'm really paying attention. Like, in season one I was just, like, emotionally it was like I was on a trip, you know, like a spiritual trip with Maeve and now I'm like, my brain is kicked right in with season two.”
Westworldreturns to HBO for season two -- which Wood and Marsden describe as “complete chaos” and a “revolution” -- on Sunday, April 22. For more on the show, check out the videos and links below.