'Westworld': Jeffrey Wright Teases New Discoveries in Season 3 Finale (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Caleb (Aaron Paul) isn't just helping Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) with her plan to start a revolution. He is the plan to start a revolution.
It was Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) who made that discovery on Sunday night's episode of Westworld, titled "Passed Pawn" -- just as his life was being threatened by the Man in Black (Ed Harris).
The revelation is a lofty one ahead of next week's season three finale, which will see whether a now-motivated Caleb has what it takes to bring Dolores' vision of chaos to life. While she and Maeve (Thandie Newton) are incapacitated after their knife fight, we haven't seen the last of them. Promos have shown we're in for at least one more ferocious battle between the hosts.
As for Bernard, who Dolores brought back to life to potentially stop her, it seems he's still yet to fulfill his core drive. (And thus has a mission to accomplish in the finale.)
"We'll see where this goes," Wright tells ET -- and it's about as big of a hint as he can offer to whether the next week's episode will see Bernard dead or alive.
"The Man in Black is doing Man in Black things as usual," he offers, before segueing into his thoughts on the season as a whole. Speaking generally puts Wright back into his comfort zone, unconcerned with what secrets or spoilers he could potentially reveal.
The actor has been "thrilled" with the season as a Westworld viewer, and someone who still has fond memories of reading the show's pilot script. "It was wonderfully structured and efficient and poetic and evocative," he remembers. "The premise clearly gave space to explore in all different directions... so to see the ways in which we continue this season is really exciting."
Season three "flips itself inside out and looks at itself in the mirror, but kind of upside down and backward," in typical Westworld fashion, Wright describes with a laugh -- so the easiest way to tee up the finale is to tell fans to expect the unexpected.
In an interview with ET, Wright opens up about his season three storyline and where he'd like to see Bernard go in season four. He also teases what to expect from his other projects, like Matt Reeves' The Batman and the final James Bond film, No Time to Die.
ET: This season, Bernard has really shepherded the audience through this new world, helping us draw conclusions about what Dolores is up to. Have you felt like you're leading the viewers in that way?
Jeffrey Wright: Yeah, Bernard has from the beginning played a kind of detective role, sleuthing through the park on a mission of discovery about the secrets of that place, but also the secrets in within his own being. So, he kind of continues now on an exploration in that way, still discovering this new world outside [the park], but also still mining down into himself. ... When he discovers the light, the audience does too, so there is a bit of a line that there that brings everyone on the journey.
One answer Bernard hasn't given us is why Dolores brought him back. It was revealed earlier this season that Bernard is "the only one we can't replace." What can you tease about what that means?
What's you email? I’ll send you the next couple of scripts! (Laughs) Stay tuned, as they say.
Did showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy sit you down at the beginning of the season and give you an idea of where you were going? Ed Harris recently said that this season, he really had no idea what he was doing. He wanted to be the Man in Black, and now he’s the Man in White.
(Laughs) Yeah. I was just taking it day by day, you know? And I think over the course of three seasons, we’ve learned to trust the process, and we're in brilliant hands. They’re visionaries. We kind of exhausted ourselves trying to stay ahead of them and anticipate where we were going, so I just take it as it comes and roll with it. I enjoy the surprises and the ride. The scripts that we receive and the rewrites we receive keep us engaged, on our toes. And I think that too is kind of reflective of what we hope for the audience.
Can you tell us what your reaction was to reading the finale script?
My reaction was, "Yeah that’s Westworld."
Every season, we see more and more of Jonah and Lisa's creativity. This world is so imaginative, but feels so based in reality. Have you thought about where you'd like to see Bernard go beyond the season three finale, in season four?
Yeah, I've had some thoughts, and it's kind of an exercise in futility to crash out your own version of things, because invariably you'll be only partly right. But I look forward to having a chat with Jonah and Lisa before we get started and get some glimpses to where we might head. Again, we could go anywhere -- literally anywhere -- with the technology that we play with, with these constructs that we use.
Just as season three of Westworld started airing, you were starting your role as Commissioner Gordon in Matt Reeves' The Batman. Production has since been shut down due to coronavirus concerns. Did you film scenes with Rob Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz? What can you tease about what fans can expect in this rendition of the story?
It's got a great tone to it, vibe, and it is pure Batman. It is going to bring all the elements that Batman people hope for. It's it going to do it in it’s own way, with a tone that's ours, but at the same time is super honoring the legacy of these comics. We were having a really good time until it was all interrupted by this virus.
So many great actors have stepped into the role of Commissioner Gordon. Was there something you really wanted to bring to this version of him?
Well, for one, we're creating this world and these characters together. We want to make sure that we're all playing off the same music. So I just wanted to understand Matt's vision and vibe, and also Rob and everyone else, and take it from there. But it's a tough world. It's a grimey world, and it's corrupt. It is corroded. It’s Gotham. And I wanted to create a guy who could make his way in whatever manner possible, through the shadows of Gotham. So that’s who he is. I hope.
And we were expecting No Time to Die this spring, but that release date has been pushed back to November. It's supposed to be the last Bond film with Daniel Craig. You've been there as Felix Leiter since Casino Royale -- what feelings are you leaving this franchise with?
I was, like most of us, huge Bond fan before I was invited to be a part of the series, so this last one was as exciting as the first one. We'll have to wait and see where we go beyond, but it's full-on Bond. We'll just have to face the wait a bit and figure out when we'll all be returning to cinemas again before we get a chance to see it. It was a gas to make -- they always are -- and it was great to be back in the circle again. It's a really good energy with making those films. [It's] much more modest [than you'd expect]. Seeing all of the expectations and the resources, the bells and whistles, it really is, at the heart, a family business.
While we are waiting for the world to get back to a bit of normal, you've been doing incredible work with your initiative, Brooklyn for Life!, which feeds healthcare workers and first responders with meals from local restaurants amid the coronavirus pandemic. Tell me a little about it.
We started March 27 with a couple of hundred meals for one hospital, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams reached out to us at that point, because he had heard about what we are doing. He got in touch with us and he asked us if we could go Brooklyn wide. It has become now 41 restaurants serving on average 2,500 meals per day to seven medical facilities and then all 10 FDNY EMS stations in Brooklyn. It began from a much more modest place, and it was really me just trying to help out my friend. And then it has become a wider circle.
You have Daniel Craig, Jimmy Kimmel, Michelle Williams and more appearing in a video supporting your initiative and have raised over $400,000. What does it mean to see this kind of support?
It's very gratifying. It's keeping the television off in my house, because I have to focus on this, which is more productive and useful for me and the community. It’s been great, because it's really about a circle of mutual support. The healthcare workers and first responders need meals at a time when restaurants are closed. The restaurants need revenue to keep themselves afloat through these difficulties. We, as a larger community need those healthcare workers and first responders to be the best they can be. Likewise, we want our community to be as it was before this, and that is defined by the culture that we create around restaurants and gathering places like in Brooklyn.
[Brooklyn for Life! has been supported through] balance of funding. It’s $5 and $10 donations, but there have also been some larger donations from some folks that I know. But what we all raised is around $400,000 right now. It’s pretty much evenly split between small donations that aggregate around $200,000. It's been cool, but I really hope that we can raise a significant amount more, because we need it.