'Westworld' Star Clifton Collins Jr. Teases the Season 2 Moment That Had His 'Jaw on the Floor' (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
With season one of Westworld under his belt, Clifton Collins Jr. is used to a few twists and turns -- but there's one moment in season two that he still can't get out of his head.
"I'll just say that there's a little something that happens that had both myself and the Man in Black's jaw on the floor," Collins told ET weeks after the HBO series wrapped production, adding that he had to re-read the scene three times "because I thought I had made a mistake." "We were both going, 'Whoa, what?'"
"It troubled me for like, days on end. It troubled me at the house," he continued. "I was just troubled for three or four days."
The 47-year-old actor plays Lawrence, aka El Lazo, on Westworld, a host who accompanied Ed Harris' Man in Black on his journey to find the maze in season one. But when pressed for details about how audiences will find Lawrence when season two picks up, Collins -- who wouldn't confirm if even plays the same character -- joked he was "having a glitch."
"I think they powered me down before I left set," he cracked. "I can't seem to tap into that."
The air of secrecy around the show is nothing new, but according to Collins, much of his reluctancy to give up details simply has to do with the fact that he doesn't know how the season will turn out.
"It's such a complex, complicated, cerebral show that questions so many aspects of life that one never knows how they're going to edit this piece. Watching season one, I saw scenes that were cut from episode two into episode five, so one never knows how they're going to flip the story," he explained -- though he's not complaining about staying in the dark. "We kind of like it that way at this point in the game."
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"I was talking to Jeffrey [Wright] about this, and I said, 'Jeff, there are so many things I don't know, and I could go ask the show runners and I might figure out something, but I kind of feel like I'm cheating!' He's like, 'Yeah, me too. I don't bother asking! I'm just focusing on what I got... I want to play ball how everyone else is playing ball," Collins recalled. "We all respect each other tremendously, so it's kind of like, you honor [not having all the answers], and that's how we're all kind of riding."
"And it's fun that way, when you just let go," he added. "It's fun. You're just living it."
One thing Collins could reveal was that season two will be "a little more vast and expansive." Fans saw flashes of a new park in the season two trailer after Maeve's attempted escape in the season one finale led her through a sea of Samurai hosts. And while Collins didn't get to explore all aspects of the growing world, he has high hopes. "It's going to be bigger and more complicated, and it's going to blow your mind," he promised.
As for the hosts' journey to consciousness, the actor teased that viewers will definitely see "somewhat of an evolution," which he compares to the series' growth in season two. "Just like with great art, great art reflects society's times, and I think we're at a very critical moment in our own country's social consciousness and awareness and lack thereof," Collins expressed. "And I think this season is going to reflect that greatly."
At the end of the day, while Collins doesn't have all the answers (or even most of them), he couldn't be a bigger fan of the show. "I'm obsessed with Westworld. We all are. I think I can speak for everyone in this case, which is rare," he shared.
"Westworld is art in addition to entertainment. It's fantastic. I mean, the writing is just delicious. I think actors long for this kind of detail and nuance in writing," Collins said. "We're very blessed to have people who care enough about the subject matter and care enough about putting out a shiny product that they're going to take the time necessary to make it that."
"We're all excited to see it. That's part of the joy. We're like little kids waiting for Christmas to show up. Like, it's the 23rd, just a couple more days," he continued. "The presents are under the tree. You just can't open them yet."
Westworld premieres Sunday, April 22 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.