'Westworld' Star Simon Quarterman on His Character's 'Heroic' Full Circle Moment and Tragic Ending (Exclusive)
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! Do not proceed if you haven't watched Sunday's season finale of Westworld.
Lee (Simon Quarterman) finally got to be the hero on Sunday's season two finale of Westworld.
The park's Head of Narrative and Design became part of the story himself -- though we suppose that's the point of the episode -- when after two seasons of putting himself above the hosts, he decided to sacrifice himself to help Maeve (Thandie Newton) find her daughter.
Maeve and her group found themselves cornered on their quest to the door in the 90-minute episode, with only one way out: someone would have to create a distraction. Hector (Rodrigo Santoro) predictably offered himself up for the job -- but this time, it was Lee who who stepped in to deliver his famous speech.
"If you're looking for a villain, then I'm your man," he said, speaking the monologue he wrote for Hector as Delos guards opened fire into his chest, and Maeve made her escape.
The show didn't actually confirm Lee's death, but to Quarterman, it's pretty obvious. "I'm not sure that anyone could survive that type of peppering with bullets, but at least he went out heroically and selflessly, which is a far cry from when we first met him in the first episode of season one," he told ET over the phone. "He's come a long way."
"It's funny -- it's not just the hosts that have been having an awakening of sorts. It's also been very much Lee too," he continued. "He's found himself a new voice as he's been going through these two seasons. It's been a remarkable journey for me to explore."
Read more of ET's interview with Quarterman below.
Your character had a pretty emotional struggle this season, with whether or not to help the hosts. What was it like to film that death scene for you, sacrificing yourself so they could escape?
The first season we meet Lee, and he's very much all about himself, and that was what the whole season was about -- just entitlement and ego. This season, finding himself in such an uncomfortable position being brought out into the park with Maeve, he's kind of forced to discover new parts of himself that he probably would never even have glanced at before. And Maeve going through what she's going through kind of helped him discover those new things about himself. It's been such a wonderful experience to explore and one that I wasn't at all expecting. We get these scripts episode by episode, so we have no clue with where we're going, which is, I've found, really invigorating and quite freeing actually, to not know where I was going at all. So it's been quite wonderful discovering this new part of Lee.
Lee goes out reciting a speech he wrote for Hector -- what was your reaction when you found out that was the way he was going to die?
It was cool because that ties up to the pilot episode, when he's very excited to hear his speech by Hector and Hector gets shot through the neck, so we never get to hear it. And to sort of bookend Lee with finally hearing that speech and delivered by him as well, I think was very poignant. And I was quite excited actually to see that, and that we were actually going to hear that speech of his and fitted so well in that situation as well.
We spoke with Thandie Newton a few weeks ago, and she she had the nicest things to say about working with you and how you made each other feel comfortable on set, especially during your nude scene. What will you remember from working together?
Honestly, it was rather extraordinary. We had an immediate chemistry between us from the very first scene, which was quite apparent for both of us. We really work well with one another and Thandie's such a generous and supportive actress and human, so doing something like the nude scene was made so much easier to have her around, because there's just such support. And to be honest, that goes with everyone on the crew, and also Rodrigo. There's such incredible support, and that was the case throughout the whole shoot. We were both very much there for one another and we just had a lot of fun exploring this relationship that these two characters have. And I felt it was an awful lot of fun.
A lot of the other actors I’ve spoken to have described Westworld as somewhat of a masterclass in acting -- what has been your experience?
Oh, in so many ways. For one, I got plunked into this show, and I've never done anything to this scale before or worked with these types of actors before, so I suddenly got a major upgrade, so to speak -- my career -- and I got to learn so much from all these extraordinary actors and creatives that created the show. So, it's been a very humbling experience. And I've just learned -- every time I went to set, every day, I was learning something new. From Anthony Hopkins, the one scene I did with him in episode two of the first season, and everything I've learned from Thandie and all the other actors. It's just been an extraordinary experience and one that's very dear to me.
The other aspect of the show, of course, is learning to keep all these secrets. Did you try to find out where the series was headed?
I just like to let all these things unfold. And to be honest, I don't think I'm necessarily smart enough to work out everything that's in this show. A lot of it -- honestly, a lot of it goes over my head completely, and I'm fine with that. But the interesting thing about this show is -- and what I love about it -- because I don't try to work it out, even when I'm watching it, I just allow it to be what it is, and it affects me in a way that's kind of unique. But I hung up my theorizing boots a long time ago because I'm pretty bad at it. There's a few actors on the show who are excellent, Evan [Rachel Wood] being one, who is just all about trying to work it out, where her character is going, where the plot is going. I honestly, hardly have a clue most of the time. But that goes for everything in life, I'm just stumbling my way through the best I can.
As we know with Westworld, death doesn’t always mean death. Could we see Lee return for season three?
Who knows. Possibly? Possibly not. You know, I have no idea about anything. Just going with the flow with the whole thing.
Were you able to read the whole finale script?
Here's the thing, I did have the script, but I purposefully didn't read it all because I didn't want to know what happened at the end so I could actually watch it.
Did you do that with every episode?
No, just the finale. I didn't want to know what happened. That's how I wanted it to be. I purposely did that. I was like, 'Alright, Lee's out of the picture. I'm actually going to stop there so I can just watch it and see it unfold in front of me.' I purposely did that.
What's the one takeaway from your time on Westworld?
God, there's just been so many. But if there's one takeaway, it would be the people that I've worked with and I've met and come to call friends.
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