“Westworld” centers around a futuristic Wild West park where visitors can pay to live out their fantasies. Robots are programmed to serve human guests -- among them, Maeve, who runs a brothel at a saloon, played by actress Thandie Newton.
“How do you play somebody – an android – who’s sort of flawed but also flawless at the same time?” co-host Gayle King asked the actress on “CBS This Morning” Friday. “That’s what her character is to me.”
“Well no, I don’t think she’s flawed. Well, here’s the thing – she’s been programmed to be the way she is, which is why she has this incredibly focused, Zen-like quality,” Newton explained. “There’s no clutter in her mind. That’s what I love about the robots actually.”
In this Sunday’s episode, Maeve has a breakthrough moment as she begins to have dreams that make her question her identity.
While the prospect of robots coming to consciousness may sound bizarre, Newton said it actually reflects human behavior, and that the show asks “real questions” about humanity.
“What I loved about Maeve is that I felt that I was playing her awakening and it was paralleling my own that I had as I became an adult and started to ask questions about my own programming,” Newton said. “I think we’re all programmed and we’re all living in a degree of virtual reality.”
Newton believes the show attracts viewers because it allows them to “feel those parallels.” While it is fantasy, Newton also doesn’t think “Westworld” is an “unimaginable” place.
“It’s a place where you go and it’s populated by machines that are there for your bidding and you can do whatever you want and whatever happens in Westworld stays in Westworld. So it’s a place where we really get to understand the appetite of people’s vices,” Newton explained.
There are a number of nude scenes in the series, but Newton said she felt more empowered while naked, than when wearing her character’s signature sexualized outfit, including a tight corset, ruffled skirt and fishnet tights.
“All of these clothes were there to invite a lustful feeling from the viewer, from the person coming into the park. And I really, really found that invitation incredibly disempowering. In my life, I like this to be the area of communication,” the actress said, holding her hands up at eye level. “And that’s because I’m an intelligent person and I respect the person I’m talking to.”
Watch Maeve’s revolutionary moment on “Westworld” Sunday night on HBO.