***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Westworld through Season 1 follow.
Forget about all those violent delights we saw in the Westworld finale for just a minute, because among the shooting and stabbing and biting, a warm and wonderful not-for-television scene took place. Speaking with THR about his approach to directing “The Bicameral Mind“, co-creator and showrunner, Jonathan Nolan made some interesting and unexpected reveals.
Informed by James Cameron’s The Terminator, the opening shots of Dolores’ inner workings were a combination of practical and digital effects.
Evan Rachel Wood wore a seamless prosthetic over a blue suit, and then effects blended in her mechanical body so well, it even fooled an editor (who thought Wood wasn’t really in the shot). Conversely, a mold of Thandie Newton’s face was created, then dipped in a mixture of Elmer’s glue for her finale recreation (having previously burned along with Hector to some unknown state of remnants). Interestingly, the idea of Westworld’s post-mechanical Host creation came from Nolan and co-creator/wife, Lisa Joy’s German vacation trip to an auto factory, and seeing vehicles dipped in paint.
The full interview, discussing the series’ video game similarities, the Armistice and Hector sequence, layering the William in Black reveal, and introducing Samurai World is well-worth a read, but by far the loveliest little finale tidbit was Nolan’s reveal about something that happened in-between filmed scenes, a personal moment between Anthony Hopkins, Jeffrey Wright, and Nolan and Joy. As he describes shooting the final Escalante sequences, before Hopkins’ Ford described his last narrative to a crowd of over 200 extras, the showrunner said an extra scene took place:
…the last major week of shooting was all out at Paramount Ranch. We loved using these old movie ranches; the familiarity of them and the fact that they’ve appeared in Westerns over the years was a huge selling point for us. We imagined when Ford and Arnold put this place together, they based it on all of their favorite Westerns. It’s not just storytelling and tropes from Westerns, but also the actual locations they shot in. Paramount Ranch is a classic movie Western town and now a state park. We went in and built a church. The church is still there. Tony at one point with a flourish remarried Lisa and I in that church in between setups with Jeffrey Wright as the best man, which was very sweet.”
Sweet, indeed, and we hope they at least got photos of the moment, if not some footage we’d love them to share in the DVD extras … but it’s likely a scene we’ll never see.
Westworld returns to HBO in 2018.