Westworld is set to return to HBO on April 22nd for its second season, which is likely going to be even wilder than its first.
In a round-table style interview, Luke Hemsworth bared a cold to sit with myself and other journalists to talk about the upcoming season. After asking us to be gentle with him, he answered each question thoughtfully and with an infectious belly laugh. We learned a little bit about his character, Officer Ashley Stubbs’ season two arc and whether we will see him in any more Marvel Universe cameos. Keep reading to see his answers!
So, with no spoilers obviously, what kind of new challenges will the head of security face?
The challenge of losing control. It’s really cool. I get to do some great stuff, I get to pull Stubbs apart again and go deeper into where he is and where he comes from. And stand opposite some of the greatest actors in the world, it’s awesome.
What was the atmosphere on set for season two as opposed to season one?
It was very similar. It’s a lot of work, long hours, no information ever about anything [laughs]. Things change at the last minute, all the time. You kind of surrender a little bit. You can complain about it until the cows come home, but nothing changes. So you let go, you learn to deal with it, you learn to be fluid and to go where you’re needed when you’re needed instantly. You’ve got to be flexible and I think that’s what acting is. You’ve just got to be ready all the time.
How would you advise other actors to psych themselves up for that kind of set?
It’s hard because I think actors are quite controlling and we feel like we need as much information about everything, always, all the time. It’s also kind of liberating to let go. I think everyone felt like that this year, there was this kind of resignation. There’s nothing else you can do really, your hands are tied. We know the material is so good and we’re getting great stuff so we have nothing really to complain about. And for us, yes, we’re there a long time, but the crew is there hours before us and hours after us and they never complain. They’re the troopers and they just hang in there and keep going. I think they’re actually robots.
Did they ramp up the secrecy from season one to season two?
A little. I don’t know, they’re kind of pretty consistent with drip-feeding you information. Telling you nothing [laughs]. No, it didn’t change at all. They told us nothing this season. Again, that’s part of the surrender, I think. You know that they’re doing things on purpose and you can ask Jonah (Jonathan Nolan) and Lisa (Joy) questions all day long and they’ll skirt around and change the subject. Jonah actually by the end was like, “Alright, that’s your one question,” and then would walk off.
Do you feel like you know more or less than your character knows at this point?
Probably less, I would say. No, I know my character knows less, poor little Stubbs. He’s constantly peeking over peoples’ shoulder and saying, “Hey, what’s happening? Can I be in this conversation?” It’s good fun. If Jonah and Lisa weren’t such amazing human beings with their wealth of knowledge and being open to everything that they do, then I think it would be a different story. There would be a lot more angst on set, a lot more chagrin. But they’re amazing. They are like encyclopedias of film and of the show. So, surrendering that control is easy when you’re in those hands.
Since your character doesn’t know too much, how does that kind of affect your arc over the course of the season in the broadest terms.
Just one step behind, always he is. How does it affect my arc? I don’t know, I can’t say how it affects my arc. I think we played with [the theme park not bringing in a lot of money and serving little purpose] from the beginning, like who does Stubbs actually work for and who does he owe his allegiance to. So, we do dig into that. Stubbs will say he has authority over Strand and Strand will say he has authority over Stubbs. And plus, he’s a Skarsgård so the Skarsgårds and the Hemsworths are going to throw down.
Can you give us a hint of a favorite moment of yours so far in season two?
I love Shogun world, it’s beautiful. The performances are beautiful. It looks like classical Japanese cinema. It’s so cool. With a little Westworld twist. I think people will be blown away by that… and a few other things. It’s so hard to pick one thing. I could just list them all!
Is there anything specific you just cannot talk about?
Yup. There’s definitely stuff they said do not talk about. You’ll just have to find out. Part of the strength of the show is that it’s nice to not know, it’s like having a baby and not finding out what sex it is. It’s the last true surprise. So, I don’t want to give it away because it makes watching it more enjoyable. We keep them closely guarded, all of those little secrets.
Angela was saying she didn’t watch the first episode of season two as she likes to watch it as the fans are watching it. Is that something you do as well?
No, I watched it last night! I couldn’t wait. I got to watch the first two last night and it was epic. It was a lot of fun. But what I do enjoy is watching it with my wife because I don’t tell her anything throughout the season while I’m shooting. I barely even get her to run lines with me anymore just because it will just give too much away. So it’s great to watch it with her and rediscover all of those little things that you forget. Sometimes you can read those scripts three times and still be going, “I don’t get it”, and then watch it and go, “Ah, that’s what that means!” So that’s cool to rediscover the storylines as well.
Any favorite moments on set?
I think me and Fares Fares probably laughed more than I’ve ever laughed on set with anyone. He has a tattoo on his arm which basically says, “bugs suck.” He’s really afraid of insects, so I would go out of my way to make sure that there were always insects around and various creatures. Yeah, he hates bugs. It’s so weird, and I, ironically, do take a lot of photos of bugs for some reason.
Do any of your friends or family try to get spoilers out of you?
No, I think people are content. Again, it’s nice to not know. They want to have it unfold the way it’s meant to unfold, the way the creators wanted it. I think that’s the beauty of not giving it away. Yeah, I don’t have many [that ask], or people will do that thing where they go, “Hey, what about this? Wait don’t tell me,” and I’m like, “I wasn’t going to tell you anything.” Or I’ll misdirect and I’ll say, “Yup, there’s dinosaurs in this one, and aliens.” I’ve been saying it for years, why is there no “Jurassic World?” I would go there in a second. How cool would that be?
Which of the other worlds from the original movie would you like to see incorporated already if they’re not in season two?
I can’t remember. Actually, I haven’t watched that movie for years. I remember watching it as a kid, but I didn’t actually go back and watch it before. Is that sacrilege you think? [I guess] the Medieval world would be pretty cool.
Is there anything you learned while doing this show that you didn’t know how to do before you took on this character?
Yeah, all the time. I learned to be a sponge for sure. And [I’m with] some of the greatest actors for sure and if you don’t soak that up, then you’re missing the point. There are little things all the time. I can’t really be specific, it’s like doing a lot of martial arts and picking out what works for you. I think that’s part of the journey, is to suck it all up. I think that gets the creative part flowing too. When you’re not just focused on yourself, you’re focusing on the external and listening a little bit more. I’m constantly learning. It’s cool. I think that’s the good part about acting because it won’t let you reach a point where you go, “That’s it, I’m done.” You constantly have to go, “How do I do that better?”
Are we going to get to see any more of you in the Marvel universe?
I hope so! I mean we’ve been talking to Taika and I’m pretty sure that me and actor Loki are [together], like I know there’s a scene where we’re in a pub and we’re in another world or we’re thrown in somewhere and we end up saving [the world]. That was so much fun playing that. One of the best days around, except my sweat was dripping in Matt Damon’s eyes like “Sorry, mate!” It was like 110 degrees in Atlanta and Taika was feeding us lines. I was dripping sweat on Matt, my beard was falling off. They come and they just stick more glue on you.
The season two tagline seems to be “Chaos Takes Control.” If you could come up with a different tagline for this season what would it be?
That’s putting me on the spot! I can’t just come up with taglines! How about “Who Are You Really?” That’s it, I can come up with taglines!