Thandie New­ton bares it all on what made her take up West­world

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English ac­tor Thandie New­ton, star of pop­u­lar films like The Pur­suit of Hap­py­ness, Mis­sion Im­pos­si­ble 2, and Crash, has been nom­i­nated for an Emmy award in the cat­e­gory of Out­stand­ing Sup­port­ing Ac­tress in a Drama Se­ries for her role as Maeve Mil­lay in Amer­i­can science fic­tion show, West­world. In an in­ter­view, New­ton dis­cusses the show, her love for sci-fi se­ries and more. Ex­cerpts:

What at­tracted you to West­world?

The first time I met Jonathan [Nolan] and Lisa [Joy], I was like, lis­ten guys, I’m in­trigued by this be­cause Jonathan is bril­liant. But then I read the pi­lot and I had to say, sorry, but it feels like there are sit­u­a­tions of sex­ual vi­o­lence and ac­tual vi­o­lence. But I knew that with th­ese two, there had to be a pur­pose be­hind it.

Have you al­ways been a fan of sci-fi and west­erns, as gen­res?

I never thought I was a sci-fi fan. But then, Jonathan and Lisa asked me if I had seen any Ser­gio Leone films. So there I was, watch­ing Once Upon A Time in the West, and it was ex­quis­ite. It was a great les­son about my own in­tol­er­ance, and it was a lovely step into West­world.

How did you pre­pare for a se­ries that doesn’t shy away from is­sues of sex and vi­o­lence?

When I read the pi­lot script, there was so much that I was hor­ri­fied by – the vi­o­lence, the de­prav­ity. But the whole point of it is to shock us into the aware­ness that this is what we do to each other. You have to es­tab­lish the de­prav­ity, show the ex­treme of what we can do to each other, so you can then com­ment on it.

You weren’t told the full arc of your story at the be­gin­ning, which is ob­vi­ously very dif­fer­ent to mak­ing a film – how did you find that?

Yes, I had no idea what was go­ing to be hap­pen­ing episode to episode - they didn’t give us all the scripts at once. We had to think about the au­di­ence. There was lots of chat, and we were all kind of learn­ing a new phi­los­o­phy for life.

Did you have any reser­va­tions about the naked scenes ?

I am naked al­most all the time in the show, but I am calm about it, be­cause it is not tit­il­lat­ing. I have been in shows in which I wore clothes and I felt more ex­posed, more ex­ploited, as a woman. I’ve re­fused to take my shirt off be­fore in shows. In this show, in or­der to com­ment on it, you need to see it.

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