Watch­ing big brother

> The el­dest of Aus­tralia’s most fa­mous ac­tor sib­lings, Luke Hemsworth is mak­ing his mark as the brutish head of se­cu­rity for HBO’s West­world


NEW faces can eas­ily get lost in West­world, a HBO orig­i­nal pro­duc­tion fea­tur­ing an ex­ten­sive cast of char­ac­ters. The show re­volves around a theme park built for hu­mans who want to live out their Wild West fan­tasies, and the an­droids built for their en­ter­tain­ment.

One ac­tor who is com­ing into his own on the show is Aus­tralian ac­tor Luke Hemsworth ( be­low), the old­est and least known of the Hemsworth broth­ers.

While younger sib­lings Liam and Chris broke into Hol­ly­wood by head­ing straight to fea­ture films, Hemsworth, 35, is mak­ing his mark on the small screen, as the West­world theme park’s no-non­sense head of se­cu­rity, Ash­ley Stubbs.

He is the guy you call when guests in this Wild West-themed re­sort are threat­ened by the life­like an­droids (called ‘hosts’) that in­habit this town.

As the series be­gins, you see Stubbs go­ing about his work as though every­thing he sees is nor­mal.

Even when Elise Hughes (played by Shan­non Wood­ward) from the pro­gram­ming di­vi­sion starts ex­press­ing her con­cerns that some of the an­droids are sud­denly mal­func­tion­ing, he seems to take it all in stride.

In episode three, Elsie and Stubbs are sent to cap­ture a stray host. They find the host trapped in a ravine and when Stubbs tries to re­trieve his head, the host wakes up and at­tacks them.

Dur­ing a re­cent tele­con­fer­ence in­ter­view with Hemsworth in Los An­ge­les, the ac­tor said of Stubbs: “His only agenda is to en­sure the safety of the peo­ple in the park who are pay­ing cus­tomers. “It is un­clear where his ul­ti­mate al­ligeance lies. That will be re­vealed in time.” View­ers have won­dered whether Stubbs him­self is a host. Hemsworth re­vealed that very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion is given to ac­tors about their char­ac­ters. They are fig­ur­ing things out as they go along, but are en­joy­ing the jour­ney. “You will see a lot more of Stubbs’ progress,” he said. “That is part of the at­trac­tion of tele­vi­sion, and be­ing able to spend so much time with this char­ac­ter. “I am grate­ful as an ac­tor to have this un­fold each week. “It is in­ter­est­ing, and you will grow to love them more and more.” Hemsworth said that the cast mem­bers like to dis­cuss their per­for­mances, their roles and the tra­jec­tory that their char­ac­ters will take. His co-stars in­clude An­thony Hop­kins, Thandie New­ton, Jef­frey Wright, Ro­drigo San­toro, James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood. Hemsworth has high praise for Wood, with whom he shared a brief scene in the pi­lot episode. He is also a big fan of An­thony Hop­kins, whom he de­scribed as “a gen­tle­man, funny, con­sid­er­ate, knows ev­ery­one’s name and takes time to talk to ev­ery­one on the cast and crew.”

He added: “He is hard worker and I have al­ways been a fan of his, even from an early age. It is a great hon­our to stand next to him.”

When asked about how the Wild West era was pop­u­larised on film, Hemsworth said: “I love the char­ac­ters. I loved Clint East­wood as the kid, Steve McQueen and Yul Bryn­ner.

“There was some­thing about the Wild West. Peo­ple were liv­ing a hard life and sur­viv­ing by their wits and six-shoot­ers. There is some­thing ro­man­tic and wild about the lo­ca­tions and the films.”

Some scenes in West­world of­ten de­pict the worst in hu­mans. Does he him­self feel that hu­mans as a whole are rather re­volt­ing?

“No, I think we have the ca­pac­ity to be re­volt­ing and to do ter­ri­ble things and I also think that we are in a unique po­si­tion as a species and recog­nise and change that. Im­me­di­ately and long term.”


On West­world ... (top, from far left) Hop­kins, Wright, Marsden and Wood. Hemsworth (left, from sec­ond left) in a tense mo­ment.

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