Early

Esquire (Singapore) - - Style -

on in the first sea­son of HBO’s sci-fi-Western hy­brid West­world, William, the wide-eyed, wary guest of the an­droid theme park, was es­tab­lished as one of the show’s piv­otal char­ac­ters. By ques­tion­ing ev­ery­thing about a mind-bend­ing world in which peo­ple pay to in­dulge their dark­est im­pulses, the char­ac­ter, played by Jimmi Simp­son, be­came our proxy. But don’t as­sume that means Simp­son will spill the beans on what to ex­pect when the show re­turns this spring: He pleads nearto­tal ig­no­rance about the plot, only al­low­ing that it’ll be epic. “Ev­ery­thing I hear, I’m like, ‘Oh my God.’ ”

But first he stars on Fe­bru­ary’s Un­solved (USA Net­work), based on the mur­ders of Tu­pac Shakur and the No­to­ri­ous BIG. Simp­son plays Rus­sell Poole, an LAPD de­tec­tive who went to his grave be­liev­ing that po­lice cor­rup­tion played a role in the killings. (An un­re­lated film in­spired by the same story, star­ring Johnny Depp as Poole, will be re­leased later this year.) Simp­son found the role among his most chal­leng­ing. De­spite be­ing “used to mak­ing peo­ple laugh, creep­ing them out, in­tim­i­dat­ing them,” as he de­scribes it, he was caught off guard play­ing Poole, whose sin­gu­lar fo­cus on the case bor­dered on ob­ses­sion. “I left ev­ery­day of work feel­ing like a piece of shit—I was sure this would be the big fail­ure of mine.” Now, he says, “it’s some of my proud­est work.”.

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