Warning: this interview contains spoilers throughout
Fans of the HBO and Sky Atlantic hit sci-fi show Westworld will be familiar with British actor Simon Quarterman’s brilliant depiction of loveable rogue Lee Sizemore. As head of narrative at Delos, the corporation behind the sinister theme parks, Sizemore has had a near Shakespearean character development which culminated in a selfless act at the end of season 2. As he reprises his role as Lee for the third season, HeyUGuys were lucky enough to chat to Simon about what to expect from this new season and how he effectively came back from the dead to star once again in the show.
HeyUGuys: Let’s start by talking about your Character Lee Sizemore. Can you tell us what kind of person he is?
Simon Quarterman: I think in season 1 we find a man who’s pretty wrapped up in himself, I think we can safely say that. He’s doing anything he possibly can to gain power and will trample over anyone and anything in order to be able to get it. In the second season he finds himself in a territory he’s terribly uncomfortable with. Through meeting Maeve [Thandie Newton’s Character] in that first episode and seeing that she is off the track and off the storyline that he has created for her, it immediately creates a lot of difficulty for him. I think through the whole of season 2 his own narrative starts to break down and he starts to see that there’s something underneath it and that he’s not what he thought he was and that he’s a lot more loving than he knew. And getting to that last point and the finale of season 2 when he gives his own life for her…so there is a struggle between his head and his heart all the way through.
What was it about Lee’s character that attracted you to the part? Did you know how you wanted to play him from the beginning?
As you probably know, you don’t really get much information on this show, you’re only going episode by episode and bit by bit the character is unfolding in front of you. So I had no idea where he was going. I actually read for Bernard first…
Oh wow! That’s something…
Yes totally, it would have been a totally different show, but obviously that wasn’t right for me, so about a month later they pulled me in for Lee. I don’t know what that says about me, but I immediately felt very comfortable with it. He just felt like a lot of fun to me when I first read for it, I immediately fell in love with him, but I had no idea where he was going to go over these past few seasons. It was really wonderful seeing him grow and considering they had such a dim view of humanity, it was nice to see that humans do have that capacity for change.
Can you tell us more about the dynamics between him and Maeve (Thandie Newton) throughout the series.
I think they both kinda helped each other learn who they actually are. From the get go there was lot of banging heads and Lee trying to illicit some type of control because that what he’s used to in his position as head of narrative, but bit by bit they’re just warming to each other through seasons.
Were you as surprised as the rest of us to be asked back for season 3 considering what happened at the end of season 2?
I mean I talked to Jonathan and Lisa [show creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan] and they’d made some hints that I’d be back, but I had no idea in what capacity at all. When I finally did get the call and was told I was coming back, yeah I was excited. You know when you find out you’re coming back, you go through so many scenarios….oh my god..I don’t know how many scenarios on how I survived that..but I did not in any way come up with this one. I was very very syurpised to find out.
Can you take us through the development of that particular storyline and how Lee finds out what actually happened and why he’s back.
It’s an interesting one because you’re kinda trying to, in a lot of ways, reset the character, but there’s this the arc that finished at the end of season 2, but not in the same breath. You kinda go from “OK you’re dead, but you’re not” within this new structure that you found yourself in. Obviously he’s an approximation of Lee, but not Lee….but I still had to thread the arc that he’d been going through in the first season and second seasons and bring that into the third one.
Can we talk about your relationship with Thandi [Newton] and how was it working with her?
Oh it was an absolute blast…you know from day one and that first scene we shot together, it was so much fun. She is wonderful to work with and she’s been fun from day one, there was never any difficulty there.
Can you say if you’ll be coming back in future episodes in this current season?
NO, I’m not allowed to say anything [laughs].
Apart from Westworld, are you currently working on anything else that you’d like to share with us?
Obviously with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, there is nothing going on at all [work wise] and there’s no prospect of anything right now until things get back to some degree of normalcy.
On a personal level, how are you feeling about things in these difficult times? How does it feel to be in limbo right now not knowing what’s likely to happen in the future with this industry
You know what I’m doing with the time, I’ve taken off the hat of being en actor at all at the moment, because it’s just not around. I’m just spending time… I guess leaning what’s underneath all of that…learning to be more human I guess. I think for me there’s a richness to this time, along with an awful lot of difficulty, but I’m kinda spending time learning what’s really important actually. I will say this, I’m learning more about myself in this time to be honest.
Westworld season 3 continues on Monday at 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV