Why This Westworld Scene Made Evan Rachel Wood Cry

As the week slowly creeps toward Sunday, Westworld fans are presumably on the edge of their seats. This week’s 90-minute installment will wrap up a first season full of twists, turns, and character development—especially for Dolores, the A.I. Alice to HBO’s Western wonderland. Throughout the nine installments we’ve seen so far, Dolores has transformed from victim to adventurer, seizing agency in her own story and searching for answers about herself and the world around her. And for star Evan Rachel Wood, one moment of her character’s evolution proved particularly inspiring.

“The moment that always sticks out for me is in Episode 5, when we see her take out five Confederatos that are holding Jimmi Simpson’s character hostage,” Wood told IndieWire in a new interview. “They grab him and pin him up against a wall, and he yells, ‘Dolores, run!’ The first take we did, I ran—I’m not supposed to run. Everyone was kind of looking around, confused, and then I slowly crept back onto set and they asked, ‘What happened?’ And I said, ‘I’m so used to running. I’ve never been asked to stay and save the day.’ I got a little teary-eyed, and a couple of women on the set got a little teary-eyed, and I thought, ‘Wow. This character is really important.’”

During the early weeks of its first season, the show stirred up debate about whether its violence felt gratuitous. Given that the show lives on the same network as a certain dark medieval drama filled with rape and murder, the question was both natural and fair. But as the show has progressed, its female characters—Dolores and Maeve, at least—have proven to be far more than distressed damsels. In Dolores’s case, “She’s overriding her programming and her conditioning,” Wood said. “Every episode, she’s opening up more and more. The only thing I can say about Episode 10 is I feel like a lot of people are going to get up on their seats and clap. There are certain things that we’ll see which made that character so important to me and will make her so important to a lot of people.”

This jibes with what show-runners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have said about the finale, which they promise will answer basically every question fans have—except what’s coming next, when the show returns, most likely in far-off 2018. But Wood was able to give a little hint about that, too:

“I think it was always that Season 1 was going to be this backstory and set up—getting to know the park and characters. I think Season 2 is really going to be warp speed. The show might really start in Season 2.”

Obama: once out of office, I’m gonna stop being polite and start getting real

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has a great new interview with President Obama in Vanity Fair. In the wide-ranging interview, they discuss Abraham Lincoln, Obama’s biggest regrets from his time in office, and how a visit to the pyramids reminded Obama that cable news doesn’t really matter.

But perhaps the most intriguing bit was when, in a brief discussion of Obama’s plans for his post-presidency, Obama hinted that he planned to start speaking out more like an activist than a president.

There are “things,” he told Goodwin, “that in some ways I suspect I’m able to do better out of this office.” He elaborated that because of the “institutional constraints” of the presidency, “there are things I cannot say.”

He went on to essentially say he wanted to use his post-presidential bully pulpit more like an activist than a venerable elder statesman. “There are institutional obligations I have to carry out that are important for a president of the United States to carry out, but may not always align with what I think would move the ball down the field on the issues that I care most deeply about,” he said.

And while vague, this is an intriguing hint that Obama is thinking about being a very different ex-president than we’ve been used to.

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“Every day as I get older, I appreciate women more and more. When you’re between the ages of 15 and 19, maybe you see women as competition, as opposed to lifesavers and people that hold your hand and have experienced pretty much everything that you have.
So the more women in my life the better.” - Adele for Vanity Fair.