'Westworld's Shannon Woodward And Simon Quarterman Answer Our Burning Questions

At South by Southwest in March, HBO made one thing very clear — with the eminent departure of Game of Thrones, the network is looking for Westworld to be its next juggernaut show. And with Season 2 premiering this Sunday, there’s never been a better time to get caught up on the burgeoning sci-fi series.

Yesterday, we were lucky to chat with two of the show’s cast members, Shannon Woodward and Simon Quarterman. Through a list of rapid-fire questions, we touched on everything from underrated movies, to go-to karaoke jams, to their Westworld personas: Elsie Hughes and Lee Sizemore.

Much like Thrones, characters on Westworld often walk the moral tightrope between good and evil. And, let’s just say, if you lined those characters up from right to left in order of altruistic to evil, Woodward’s Elsie, would place well on the right side.

A plucky programmer in Westworld’s Behavior Lab and Diagnostics Dept., Elsie seems to value the hosts’ well-being far more than many of her co-workers.

“I think one of the reasons I was cast on the show is that Elsie’s true blue, and I’m that way too,” said Woodward. “I have a very thick moral code.”

Quarterman, on the other hand, plays the morally shaky Lee Sizemore, head of the theme parks Narrative Department. The master storyteller behind the robots’ painful backstories, Lee views the hosts simply as software (or, so he did in the show’s first season).

So, without further ado, let’s get to know the actors behind one of the most introspective shows currently on TV.

What job would you have if you weren’t an actor?

Shannon Woodward: I actually do consult for a tech company for general strategy and user experience, so I think that’s probably what I would do full-time.

Simon Quarterman: Scuba diver instructor. I’ve scuba dived a couple of times and it’s great.

What’s the last book you read?

SW: There was a book I read about a month and a half ago, which I loved called Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. It’s amazing.

SQ: I am currently reading No Mud, No Lotus by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Which movie villain would you never want to encounter in real life?

SW: Ursula — she’s an octopus who’s also very rude and wants to Single White Female [Ariel]. Could it get any worse?

SQ: Megatron.

What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?

SW: I saw Blockers. It is very, very funny. It’s smart raunchy.

SQ: Black Panther

Your go-to drink?

SW: Sauvignon Blanc. It’s very South Florida of me.

SQ: I’m a whiskey man.

If you weren’t on Westworld, what TV show would you want to be on?

SW: I really liked Big Little Lies, and I loved Game of Thrones, though I don’t really fit there.

SQ: I think it would have to be Game of Thrones.

If you had to assign your character an astrological sign what would they be?

SW: Sagittarius — fiery, independent. If someone messes with my friends I’m like, ‘Here’s the thing… you’re gonna die.’ I don’t do it for my own benefit, but I get very protective, and then I make people cry — men cry.

SQ: It would probably have to be like mine, Scorpio. You know, passionate.

(For reference, Shannon is a Sagittarius and Simon is a Scorpio).

A film you think was criminally underrated?

SW: A movie everyone should see that they probably haven’t seen is Morvern Callar by Lynne Ramsay. Also, My Summer of Love, which stars Emily Blunt at the beginning of her career.

SQ: You know what movie I loved because I knew nothing about it going into the theater? From Dusk Til Dawn. I thought it was brilliant.

Your go-to karaoke song?

SW: “Stan” by Eminem. It has a three-act structure, it’s so funny! I get a friend to sing Dido.

SQ: I can’t even remember the last time I did karaoke, but if I did, it would probably have to be “Angels” by Robbie Williams ’cause I’d be that drunk to even attempt it.

The last TV show you binged watched?

SW: Wild, Wild Country. It’s a new doc-show on Netflix. Run don’t walk, ’cause you are going to love it.

SQ: Wild, Wild Country. Binged the hell out of that one.

(Wild, Wild Country is now, obviously, at the top of our Netflix queue.)

If you could go to an immersive theme park set in any historical era (à la Westworld), which would you choose?

SW: I mean there is no part of me that is interested in hurting anyone for fun so [an immersive theme park] doesn’t really appeal to me in a lot of ways. Though, there are historical eras I would enjoy being immersed in, like, the Salem Witch Trials. I had three aunts almost twelve generations removed from me, and two of them were hung and one was acquitted [during the trials]. It would be fascinating to watch those things play out, it’s so indicative of human nature.

SQ: It would probably have to be Roman times.

And, finally, if you had to describe Westworld in Season 2 in one word…

SW: It’s… chaos. There’s really not a better adjective.

SQ: It’s on the posters: chaos.

Editor’s note: This article was condensed from two separate interviews, and abbreviated for clarity.

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