A Brief Examination of Just How Amazing Anthony Hopkins Is in Westworld

While Westworld has mainly captivated its viewers with its seemingly limitless mysteries (although the occasional orgy scene hasn’t hurt), the show’s real strength is in its characters, and the fabulous actors portraying them. And no one the show is more captivating than Sir Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford.

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To demonstrate this, Nerdwriter dissects a scene from episode four that plays out between Ford and the Westworld park’s operations lead, Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen). Hopkins’ pacing is exquisite, particularly when it comes to showing Ford’s emotions. Throughout the conversation, he shifts easily between charm, condescension, and menace. Even his pauses—which are measured and poignant—slowly reveal his god complex, intimidating Theresa.

Hopkins’ secret is, apparently, obsessive study. Nerdwriter notes that the actor is known to read scripts hundreds of times until their recitation becomes automatic, allowing him to immerse himself so deeply in the role that he’s able to tweak moments on the fly.

Regardless of whether or not the show ever answers its many, many mysteries—and how satisfying those answers might or might not be—Westworld will remain a stupendous vehicle for some very talented actors.

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

l0stmyburn3rkey
Fred Smith

That is some straight up horseshit. Raving that a seven-second pause is “amazing” only makes sense if you haven’t ever watched acting before.

Hopkins is elevating pretty mediocre dialogue with a pretty mediocre performance by his standards. He’s doing a sleepier version of Charles Morse, the billionaire genius from The Edge.

For an actor like Hopkins, this is like a hanging curveball over the plate. He could cold read that risible greyhound anecdote and make it instantly more compelling than it reads on the page. This is why we say, “I could watch so-and-so read the phone book”. Hopkins is good enough to make dreck compelling.

While Westworld isn’t quite dreck, it’s absolutely jam-packed with cliched writing. That scene at the agave farm is just one example of one we’ve seen countless times before. Two powerful people spar with each other in a civil setting. The winner is the one who makes the strongest implied threat, but no one really loses their cool.

I’m trying to think of any scene in the show so far that isn’t firmly rooted in cliche. I’m not sure that there is one. That’s part of the show’s strategy. It is a bricolage of B-grade scripts. At times, it seems like it will all coalesce into some kind of brilliant statement about the nature of narrative, but so far, it looks like it can’t achieve escape velocity from its hackneyed source material.