Thandie Newton Says 'Westworld' Nudity Shows "the Vulnerability and the Objectification of a Person"
"That's why I took the show. I've been objectified. I've had directors lie to me when I'm in a naked situation on a movie," she told THR.
"That's what I love about Westworld is it's showing the vulnerability and the objectification of a person, and if you see a person naked and not in a sexual content, you don't want to look," Thandie Newton tells The Hollywood Reporter's Drama Actress Roundtable. "That's why I took the show. I've been objectified. I've had directors lie to me when I'm in a naked situation on a movie."
Newton's character, Maeve, who earned her best supporting actress nominations at the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards in 2017, appears nude numerous times throughout the series, but, as she tells THR, the importance of "vulnerability" through nudity was crucial for her character's journey.
"It's a really tough place to come from when you've actually been abused in a sexual way. So to be able to say to the showrunners of Westworld, 'I'm willing to stand for 75 percent of this season one totally naked,' because it wasn't a sexual content. And it was actually an environment where we're treating — the robots are treated like animals in a factory farm, bodies dumped on the ground. And in that place of complete vulnerability, she learns to empower herself."
The Westworld star also touched on her desire to start writing more dimensional roles for women and the ramifications of the "offensive" language in "ethnic" and "women" character descriptions. "I have daughters. I don't want her thinking that you have to be sexy to be powerful. What does that mean?"
"It's about rather than sort of getting swallowed up with misery, which I've been there, and think you can't change, you suddenly have this power whether it's economic or actually it's just people listen to you, people love you. Girls write in and say, 'I'm so inspired by you' and suddenly realizing I'm going to hold this pen myself and I'm going to try and change things as opposed to getting angry."
The second season of Westworld, starring Newton, is currently airing on HBO. The full Emmy Roundtables air every Sunday on SundanceTV beginning June 24 and on THR.com the following Monday. The full Drama Actress Roundtable starring Elisabeth Moss, Claire Foy, Newton, Angela Bassett, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Sandra Oh airs July 15 on SundanceTV. Tune in to THR.com/roundtables for more roundtables featuring talent from the year's top shows.