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Westworld star Jimmi Simpson had a monumental second season of the HBO sci-fi drama, which earned him a Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series. “I feel so flattered. I feel so honored to be considered one of the better guest performances of the year,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Simpson’s is just one of Westworld’s 21 Emmy nominations this year, including for outstanding drama series. “It’s kind of beyond my wildest dreams because I never thought I’d be doing work as complex as Lisa [Joy] and Jonathan [Nolan] have created,” he explained. “I’ve always hoped and wished but I didn’t really see it as my path, and to not only be able to do that level of work, but then be included with these people that I’ve looked up to my whole life, is amazing.”
The actor went on to discuss working closely with his “idol,” Ed Harris, this past season, in a major twist that revealed his character William is actually a young Man in Black.
“In the first season, I believe Ed might not have known that young William was him until the last episode or two, because he was just focused, doing his thing and he’s like, ‘Woah, you’re me?’ So we were doing completely separate characters,” Simpson recalled.
He added: “Towards the last couple episodes, because I knew a little bit earlier, I started watching his work and I needed to layer in a little bit for the first season. For the second season, it was all about what I had created and then watching repeatedly, with the help of Lisa and Jonathan, the work Ed had created and figuring out how to plot out the bridge between William and the Man in Black.”
Simpson, who has been a fan of Harris’ since Places in the Heart (1984), called the elder actor a “genius” and revealed the close bond the two share. “I’m eternally grateful for Ed Harris, not just for his talent but for being so kind,” he explained. “For being an idol and then being a kind person and sharing. I write him emails with questions on this business world, and he’s just a good man. I’m very lucky.”
Watch the video above to hear Simpson also discuss William’s lack of compassion for Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), as well as what he knows going into season three of Westworld.
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