The Academy Award-winning actor on playing Dr Robert Ford in the HBO original series, Westworld.
Anthony Hopkins, the 78-year-old Welsh actor, is the mysterious Dr Robert Ford in the HBO series, Westworld, inspired by the 1973 sci-fi film featuring a theme park filled with androids. The Hannibal actor, who will also be seen in an upcoming crime mystery film, Solace, is already garnering rave reviews for his role in the series. The Malibu-based Academy Award-winner tells us about his love for long dialogues, portraying dark characters, and the new series.
Tell us about your character
Dr Robert Ford?
I get to play these very strange characters who are always in control, which is completely against my nature. I can’t take anything too seriously. With Dr Ford, it is on a massive scale—he controls everything and he wants to perfect everything.
Why do you think you get cast in these kinds of roles?
I have no idea. Maybe it’s the coldness. Or perhaps it is the blank stare. But I don’t relish that. I’ve never been interested in control.
What aspects of Ford’s character did you enjoy the most?
I had a good time with it. I had to learn a lot of dialogue, a lot of text, but I enjoy that. It keeps my brain cells active. I don’t want to overdo it, but I love learning long texts, I just love it.
I understand you were only given the scripts as you were to film them, rather than given the entire story upfront.
I asked Jonathan [Nolan] who produced it, and the directors, what happens in this goddamn thing. And he said he wasn’t going to tell me. I had no idea what was happening—he didn’t tell me about the arc at all. I didn’t know much about the other characters, either. There were some big surprises. But then again, I enjoyed not knowing.
How do you feel about the rapid advancement of technology. Are ‘thinking robots’ part of our inevitable future?
This is Jonathan Nolan’s baby—he’s fascinated by the advent and development of human intelligence and artificial intelligence. The other day, I was up in Ojai (California). There was a guy there, in the hotel, he was having breakfast and lunch. We got chatting. And he’s from MIT. He was saying, there’s no such thing—you can never really create artificial intelligence. You cannot create life, you cannot create a thinking being. Then he said, ‘But I could be wrong.’
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