Led by the Southern accent of Reggie Watts, the giant cast of “Westworld” was cracking jokes and dropping connections during their Comic-Con panel on Saturday evening. Amid the 16 participants, Ed Harris may have been the happiest.
Though quiet unless posed a question, Harris proved himself game for anything; most notably when Watts asked him to explain why “Westworld,” a show that’s both complex and genre-bending, connected with such a large audience.
“That’s a good question, Reggie,” Harris said. “What [Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy] have created is their own genre, in a way, and it’s just extremely relevant.”
Harris went on to say he didn’t believe the show’s intricacies were a detriment to its success: far from it.
“In a way, it’s like ‘Game of Thrones,’” he said. “You watch ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I don’t know what’s going on in that thing, but I enjoy watching it.”
“Let’s absorb two things: Ed Harris is at Comic-Con, and Ed Harris watches ‘Game of Thrones,’” Nolan summed up.
Earlier in the panel, Nolan said he was convinced the entire experience wasn’t real because of something Harris did just before they came onstage.
“We must be in a simulation of some kind,” Nolan said. “I just did a tequila shot with Ed Harris in a parking garage at Comic-Con.”
Apparently the tequila gave Harris just the spark he needed. When a fan asked what each actor’s favorite scene was, Harris readily volunteered a story about his co-star, Evan Rachel Wood.
“When I read the scene where Dolores beats me up, breaks my nose, and throws me out of the back of the church, I was very excited to do that,” Harris said. “It was one of the most joyous occasions I’ve ever had on set, because Evan was so excited to shoot it.”
Wood didn’t comment, sitting back and laughing with her castmates, but the small smile creeping over Harris’ face said it all.
And you can see it for yourself in the Season 2 trailer. Though no one offered up any details on what’s to come, the hour-long event ended with the teaser screening at Hall H. The panelists — which included Shannon Woodward, Luke Hemsworth, Angela Saracen, Ben Barnes, Jimmi Simpson, Jeffrey Wright, Lisa Joy, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Rodrigo Santoro, Ingrid Boisa Berdal, Simon Quarterman, Tessa Thompson, Wood, Nolan, and Harris — all gathered to watch, after Watts joked that he’d only been given access because he knew the production’s editors.
Nolan did joke that the larger plan was pretty obvious. When asked why practical effects were important to the show, Nolan said they were vital for a bigger project than just the series: They need this stuff in real-life.
“The irony of a show where nothing is real in a fake world, there’s no other way to do that than reality,” he said. “We have an incredible production team on the show. They approach every problem with, ‘How do we make this thing real?’ And that fits into our larger plan: How do we make this into a theme park?”
This, of course, begs the question: If Ed Harris could only have one theme park, would he rather go to “Westworld” or “Game of Thrones”? If someone can track him down at Comic-Con, he’d probably be happy to answer. Just bring the tequila.
“Westworld” is slated to return in 2018. Season 1 is streaming on HBO NOW.