[This story contains major spoilers for the fourth episode of Westworld season four “Generation Loss.”]
When Aurora graced Perrineau western world’At the season four premiere in late June, she was the only one of the show’s newer cast to speak to the press.
In a way, the actress — who plays a character named C and whose connection to one of the HBO series’ main stories was revealed at the end of the fourth episode — was a human spoiler, like her mother co-stars. But with her episode three introduction and Sunday night’s reveal, more of Perrineau’s role is now in sharp focus.
Living in a desert location amidst a group of human rebels fighting off Charlotte’s (Tessa Thompson) new world order, C searches for a way to find her father, Aaron Pauls Caleb, and a putative weapon being used against humanity’s new overlords can .
With the arrival of Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard and Luke Hemsworth’s Stubbs, C defies her desert family’s fears and skeptically follows the host and his human friend to a location where they unearth a weapon that supposedly can stop Charlotte. What – or really who – lies beneath the dirt reveals C’s true identity and teases her potential role in what is now a literal struggle for free will.
Perrineau spoke up The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s premiere and then again before Sunday’s episode about joining the western world Family, the big turn in her character, and what’s next for the people who take on Charlotte.
As an actor, what was it like entering the universe of? western world Where does this kind of Russian puppet storytelling approach come from?
Honestly, it was a little easier for me than I thought because my character felt a little disconnected from all of those storylines, so I felt like I could dig into that a little bit more and it came from an emotional place rather than one analytical place. I think was really helpful for me. I felt bad for everyone else who said, ‘OK, and that’s related and that’s related.’laughs)
How much did you know about your character’s true identity when he went on the show?
Nothing. I knew nothing. I got the scripts before every episode – you get them right before the episode and then you shoot them. So it was always a surprise. In my first episode I was like, ‘Oh, I work with Jeffrey Wright and Luke Hemsworth. That’s so damn cool.’ It was like, ‘Okay, cool, I don’t know who this girl is, but this is fun.’ Then I got the script for four while we were shooting and that was a big surprise. I had no idea. I called one of the producers and said, ‘Wait a minute, am I Aaron’s daughter?’
So her characterization of her was formed from the fourth episode onwards.
Yes, of couse. I had an idea of what my own backstory was to me that I had caught up on for Three, and then when I got the script for Four it reinvigorated things I was already feeling in my mind. But then it also gave me even more of a sense of why I’m doing the things I’m doing, which helped a lot for the rest of the season. It’s nice to know that’s why you’re doing these things, rather than just making a random guess.
Her character was obviously young when her father, Caleb, disappears, and as this episode ends, we see her presence, but also the world Charlotte has built. C is here without her mother. Will we get an explanation this season as to why she isn’t?
Yes, in general you will see how the whole situation is with all the rebels and why we are all there and what happened. You will see a backstory happening.
How much does she know about her father’s fate, especially given the shocking “weapon” – Maeve – they unearth.
I don’t think she knows anything. It’s kind of what she said [Bernard]: No one believes there’s anything out here, and I don’t even know if I believe there’s a gun out there. All I know is that I think my dad is there and that’s my main goal. She didn’t know. She’d heard those rumors, and they’d all heard those rumors. It’s like an urban legend of this thing that happened in this place. So I think for her she just went there to see if her father was there. It’s a shock to her to see that the gun is this woman that she may have seen in her childhood and doesn’t really know, like, ‘How’s that a gun? I think that’s probably what’s going on.’
This episode really encompassed that western world Storytelling style of the game over time through this Caleb reveal. You know if Your character relates to the other storylines?
I honestly don’t even have an answer for you. I’m left in the dark there so I don’t spoil anything. (laughs)
Her group of desert rebels is truly the only vision of flesh-and-blood humanity we have in Charlotte’s new world. And the show always explores the theme of what it means to be human. How do you think the Rebels will expand on that this season?
There’s a thread running through the show, I think, that’s this idea of free will. I think our group are definitely people who are still in that mindset of free will and what that really means, and so they don’t want control. You will continue to see that this is their goal. That’s just representative of what the show has always been about, it’s just a little different now what free will is and who it’s for.
C meets Luke and Jeffrey’s characters first out of their group and despite this tense introduction, she is the most trusting of them. What does that say about who your character has become in this new world?
When I read three, I hadn’t read four, so I think I trusted, but not that much. When I read four, I thought, ‘okay, you’re doing everything you can for love, right?’ We all do things that maybe aren’t the most sensible things and I think she’s definitely retained a lot of who she was when she was a kid, which means she’s very tough. But at the end of the day she’s got bear-bear and bear-bear needs the lights on. There’s this part of her that’s still a kid because she had to grow up so quickly, and I think that’s why — I wouldn’t say she’s that open to what’s happening, but she really wants to , really something. And I think when you really want something, sometimes you do things against your best judgement. I think maybe that’s where she is. Her crew doesn’t want this thing as much as she wants it.
When your character decided to trust Bernard, it was clearly a big deal because everyone else was basically saying, “We’ve got to take them down immediately.” In general, you can’t always trust who you’re seeing or what you’re seeing and who in control on this show. So does your character really trust him and how does he fit into their plans?
It’s like right now nobody trusts Bernard – I probably don’t even really trust Bernard. I just want something from him. I think it will be interesting to see how everyone in the rebel group plays out, him and me.
I saw a group of you – Jeffrey, your new cast mates – take a selfie on the carpet a few weeks ago, which is very cute. I imagine you are all quite connected. What was it like working with Jeffrey, working with other original cast members and the new crew?
He was so great to me and I felt like he was my best friend on set. He definitely had my back, which was a nice thing when you come to a show. I think he just knows everything so well. He just comes and knows what’s happening and he does it. You feel like you can follow the leader with him which is nice. I think working with all the OG people – we put it that way (laughs) – was really great and they were all very welcoming. But having the newbie crew was nice because we let ourselves in on the fact that none of us know anything and we’re all like, ‘Is that okay? Are we doing this right? It was fun. Like a big, huge family.
Can we expect you to work with cast members outside of the desert?
I definitely get to work with Jeffrey and Luke and that has been great. Then my other two, obviously as you saw in the selfie, are like Daniel Wu and Morningstar Angeline. I think they are just amazing. I had such a great time with them. We really bonded because we were so hot and we were in the desert and me and Morningstar had to kiss when it was 100 degrees outside. We’re just so sweaty and gross and we’re just like, “Well, we’re just going in,” and now we’re best friends. I see her every time she comes to LA or whenever I’m in New Mexico. We can have a really fun journey together on the show and I look forward to people seeing that.
Your group operates in a really dry outdoor location unlike the rest of the cast. It’s not that steely cool set situation. What was it like being in the elements?
I definitely expected the set situation (laughs), but for me at least it really helped crazy max War dog situation where it’s like we just got out here trying to stand up for this cause and fight this cause. I think it honestly helps that we were hot and we were sweating. You feel really tough and you feel hardened out there. In the meantime, just go to your trailer afterwards. (laughs) But you definitely get the feeling of really being inside and maybe experiencing what it would be like to live like that.
You also mentioned Morningstar, who plays C’s partner. The show loves to explore, also through Caleb and C’s familial relationship, how characters are forced to make choices and what lies at the core of their humanity. Will your two characters’ romantic relationship touch on that, too?
I don’t know if it explores too much. When I first read it, I thought, “OK, this feels a bit like that kind of relationship,” but I guess moving forward, we’re the yin and yang to each other. We both keep each other level headed because I think we’re both a little bit ready to go at any moment. I think that’s what they enjoy being together. They have a very sweet relationship.
What are you most looking forward to for viewers with C in the future and what can they expect for the rest of the season?
I think to see the progression of what she’s trying to achieve and where she’s ending and what she’s really fighting for. I’m really excited for you to see her humanity because I think when you see it you wonder why she’s acting a certain way. We’re going on a big, big adventure with her and I think it’s going to be a really fun one. I’m going to explore a lot of things that I haven’t explored in any other character before.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
western world airs new episodes on HBO on Sundays.