Daniel Wu shares the exciting journey of his Westworld character

Jerry Donato - The Philippine Star
Daniel Wu shares the exciting journey of his Westworld character
Daniel, star of the HBO Original drama series, says of his character Jay’s arc: ‘(He) turns into a host. It’s ironic because he is the leader of this rebel group that hates the hosts. So, yeah, it was a cool arc… I thought it was exciting for me.’
Photos courtesy of HBO GO

MANILA, Philippines — Daniel Wu forms part of Westworld Season 4’s ensemble acting. The actor, who is also into directing and producing, portrays the character Jay in the drama series.

The latest season, based on the piece of information given to this paper, is described as “the dark odyssey about the fate of sentient life on earth.” Its season finale will unfold on Aug. 15 at 9 a.m. via HBO and HBO GO.

In a recent virtual group interview, attended by select journalists and writers from Asia, Daniel generously shared his thoughts about Jay and the latter’s evolving being and the show’s storyline and themes. They are some of the elements that keep viewers invested and interested and make the Westworld narrative compelling.

“Jay turns into a host,” answered Daniel when inquired about Jay’s character arc, encompassing what he has become in episode six and the path the character has taken. “It’s ironic because he is the leader of this rebel group that hates the hosts.” The actor referred to an assembly of humans, “who are not susceptible to the control of the hosts.”

As one may have remembered, hosts are artificially creations that resemble human beings. They are part and parcel of Westworld’s (the park) storylines. Some human beings create the place for entertainment, while others participate in it, as being established in season one. Humans have control over hosts. Daniel’s Jay has made that transition from human to host. The sixth episode is pivotal to capture that character arc or change in being.

“It’s clear that he is no longer the Jay you knew from the previous three episodes,” said Daniel. “So, yeah, it was a cool arc. I didn’t know that was going to happen to (my character).” The actor seems to enjoy such element of surprise because in his line of work, playing a TV character, “sometimes you don’t know what your arc is gonna be, sometimes it can be frustrating and sometimes it can be exciting,” said he, “but I thought it was exciting for me because of the hard left turn. I thought he was heading down this one way and then suddenly, you know, he becomes a host and then he gets killed.” Since his Jay is now a host, creator and executive producer Lisa Joy told Daniel, “Anything can happen to a host.’”

With that, the character may resurface and be given a restart to live and roam around the park, a city, populated by hosts and humans, or a new place. Daniel worked with Lisa in her directorial film debut Reminiscence, which also shares the science-fiction element of Westworld.

“When I found out that was happening,” said Daniel of Jay’s destiny and life journey, “(I thought,) oh, that’s cool because there’s, you know, a clear change in this person and his personality… as going from basically a good guy to a bad guy… and to have that kind of twist and surprise is always nice to have in an arc of a character.”

Characters like that are palatable and irresistible to actors like Daniel, as one may put it. The show’s genre and themes also pique their interest to be part of a drama series like Westworld.

“Any kind of good sci-fi is a reflection of humanity,” said Daniel. “So, one thing that you can definitely talk about here that relates to our current society and the problems that we have is mind control.” Following his train of thought, one could glean that it’s happening on social media, and the web of information being produced within it may have an effect on someone’s thinking and actions.

As for understanding the Westworld season four narrative, Daniel has a good vantage point because he religiously follows the drama series.

“I’m a huge fan of the show,” said he. “I love the themes that they go over, you know with the idea of like artificial intelligence and what that means to our society, right? It’s kinda of an expansion of the Terminator idea.” It revolves around the premise that what happens if artificial intelligence has consciousness and feelings, said he, who added that “those are overriding themes I think the show carries on and I think they got a little bit away from in season three, but I think in season four, it comes back to the whole idea of control.”

Daniel recalled that in season one, “you see (that) the hosts or the robots are suddenly becoming aware or the few… suddenly they’re becoming aware (or) having the consciousness and the understanding that they are being controlled by the humans the whole time and they’re being mistreated by the humans all the time.”

In season four, he added that “humans are suddenly waking up and realizing that they are being controlled by the robots or the hosts. Thematically, it’s very similar to season one (but)… the roles are completely reversed.” When Daniel read the script, he was very excited because he could see what’s happening and what the key people behind the show could do, theme-wise.

Again, with such development in Jay’s identity and Westworld’s discussion on a theme that tackles mind control, and to some extent, makes viewers reflect on human agency and free will, fans of Westworld may view the finale episode as a new beginning of another compelling season.


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