There were a lot of things about Westworld‘s first season that made us uncomfortable. The rape scenes. The killing scenes. The combo rape-and-killing scenes. Of course we powered through because we knew those moments led to larger conversations about human nature and resiliency. By the end of the first season we knew this show was something special.
But as it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who were uncomfortable. Thandie Newton, who plays park “host” Maeve Millay on the series, recently admitted that the saloon outfit her character wore every day on the show made her more uncomfortable than the scenes in which she had to be naked.
And here we thought being covered up was always the more comfortable way to go when cameras are pointed in your direction. Mind you, if you look at the outfit Newton was tasked with wearing day in and day out we can begin to see where she’s coming from.
“I found myself more empowered naked than I did with the saloon outfit on,” she shared in an interview with an executive producer from her BBC1 series Line of Duty. “I was more comfortable naked because the costume was the most potent objectification of a woman, with the boobs pushed right up, the tiny waist. It’s an invitation for sex…The fishnet tights, the little heels with the laces… It’s all about sensuality. It’s about eroticism. It’s about ‘Look, but don’t touch.'”
Her statements make perfect sense, given the context of the show. For those who haven’t tuned in, it’s basically the exploration of an A.I. world in which robot “hosts” allow rich humans the opportunity to play out their deepest — and often darkest — fantasies. At the end of each trip the hosts are repaired and reset, which means they could experience the same sexual and abusive scenarios over and over again in a Groundhog Day scenario. Until of course the robots begin to become self-aware, raising a slew of other problems.
“It’s all there to make the invitation for sex as provocative as possible and then the promise of satisfaction is practically just there,” Newton added.
She went on to note that she felt more respected during her nude scenes than when she was walking around in the costume. Given the importance of such costumes in bedroom role-playing fantasies, we can see how the outfit would call unwanted attention. Even if her co-workers weren’t purposely making her feel uncomfortable (still, ew), those types of shows usually have “closed sets” for scenes with nudity, so that would also explain how she’d feel more respected in those situations.
The interview also kind of highlights how nudity itself doesn’t have to be sexual unless you make it. Sometimes a tight lace-up bra is a lot more sexual than just letting it all hang out. It’s an important reminder for any of us who have trouble embracing our own bodies, but it also reminds us that stars are people with real feelings and emotions too.
Even beautiful stars like Thandie Newton.
As for Westworld? Well we can count on the show picking back up on some of its important themes for an already-ordered second season; sadly that season won’t premiere until sometime in 2018 when it returns to HBO Canada.