The wait is finally over and the Westworld season 3 premiere has come and gone. Airing on March 15, the show introduced a bevy of new characters, including former Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul as Caleb, a veteran suffering from PTSD. In that first episode, Caleb has to deal with talking to a therapist and even a computer-simulated voice of his dead friend, before having Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) quite literally fall into his arms.
Regardless of how their on-screen relationship pans out, Paul was more than excited to get the chance to be part of Westworld and to have his character Caleb be part of season 3’s main storyline with Dolores. “I think they have a lot of similarities, and I also think not so much,” he told Collider. “They see eye to eye on a lot of things.”
As far as working so closely with Wood, Paul said that he’s “been such a huge fan of hers, for as long as I can remember.”
One of the first things that comes to mind, when I think about what it was that made me fall in love with her, as an artist, was when I saw the movie Thirteen. I just could not believe what she was doing in that. Everything was so honest and pure and raw, and just left out in the open. I was just so blown away, and have followed her work, ever since. It’s an embarrassment of riches, with this show. You’re working with the best of the best in the industry, on screen and off. And the fact that I got to go toe to toe with someone I admire on such a massive level, it was a dream for me. And then, getting to know her on a personal level, and really understanding, truly, what a bad ass she is, what a fighter she is, and what a survivor she is, and the fact that she’s an actual lawmaker now, it’s amazing, the gambit that she has. She’s truly such a inspiration, to be honest.
Paul had heard how difficult it could be to film scenes for Westworld, and yet, he has no regrets. “[A]ll of the rumors were true. It is truly such a hard show to do. But with all of that said, I wouldn’t change it, for the world,” he said. “I had the best time doing it. I had no sleep doing it. None of the crew did. None of the writers or directors did. It’s just a brutal shoot. A lot of that had to do with the future futuristic setting that we were in. [Showrunner] Jonah [Nolan] said, ‘Look, the future looks better at night,’ so most of our stuff was shot at night.”
“We did have some day stuff, so Mondays were our daytime shoots,” he continued. “On Tuesdays, we’d be into splits, so our call times would be at 2:00pm, and then we would wrap around 2:00am. And then, by Wednesday or Thursday, our call times weren’t until 6:00pm, and we’d wrap around 8:00 or 9:00am So, to go back and forth on that schedule for six months is pretty brutal.”
Going in to film season 3, Paul was well aware of the convoluted timelines from season 2, but as a fan of the show, he’d watched the second season several times in order to get a deeper appreciation for it. “The more you watch anything, or the more you read something, you get a deeper look at it, just ‘cause you have a better grasp of what you think is up ahead,” he said. “Now that I’ve actually seen the second season a total of three times, I really have such a grasp on what is going on.”
I do understand that some people were a little taken back by what the hell was happening in this show. As a society that takes in a lot of information, constantly, and that takes in a lot of TV shows and films, we’re used to just sitting back and not necessarily just turning our brain off ‘cause there are definitely some stories out there that really make you think, this being one of the stories that really makes you think. It’s a little bit more complicated than people are used to, but I really think that, if you give it a shot, anyone can understand this show. You just have to pay attention. The sweetest fan mail comes in saying, “I’m so happy that you’re a part of Westworld. I wish I was smarter to understand what the hell was going on, but I still love watching it.” I get that. You’ve gotta just sit back and think outside the box, a little bit, and really just lean in to the sci-fi of it all. It’s a pretty interesting thing.
Paul was nearing a deal that would have him filming another show in Canada before showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy reached out and pitched him the idea of Caleb, so he knew going in what to expect.
“I sat down with them and that they pitched me the story arc of this guy and this season, and how he fit into this world,” said Paul. “He was gonna be the audience’s point of view of what it’s like to live as a civilian, within this futuristic society, and what that really entails. The fact that I got a peek behind the velvet curtain, in a way, at the future of Westworld, was such a dream come true. It was an instant yes from me.”
You can catch more of Aaron Paul as Caleb when Westworld season 3, episode 2, “The Winter Line” airs this Sunday, only on HBO.