Leonardo Nam says he wasn’t totally prepared for the immense amount of nudity in HBO’s “Westworld.”
Nam – who plays Felix Lutz, one of Westworld’s technicians who repair damaged hosts to return them to the theme park or mark them as unsalvageable and retire them to cold storage – shared many of his scenes with Thandie Newton, who plays Maeve, one of the hosts and the owner of the theme park’s brothel. And that meant he had to work with not only a naked Newton in an early scene in which Maeve is repaired, but also the nudity of other costars and the show’s background players.
“I remember thinking the scene was just going to be in a medical-like room – no windows or anything like that,” Nam told Business Insider in a recent interview. “Just the other actor, myself, and Thandie. And then I go on the set and everything was glass. And I thought, ‘Wow, you can see it all, you can see into the other rooms,’ and then I saw the other extras and other bodies that were there.”
HBO kept a tight lid on details about “Westworld” during the nearly two years of production on the show’s first season. But the public got an early peek into the show when a contract for extras leaked and showed that sex and nudity would play big roles in the show.
- Photo by Ricky Middlesworth; Grooming by Stephanie Puleio; Styling by Philippe Uter
Nam said he had to quickly collect himself after the initial shock.
“I started to think, ‘Oh, OK, there’s like 100, 200 extras, and they’re all naked,'” he said. “And once you start to understand what it is that the show is doing, you really do put on the hat of a professional on the set, and you just go with that.”
Newton, who is an outspoken advocate of women’s rights and a victim of sexual abuse, said she welcomed her role’s nudity and the thoughtful use of sex on the series.
“Maeve was a bit more challenging to me, personally, with the nudity and so on,” Newton previously told Business Insider of deciding to take the role. “It was also very important because, ironically, the use of my body has not been my choice in a number of situations.”
That would go a long way toward helping Nam get past his original shock.
“Thandie is an absolute professional,” Nam said. “Along with that, she is a wonderful and lovely person. That combination really was what made everyone comfortable on set. For me to be acting with her was a blessing. Not only is she in the scene and really present and so giving as an actor, which is gold for me because it makes the experience so rich and so wonderful, but what also helped once the cameras were turned off – we found our own natural rapport and friendship. And she really did take me under her wing.
“What I really enjoyed about this project is that, yes, it does show nudity, but we kind of showed nudity in a new way,” Nam continued. “And it really makes us rethink and resee things such as gender and pleasure, along with nudity. It was a new experience.”