Simon Quarterman and Thandie Newton star in Westworld
Photo: John P. Johnson (HBO)

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s Westworld adaptation has come a long way from early reports of its fitful production, including calls for extras to perform some “genital-on-genital touching.” Now in its second season, the sci-fi/western thriller series has offered engrossing mystery after mystery, and several great performances from its core cast, including Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, and Thandie Newton. But even though the roles of the fictional torture park’s guests and hosts may have been reversed after the season-one finale, nudity is still very much in play. The season-two premiere, which aired last night, had one of Westworld’s main storytellers letting it all hang out in the middle of an uprising, something actor Simon Quarterman thinks everyone should give a try.

Speaking with Vulture, Quarterman, who plays Lee Sizemore, says he immediately told Nolan and Joy “sure, whatever you need,” when they asked him to join the many other people who have taken it all off for the show, including Newton. For Quarterman, it’s about more than just tit for tat: “Women have to reveal a lot all the time, and it felt so in keeping with what we were doing with the themes and with the tables being turned. And obviously, doing it with Thandie, who spent most of the season last year naked.” The actor says he “found it incredibly powerful, actually.... I thought it was important for that scene to happen.” In fact, Quarterman would “recommend it to anyone.” Though he was concerned during the filming of the scene, in which Maeve (Newton) orders Lee to strip down fully before changing into cowboy clothes, he ultimately found it “quite liberating because it is shown now. Can’t go back, can’t hide that anymore. It is just a body. I mean, we’ve all got one. It’s very liberating.”

Quarterman also remarks on the significance of Lee being exposed so completely, especially after taking a little criticism from Maeve about his scripting. The actor says, “It was very much about the tables being turned and the hosts suddenly becoming in control. It’s a mirroring of what these hosts have to go through. For Lee, it’s about the breaking down of this egoic construct and chipping away at the rules of that. The stripping down of it. Maybe there’s something lurking underneath.”