Movies · TV

Westworld, Anthony Hopkins, and the Art (and Artifice) of Acting

How one scene reveals all the great thespian’s chops.
By  · Published on November 8th, 2016

How one scene reveals all the great thespian’s chops.

You don’t need a video essay or really anyone to tell you that Anthony Hopkins is a great actor; you just need some ability to see, some ability to understand English, and an awareness of which one’s Anthony Hopkins. You might, however, need a video essay to tell you why Anthony Hopkins is such a great actor. It isn’t just the four-or-so decades of experience he has under his belt, the parts he picks, or even his ability to disappear into said parts; it is instead a variety of ticks, syllabic emphasis and diction, nuanced movements and expressions that together form his particular brand of board-treading brilliance, which perhaps has never been on stronger display than it is currently in HBO’s latest runaway success Westworld.

In the series (like you don’t know) Hopkins plays Westworld architect Dr. Robert Ford (a nod to the coward who shot Jesse James ((himself a “man in black”))?), the brains behind the operation and the god of all the park’s hosts. In a cast teetering with powerful actors ‐ Evan Rachel Wood, Geoffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, Jimmi Simpson, and oh yeah, Ed Harris ‐ Hopkins is easily the standout, and in the latest video from Evan Puschak, a.k.a. The Nerdwriter, it’s explained just why.

Using a scene from episode four, “Dissonance Theory,” in which Ford has an icy lunch with park operations leader Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), Puschak breaks down just about every glance given and every sentence spoken by Hopkins, revealing in each the kernels of genius that when seen as a whole produce the top-quality acting for which the man is known.

As it stands right now, Hopkins needs to be building a new shelf at his house because this time next year he’s going to have all the TV supporting actor awards, and this insightful video ‐ which could honestly double as a drama school lecture (in the best way) ‐ picks apart the tricks within his trade.

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