Daniel Wu auditioned for Jeffrey Wright 'Westworld' role

Daniel Wu met "Westworld" co-creator Lisa Joy making her film "Reminiscence." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/303562dea82071a8d607f46cbd39b753/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Daniel Wu met "Westworld" co-creator Lisa Joy making her film "Reminiscence." File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, July 31 (UPI) -- This article contains spoilers for Westworld Season 4 Episode 6

Westworld regular Daniel Wu said he auditioned for the show in its first season -- for the role of Bernard. Jeffrey Wright won that role, but the show welcomed Wu as rebel leader J in Season 4.


Looking back, Wu said he realized he messed up his audition. In attempting to give a unique reading for Bernard, Wu unintentionally anticipated one of the show's big twists.

"My take [was] that he's a human, but he works so closely with the hosts that he acts like a host himself," Wu recently told UPI in a Zoom interview. "Little did I know after watching the season, he is a host. That got revealed, so you can't foreshadow that."

Working with Wright in Season 4, Wu found out that Wright didn't know Bernard's robotic secret when he was cast, either.


"He said, 'I didn't find out until after the pilot episode,'" Wu said. "He knew early on though."

The HBO adaptation of the Michael Crichton film has evolved beyond the western theme park with robot cowboys and gunslingers. The robot hosts escaped the park at the end of Season 2.

Now, in the real world of the future, the hosts are still trying to prevent the Delos company from using technology to take over the world. J (Wu) has been leading rebels in the desert outside the city.

Wu previously worked with Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy in her film Reminiscence. Independently of his Westworld audition, Joy contacted Wu to offer him a role in the film.

"She had known about my work before and just invited me to work on that character," Wu said.

Wu had worked in Hong Kong martial arts movies since the late '90s. He recently starred in the AMC martial arts series, Into the Badlands, and American films Geostorm and Tomb Raider.

Though Joy never saw Wu's Westworld audition, Wu said she called him again after directing him in Reminiscence.

Westworld introduced J in the third episode of Season 4, when C (Aurora Perrineau) brought Bernard and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) to their desert encampment. Sunday's episode revealed J was replaced by a host, which Wu only learned when he read the script.


"I thought, 'Oh, I wish I kind of knew about that earlier,' but then at the same time, in the show reality, J doesn't know," Wu said. "If I had anticipated that, it may have added something that may not have necessarily needed to be there."

The moment J meets his host replacement was pivotal in the episode. Having spent his life fighting hosts, as flashbacks to J's childhood show, encountering his copy was upsetting.

"He had gone through a traumatic experience where his brother was taken by the hosts," Wu said. "For him to face that reality is definitely an oh [expletive] moment for him."

When C discovers J no longer is himself, Wu's performance changes. He said it was easy to convey the host J's personality.

"He's like a different person in that dialogue so it was very clear when you read it that this guy has changed," Wu said. "There's an attitude change and this guy is a bad version of the J."

Wu and Perrineau get into a brief fight. Wu said the scuffle was intentionally different than his martial arts battles in movies like New Police Story, House of Fury or the show Into the Badlands.


"It's very important to me to differentiate between the styles of action for the character," Wu said. "So Badlands set a tone for that kind of Wuxia Hong Kong style Kung Fu action, but in other things like Tomb Raider or Westworld, I don't implement that style of fighting."

Wu said Sunday's episode of Westworld is his last for now. However, Joy and Westworld co-creator Jonah Nolan told Wu not to count himself out.

"They're like, 'Well, you're never dead in Westworld," Wu said. "Lisa Joy is like, 'You never know, you can get called back.'"

Since J was replaced by a host, there could be other copies of him, Wu speculated. There is also the possibility of filming flashbacks to J's previous time with the rebels, some of which Wu already learned.

"What was living in the desert like, hiding from the hosts like?" Wu said. "Those are questions I ask when we're filming because that's the backstory for me for the character."

Westworld Season 4 continues Sunday nights at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.

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