Thandie Newton gives a killer performance on Westworld as brothel madam Maeve, one of the first Hosts to question her reality. The actress, who filmed several nude scenes for the series, has recently spoken out about the experience, describing it as both liberating and empowering.
"You know what it felt like? It felt like having that fourth baby because it was a moment of such intense self-affirmation, not for me, Thandie, but female power," she told Oprah Winfrey during a conversation for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series. "I hadn't felt like that before. And it's ironic that I was standing there stark naked for a lot of it because I felt more in control than I've ever done because I said yes to this."
"I said, 'Yes, I will stand here with nothing on and I will speak these words,'" Newton continued. "I was so committed to this character's trajectory. I felt that it had secrets to how we need to survive as a humanity, which is to fight for the truth."
When the first season of Westworld was filmed, Newton had just given birth to her third child. She was still breastfeeding and had what she describes as her "creepy belly." But instead of letting any insecurities get the best of her, she embraced the opportunity.
"I'm like, 'OK, I'm going to stand naked and just do this thing," Newton recalls. "I hadn't been to the gym and, for me, it wasn't about looking a certain way. It was about having the courage to stand there naked and do this stuff."
She credits the cast and crew for being incredibly supportive and respectful during these scenes.
"The showrunner and the director had the crew in such a state of respect and compassion, everyone was so there for me," Newton says. "I'm surprised they didn't get butt naked themselves, just to make me feel better! But every time the camera stopped rolling, he'd say, 'Stop, stop, stop, let's get Thandie a robe.'"