HBO’s Westworld is once again playing with its viewers by using multiple timelines to advance Season 2's ongoing narrative. While the second episode of the season gave us a better idea about what to expect from the Man in Black and Dolores’ storylines, it also delivered a cameo appearance from one of the most widely praised actors on television. As alluded to in our recap, the performer behind El Lazo gave us a “craving for fried chicken.”
SPOILER WARNING: Plot details below on the second episode of Westworld Season 2.
El Lazo was portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito, the man who plays drug kingpin and fast food entrepreneur Gus Fring in Breaking Bad and its prequel series, Better Call Saul. According to Esposito, Westworld’s producers went to their counterparts at Better Call Saul before he had a chance to talk to them about the role.
“All of a sudden I was on the phone with Jonathan [Nolan] and with Lisa [Joy] and they were describing everything,” Esposito told The Wrap. “And I was just like, ‘Oh, this world is a world I want to be a part of.’ It came kind of through the backdoor. Because I was told they were writing this character and they could think of no one to play it but me. But they weren’t sure it would happen. But everyone was so amenable and I loved the idea, so I said yes.”
The level of secrecy on Westworld was so high that Esposito said that he couldn't even leave his trailer when he wasn't filming. Esposito even had to lie to Evan Rachel Wood to keep his cameo a secret. Intriguingly, Esposito indicated that Anthony Hopkins was on the set during his appearance on the show. Hopkins’ Robert Ford was killed off in the first-season finale, but his presence has been felt within the first two episodes of Season 2. That’s one of the reasons why El Lazo and his associates didn’t stick around to help the Man in Black. But in Westworld, the death of a host is rarely the last time we see a performer.
"“[El Lazo’s] a guy who has been someone else, and then he’s channeling Ford and a bigger piece of this whole story than I think anyone would ever imagine," said Esposito. "So I would love to come back and sort of unpack that and see what that looks like.”
Westworld Season 2 will continue next Sunday, May 6.