It’s official, Westworld is our obsession – and we have a sneaking suspicion we’re going to continue to get more and more addicted in season two. (Hopefully it won’t be like our Lost trajectory, which ended with us more and more…lost).
Jimmi Simpson plays William on the show, and is no doubt one of our favorite characters. The best part though? He’s a foodie just like us, and apparently he thinks the future of Artificial Intelligence should be A.I. as sous chefs: Could this man steal our hearts more? We caught up with Simpson on Cashew (his Guinea pig on House of Cards), biscuits and gravy and the importance of thoughtful television…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Like if teleportation were a thing? Sweet! I’d have my dad’s biscuits and gravy to start, my mom’s noodle soup and a grilled cheese for lunch and then to Italy for an unknown elderly matriarch’s gnocchi for din din. And then ice cream – always ice cream. If it held all the nutrients I needed to live, I’d go straight ice all day.
What about Westworld shocked you the most at first starting the project?
The most shocking thing on the Westworld set was how exquisitely Ben Barnes’s dark mane caressed his jacket collar. Besides that…I was instantly amazed by the creators’ deep belief and care for this beautiful story. It was inspiring to everyone on set.
What have you discovered about yourself in playing William?
William’s taught me that observing before you act can light your way more clearly.
Any personal opinions on A.I.? If so, what are they?
I’m looking forward to humanoid A.I.’s being fully realized and sold as home sous chefs. When that fine day comes, fava beans for every meal.
Can you tell us anything about the show we don’t already know?
It’s on HBO. Oh, you’ve heard that one already? Ummm what else… oh! It ends with a musical dance number.
We loved you in House of Cards and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – do you have any favorite funny memories from those sets?
I get pretty close with the little animals in my life. Cashew was no different. She was shy and nervous so I petted and hugged her a lot. During one scene in particular, I was holding her and giving her a little massage and she started singing like Gizmo from Gremlins. No, it wasn’t quite as thoughtful and in tune as his song, but it was real sweet – and catchy as hell.
How do you start your day? What is your typical breakfast?
Because I’m likely to eat whatever during a hectic day, I try to put my best foot forward for breakfast. Either eggs and some wheat toast or a smoothie with yogurt, blueberries and some greens.
What would your last meal be? Who would it be with?
My last meal would be a meandering dinner cooked by another unknown matriarch in northern Italy – winter dishes. I’d like to have that with my brother.
You swear you were X in a past life…
You never liked X till you tried it at Y…
I never like avocados till I tried them in California.
What is your go-to lunch on set?
A turkey sandwich. Clean, simple, and requires no consideration so you can keep working – like Einstein and his one repeated outfit.
Words to both act and eat by…
If you put more work into it, I bet it’ll be even better.
If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead who would you have over? And what would you serve?
Any five folks to have over for dinner? Neat. Well, Carl Sagan (duh), Sylvia Plath, Stanley Kubrick, Abraham Lincoln and John Cleese (duh). I’d take them all to Hometown Buffet. It would be a hoot.
What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?
Los Angeles for that authentic Italian that’s both polished and accessible. Osteria Mozza is a perfect example of that. New York for pizza (Lombardi’s) or for restaurants trying innovative new ideas.
In the same vein as the new black in fashion, what is the new potato right now?
Thoughtful television is the new potato. TV has historically been a mindless salve for the end of the day – a lullaby of sorts. Thoughtful television is now using this tried medium not as a pacifier for the people, but as a way to engage us and move our culture forward.
*Jimmi Simpson, photographed at The Standard Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA by Danielle Kosann