The 'Westworld' Actors You Absolutely Need to Know

hbo tessa thompson westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO
John P. Johnson/HBO

As Westworld transforms your living room yet again into a madcap saloon overrun by robots, firefights, and mystery, you'll notice one of the show's strongest assets is its cast. Hollywood heavyweights Anthony Hopkins (as Dr. Robert Ford), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard Lowe), Ed Harris (the Man in Black), and James Marsden (Teddy Flood) have all given heft to the HBO sci-fi saga, but you'll spot many more familiar and not-so-familiar faces as the drama unfurls, ones that will make you ask: Who the heck is that and what are they doing?

Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan's ensemble, like many of TV's more ambitious projects, offers a mix of underrated and rising talent, all worth knowing more about. To keep track of everybody, consult our running list, which details the players you'll see sporting Stetsons, bonnets, and future-chic corporate garb, grouped by the season in which they first appeared. We'll be updating this after every episode, so stay tuned.

New in Season 2

sela ward on westworld

Sela Ward

On the show: Ward plays older Juliet, William's wife, who, by the time he’s gone full Man in Black, has become despondent about her husband’s dark obsession. 
In real life: She's been Teddy Reed in Sisters, Lily Manning in Once and Again, Helen Kimble in The Fugitive, and TV reporter Sharon Schieber in Gone Girl. In a more than 40-credit career, Ward has proven a dependable star and supporting force, able to fit into projects ranging from the action-y (Independence Day: Resurgence) to the more biting (Graves). (Fun fact: She passed on the role of Susan for Desperate Housewives.) Offscreen, she's written a memoir, 2002's Homesick, and founded Hope Village for Children, a home for foster kids.


Rinko Kikuchi

On the show: Kikuchi plays the geisha Akane, built by Lee Sizemore as Shogun World's mirror to Maeve. 
In real life: Kikuchi got her start in her native Japan before first garnering international recognition, in 2006, for her Oscar-nominated turn in Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Babel. Since, she's enjoyed a blend of projects both Stateside and abroad. The last time you saw Kikuchi was probably in Pacific Rim: Uprising, in which she gave a tragic performance as Mako Mori, Jake's (John Boyega) adoptive sister. 

hiroyuki on westworld

Hiroyuki Sanada

On the show: Sanada plays Musashi, who, similar to Akane, is Hector's Japanese counterpart. 
In real life: A seasoned, malleable character actor, Sanada always had dreams of becoming an action star. Fortunately, the Tokyo-born talent has become no stranger to the genre, appearing alongside several big-name stars, including his friend Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 3, Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin, Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine, and, next, The Avengers in their forthcoming movie (in an as-yet-undisclosed role). 

hbo westworld katja

Katja Herbers

On the show: Herbers plays Grace, the kind of veteran park guest who's both shockingly knowledgeable and daring.
In real life: This Dutch actress grew up in Amsterdam, before honing her chops in Belgium and Germany. While her transition to Hollywood only began about three years ago, she's quickly landed a string of high-profile jobs (see: The Americans, Manhattan, The Leftovers, Manhunt: Unabomber). Herbers likes her latest one a lot, but she thinks it's just as mind-boggling as you do. "I think that there are as many layers to [Westworld] as there are layers to the park and levels of game that you can play," she told Interview recently. "I've just been rewatching the first season, and I'm amazed by how much I didn't catch the first time around."

jonathan tucker westworld

Jonathan Tucker

On the show: Tucker plays Major Craddock, a mustachioed (and very hungry?) leader of the Confederado army.
In real life: Before Tucker was Craddock, he was Young Tommy in Sleepers, Tim Weiner in The Virgin Suicides, Bob Little in Parenthood, and Jay Kulina in Kingdom. The Boston-born actor has also won CNBC's Celebrity Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge (!) and co-written a Nick Jonas song (!!) because why not. "It's one of the great highlights of my life," Tucker's quipped of the latter, "as a completely non-musical person."

westworld season 2 peter mullan

Peter Mullan (James)

On the show: Mullan plays James Delos, Logan's dad and the founder of Delos Inc., the company behind the Westworld project.
In real life: An award-winning writer-director-actor, the Scottish actor has had a varied (and impressive) career. A small sample: His first full-length film, Orphans, won big at the Venice Film Festival in 1998; he earned a BAFTA nominee for his Magdalene Sisters script in 2003; and his acting in Top of the Lake put him in Emmy contention in 2013. You probably know him as Swanney, the drug-dealing "Mother Superior" found in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting; and Ozark fans will also know him as Jacob Snell, the adage-obsessed kingpin who creeps the hell out of Jason Bateman.

giancarlo esposito westworld season 2

Giancarlo Esposito

On the show: Esposito plays the reincarnation of El Lazo, a revolutionary host whose storyline was once Lawrence's.
In real life: An Emmy-nominated veteran of the stage and screen, Esposito boasts an almost 50-year career and 170 credits. His long résumé includes such seminal highlights as Do the Right Thing, The Usual Suspects, and Breaking Bad -- on which he played the fan favorite drug and fried chicken kingpin Gus Fring. Esposito credits his delightfully surprising Westworld appearance (Season 2, Episode 2) to his love for Sir Anthony Hopkins. "I've said some great things about Anthony, and he's said some great things about me in regard to my work as Gus," he told Vulture. "So I think it was all kind of synchronous in that way."

westworld season 2 claire unabia

Claire Unabia (Juliet)

On the show: Unabia, whose involvement on the show has been the subject of much speculation, plays Juliet, aka William's wife and Logan's sister, aka the mysterious woman in the photograph from Season 1.
In real life: Unabia's an actress, model, and an arts organizer. Westworld is her only scripted credit to date, but she made some noise on the reality front during 2008's Cycle 10 of America's Next Top Model where she finished eighth. "I'm writing, directing and starring in a short psychological zombie film," she said after she was eliminated. "I'm also pitching TV shows and modeling and just seeing where life takes me."

gustaf skarsgard westworld

Gustaf Skarsgård (Strand)

On the show: Skarsgård plays Karl Strand, the head of Delos Operations who enjoys bossing people around.
In real life: If the name sounds (or looks) familiar, it should! Gustaf is yet another actor from the famous Skarsgård clan, which includes his dad, Stellan; and his brothers, the actors Alexander, Bill, and Valter. When he's not busy attending family functions or dissing Stubbs, you can find him looking insane as the Vikings' Floki.

betty gabriel westworld

Betty Gabriel (Maling)

On the show: Gabriel plays Maling, an officer working with Strand to restore order in the parks.
In real life: Gabriel broke out in 2017 with a tremendous performance as Georgina, the eerie housekeeper from Jordan Peele's hit Get Out. Already, this Good Girls Revolt alumna is following up with a big year, having booked -- in addition to Westworld -- Diverted Eden, Unfriended: Dark Web, and Upgrade.

fares fares westworld

Fares Fares (Antoine)

On the show: Fares plays Antoine Costa, a tech expert with "an objective perspective" and a knack for scraping out robo-brains. 
In real life: Born in Lebanon and raised partly in Sweden, Fares got his start collaborating with his younger brother, the talented filmmaker behind 2000's Jalla! Jalla! and 2003's Kopps. He'd make a splash overseas, but it wouldn't be until 2010, appearing alongside Joel Kinnaman in Daniél Espinosa's Easy Money, that he would break into Hollywood. With recent gigs in Tyrant, Zero Dark Thirty, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, he's on the rise.

westworld season 2 zahn mcclarnon

Zahn McClarnon (Akecheta)

On the show: McClarnon plays Akecheta, one of the hosts who, along with Angela, first lured Logan to the Westworld project. He later became a leading force in the park's Ghost Nation.
In real life: Since the end of the '80s, this actor of Lakota and Irish descent has racked up more than 70 acting credits, most notably stealing scenes as Fargo's Hanzee Dent, The Son's Toshaway, and Longmire's Officer Mathias. (Not-so-fun fact: McClarnon gave everyone a scare during Season 2's production, when, while off set, he sustained a head injury that sent him to the hospital. Fortunately, he was soon "on the mend" and able to finish his work.) He's poised to continue his prolific output; you might have already seen him earlier this year in Jason Momoa's Braven, as the drug trafficker Hallett.

Main Cast

evan rachel wood on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores)

On the show: Wood plays Dolores Abernathy, a glass-half-full rancher's daughter who, contrary to her appearance, is the oldest android walking around Westworld. She also seems to possess free will by the time season two rolls around, and has a darker, more violent side thanks to Arnold
In real life: After moving from North Carolina to California in the mid-'90s, Wood wasted no time building her filmography (see: Digging to ChinaThirteenThe WrestlerTrue Blood -- Yahtzee! -- and Into the Forest). The Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actress has also made a name for herself as a singer, LGBT advocate, and magazine columnist.

thandie newton on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Thandie Newton (Maeve)

On the show: Newton plays Maeve Millay, a sharp robotic madam whose popularity with customers fades as she becomes increasingly self-aware. At the beginning of season 2, she's on a quest to find her daughter, who probably exists only as code, but oh well.
In real life: Born in London, Newton turned to acting after a back injury made her abandon dance dreams. The Cambridge grad broke out with 1998's Beloved, and has since taken versatile turns in such dramas as The Pursuit of Happyness and Paul Haggis' Crash; and in such comedies as Norbit and Run, Fatboy, Run. You'll next see her in Xavier Dolan's star-studded The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.

rodrigo santoro on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Rodrigo Santoro (Hector)

On the show: Santoro plays the black leather-clad Hector Escaton, Westworld's most-wanted outlaw who carries lots of firepower and a not-so-subtle last name.
In real life: Santoro will be most familiar as Xerxes from the 300 movies or as the diamond-hungry Paulo on Lost. You might have also seen the Brazilian actor in Love ActuallyCharlie's Angels: Full ThrottleFocusThe 33, or Timur Bekmambetov's Ben-Hur remake.

tessa thompson, westworld

Tessa Thompson (Charlotte)

On the show: Thompson plays Charlotte Hale, a mysterious board director who, as DJ Khaled would say, might be up to something.
In real life: Best known for her roles in CreedSelma, Thor: Ragnarok, and Dear White People, the actress also has musical talent -- you can find her vocals on some cuts by the electro-soul outfit Caught A Ghost. She also co-stars in Janelle Monáe's video album Dirty Computer.

jimmi simpson on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Jimmi Simpson (William)

On the show: Simpson plays William, a wet-behind-the-ears visitor who favors wearing white hats, defending certain bots, and making viewers wonder if he's a young version of the Man in Black. Spoiler: He's a young version of the Man in Black.
In real life: This New Jerseyan's résumé includes no dearth of parts best described as twisted or "that guy"; highlights include the guinea pig-loving hacktivist on House of Cards, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Liam McPoyle, The Newsroom's Jack Spaniel, and David Letterman's Lyle the Intern. Offscreen, the Theatre World Award winner enjoys throwing "Jersey Style" barbecues.

ben barnes on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Ben Barnes (Logan)

On the show: Barnes plays Logan, William's douche-y friend who favors wearing black hats and treating the hosts like toys. He's also William's future brother-in-law, and his family owns Delos, which owns Westworld. 
In real life: After landing the titular role in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the Brit went on to deliver strong performances in Oliver Parker's Dorian Gray, Sergey Bodrov's Seventh Son, and the History Channel's Sons of Liberty. (Don't mess with him: he really does know how to fight and ride horses.)

simon quarterman on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Simon Quarterman (Lee)

On the show:Quarterman plays Lee Sizemore, Westworld's pain-in-the-butt head of narrative who concocts the roughly 100 interconnected storylines that fuel the park.
In real life: Another Brit, Quarterman made his debut in the early 2000s playing small TV parts overseas. An out-of-the-blue lead in The Scorpion King 2 helped him snag meatier spots -- refer to The Devil Inside and Estranged -- and convinced him to head Stateside.

talulah riley, westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Talulah Riley (Angela)

On the show: Riley plays Angela, the extremely accommodating host who welcomes guests to Westworld and later joins forces with the mysterious Wyatt.
In real life: Born in England, Riley kickstarted her career with Agatha Christie TV roles and Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice before moving on to St. Trinian's, Inception, and Thor: The Dark World. The actress-author has also generated headlines for marrying and divorcing SpaceX CEO Elon Musk -- twice.

luke hemsworth on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Luke Hemsworth (Stubbs)

On the show: Hemsworth plays Ashley Stubbs (real name, swear to God), Westworld's head of security, aka that office dude who loves holding his tablet, walking around with in-your-face good posture, and making awkward eye contact.
In real life: Nope, this isn't Hunger Games man or Thor; this is The Reckoning guy! If the eldest Hemsworth first took up acting in the early 2000s, quit to briefly start a flooring business, and then came back to give Hollywood another shot. Don't expect his floor expertise here, but do expect sassy comments.

clifton collins jr. on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Clifton Collins Jr. (Lawrence)

On the show: Collins plays Lawrence, the unfortunate automaton who briefly becomes the Man in Black's captive and key.
In real life: An Emmy-nominated actor, Collins boasts a screen career that spans more than two decades. You might recognize him from recent work on Ballers and Pacific Rim, or from Alias and the miniseries Thief. He also co-authored an edgy cookbook, Prison Ramen, which shares recipes and stories from behind bars.

louis herthum on westworld hbo
John P. Johnson/HBO

Louis Herthum (Peter)

On the show: Herthum plays Peter Abernathy, Dolores' dear ol' dad who has a Shakespearean freak-out after stumbling upon a modern-day photograph. Peter is also the valuable "package" that Delos wants in exchange for saving people's lives in the aftermath of Robert Ford's new narrative/massacre.
In real life: Though this Baton Rouge native's career stretches back to the early '80s, he's made the most noise in recent years with his strong work in Longmire, True Blood, and this great Westworld gif.

ingrid bolsø berdal on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Armistice)

On the show: Bolsø Berdal plays Armistice, a mysterious bandit with an expansive serpentine tattoo and top-notch shootin' skills.
In real life: This Norwegian actress has graced screens big and small for more than a decade, but it wasn't till recently that she made the switch from foreign slashers to moneymakers such as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Hercules. Unclear if her character gets to say, "There's a snake in my boot!" -- but we can sure as heck hope.

leonardo nam on hbo westworld

Leonardo Nam (Felix)

On the show: Nam plays Felix Lutz, Westworld's bird-obsessed repairman who befriends one of his repeat customers.
In real life: Even if you weren't aware of it, this Australian-bred actor of Korean descent has been a gem for more than a decade: Remember the pothead Roy from The Perfect Score? Or how about poor ol' Morimoto from Tokyo Drift? You can also find Nam in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Betas, and Netflix's Altered Carbon

ptolemy slocum on hbo westworld

Ptolemy Slocum (Sylvester)

On the show: Slocum plays Sylvester, Felix's coworker who's occasionally a dick and always ready for VR action.
In real life: Aside from having the coolest name on this list, the actor, who was born in Kenya, also scored major life accomplishments by performing improv with Neutrino, one of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater's most lauded longform teams; appearing in HitchWonder Showzen, The SopranosThe WireVeep, and Preacher; and, last but not least, narrating a couple of the Star Wars "Honest Trailers."

steven ogg on westworld hbo

Steven Ogg (Rebus)

On the show: Ogg plays Rebus, a milk-loving bandit who looks like he may or may not be related to Erlich Bachman.
In real life: To enjoy Grand Theft Auto V's Trevor is to enjoy Ogg. You can find more of the Canadian-born actor (and his epic facial hair) throwing fists on The Walking Dead, playing Sobchak on Better Call Saul, and breathing heavily as a super-creepy locksmith on Broad City.

angela sarafyan on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Angela Sarafyan (Clementine)

On the show: Sarafyan plays Clementine Pennyfeather, Maeve's popular, doe-eyed coworker from the brothel.
In real life: The Armenian-born actress is heavy on low-budget fare and guest parts, but Twilight fans should know her as Tia and old Cingular users as the Umbrella Girl. Despite almost missing her shot at Westworld, she's been one of the show's most intriguing characters to date.

shannon woodward on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Shannon Woodward (Elsie)

On the show: Woodward plays Elsie Hughes, a curious up-and-comer in Westworld's behavior department -- likes bots, doesn't like surprises.
In real life: Although she's young, Woodward's screen career has already taken her from the sets of Clarissa Explains It All and The Drew Carey Show to The Riches and Raising Hope. You'll also spot the Arizona native casually hanging back in the "Hot n Cold" music video because she's BFFs with Katy Perry.

sidse babbett knudsen on westworld
John P. Johnson/HBO

Sidse Babett Knudsen (Theresa)

On the show: Knudsen plays Theresa Cullen, Westworld's no-bullshit woman-in-charge who ensures the park doesn't go off-script.
In real life: Knudsen hails from Denmark, where initial success came with Jonas Elmer's Let's Get Lost and Susanne Bier's The One and Only -- both of which helped her net her country's top acting award. She went on to earn more international acclaim as the star of Borgen, a popular political drama about a Danish prime minister, and to start something of a Tom Hanks streak with A Hologram for the King and Inferno.

michael wincott on westworld hbo

Michael Wincott (Old Bill)

On the show: He's the whirring Westworld antique robot who likes to do shots with Dr. Ford and sleep in a body bag.
In real life: The veteran Canadian actor's career highlights include scene-stealing roles in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, The Crow, Strange Days,Dead Man, and Basquiat (alongside Jeffrey Wright). More recently, you might have seen him in Knight of Cups and 24: Live Another Day, or heard his voice work in such vid games as Halo 2 and Darksiders II. He usually gets called in to do "things that have a certain degree of intensity to them" -- so be ready, just in case.

gina torres on hbo westworld

Gina Torres (Lauren)

On the show: Torres plays Lauren, Bernard's former partner and the mother of his child.
In real life:Firefly fans might have relished spotting Zoë Washburne in Westworld's third episode. The New Yorker adds the HBO guest gig to a wide-ranging list of credits that includes Cleopatra 2525AngelThe Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, Alias, and Star Wars Rebels.

sorin brouwers on westworld hbo

Sorin Brouwers (Wyatt)

On the show: Brouwers plays Wyatt, Teddy's lunatic of a nemesis who's described as a "pestilence."
In real life: A fairly fresh face, you can see more of Brouwers on Vanessa Bayer's "Sound Advice," MTV's Awkward, and The Brink. He's also done motion-capture work for such video games as Mortal Kombat and Injustice: Gods Among Us.

lili simmons on hbo westworld

Lili Simmons (New Clementine)

On the show: Simmons plays New Clementine, Sarafyan's in-park replacement.
In real life: A model before hitting the screen beginning in 2010, the actress is best known for her work on the Cinemax series Banshee, but has also had recurring parts on Ray Donovan and Hawaii Five-0.

james landry hebert on hbo westworld

James Landry Hébert (Slim)

On the show: Hébert plays Slim Miller, the weaselly El Lazo henchman William and Logan rescue.
In real life:Looper, Gangster Squad, and Super 8 stand out among the actor's filmic accomplishments. On the small screen, the Louisianan made nice contributions to Mob City, Agent Carter, and the Taken TV series.

chris browning on hbo westworld

Chris Browning (Holden)

On the show: Browning plays Holden, a Sweetwater guide who functions a lot like a Teddy prototype.
In real life: This Nevada native has been racking up TV guest turns since the early '90s, popping up on series ranging from In Living Color and Matlock to Sons of Anarchy and Timeless. If Holden's period garb gives you déjà vu, it's because of Cowboys & Aliens.

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Sean Fitz-Gerald is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment and wants Luke to become the King Hemsworth. Find him on Twitter: @srkfitzgerald.