Talk about a good morning!
“It’s so funny — I try not to work myself up about these things because the anticipation will just kill you, so I didn’t realize it was today,” Wood, who was nominated for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for her portrayal of Dolores on Westworld, tells PEOPLE.
“So you get woken up by phone calls and texts, and it’s the best way to wake up,” she says. “It’s almost better when it’s a surprise!”
And who was the the first to reach out and congratulate her?
The hit HBO series tied with NBC’s Saturday Night Live for the most nominations this year, earning 22 each. A remake of the 1973 film of the same name, Westworld takes place in a futuristic pleasure park where men pay to interact with 3D-printed robots — many of them female — built to do their bidding.
“I’m just so proud,” says Wood. “I love this show so much — it’s the best job I’ve ever had. It was really a once in a lifetime gig. The fact that people are loving it as much as we do is the best feeling.”
“It’s really making people think and figure things out and ask questions,” she continues. “Anything that engages an audience like that, I think is a real rare treat.”
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The series, Wood says, is essentially a “perfect storm.”
“It’s the perfect marriage of a really large show — the scale of it, the action, the production value, the cinematography … it’s beautiful to look at and completely enthralling and exciting,” she says. “Then the writing and the reasons for it are so deep and the scenes are so profound. The performances on top of that — it’s got everything.”
“They also did an amazing job with casting — everybody that’s on the show is just so perfect in these roles,” she adds. “We all care about the show so much. Building this world and setting the tone on season 1, there was responsibility on everyone’s shoulders — but everyone delivered.”
It wasn’t easy to portray an artificial being — especially because they “really didn’t want anything to be hokey,” explains Wood. “We wanted it to be incredibly realistic and an honest glimpse at what this world could be like.”
“So finding certain mannerisms that are going to read as artificial but still don’t seem over-the-top, that was a challenge,” she admits. “But I think we all found a really amazing flow and invented a style for the show.”
And as for the nudity, Wood says they made a point to keep it “very sterile.”
“Even when you’re naked on that show, it’s almost like you’re a mannequin,” she says. “It’s very dehumanizing.”
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Wood, who has spoken publicly about two sexual assaults she herself experienced, also admits the frequent brutality and sexual abuse her character Dolores suffered was more “emotional” than she had anticipated.
“Everything that Dolores goes through — the years of abuse and trauma and beyond that, just the terrifying realization she has about the world around her and about herself — all of that was really challenging and really intense,” she says. “But then to have the amazing payoff of her taking control of her life, the phoenix rising out of the ashes, it was just such an epic arc in character.”
So how does the actress plan on celebrating? She doesn’t have any plans just yet, but admits she would love to see some of her costars.
“Everyone’s really excited,” she says. “Honestly, the best way to celebrate is just to get back in and start filming season 2. That’s going to be the biggest party for me!”
As for when might that be, “very soon,” promises Wood. “Very soon!”
A premiere date for Westworld season 2 has not yet been announced. The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will air live on CBS from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sept. 17.