The Highest Paid Cast Member on ‘Westworld’ May Surprise You

Westworld
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Now that Game of Thrones is over, it’s time for HBO subscribers to move onto their next obsession: Westworld. The sci-fi series’ third season premieres on March 15, and as the Westworld cast salary proves, this season will be anything but small.

Westworld became an immediate success when it premiered on HBO in 2016. The series, which stars Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden and Thandie Newton, takes place in a dystopian future where people hunt and kill human-like robots in a Wild Wild West-themed amusement park for fun—that is, until the robots turn on the humans and start mass-murdering them. The show, executive produced by Star Wars‘ J.J. Abrams, has been nominated for numerous Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. Newton won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress for her role as Maeve, a robot who outsmarts her engineers, in 2018.

After a two-year break, Westworld will return with season 3 on March 15. As expected, the series left off with some cliffhangers in the season 2 finale that fans hope will be answered in the upcoming season. But until then, let’s find out how much Westworld‘s main players make to star in one HBO’s most talked-about series.

Ed Harris 

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: $250,000 per episode

Harris stars as the Man in Black, a veteran Westworld guest on a mission to uncover the park’s innermost secrets. As an established actor (Harris is Oscar-nominated and starred in Apollo 13), Harris and Anthony Hopkins had the highest salaries of the Westworld cast at $175,000 per episode before season 3 negotiations, THR reported in 2016. However, THR reported in 2018 that Westworld‘s four main cast members—Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton—reached a deal to be paid the same amount for season 3: $250,000 per episode.

Evan Rachel Wood

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: $250,000 per episode

As one of the four main cast members, Wood makes $250,000 per episode for Westworld season 3. In a 2018 interview with The Wrap, Wood recalled the emotional moment she learned that she would be paid the same as her male costars for Westworld season 3. “I think I’m just now to the point where I’m getting paid the same as my male co-stars,” she said. “I was just told that, you know, ‘Hey you’re, you’re getting equal pay.’ And I was like [gasp]. And I almost got emotional. I was like, ‘I have never been paid the same as my male counterparts … Never, never.’” THR reported that, before the Westworld season 3 negotiations, the main cast was paid between $100,000 and $150,000 per episode. It’s unclear what Wood made for the first two seasons of the series, but it’s assumed that her salary was around the $100K mark given Harris and Hopkins’ $175,000 paychecks. For many fans, Wood is the face of Westworld as Dolores, the oldest host/robot of the park who comes to learn that her entire life is an elaborate lie.

Jeffrey Wright

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: $250,000 per episode

Wright is another main cast member on Westworld, which means that he’s also a part of the $250,000 per episode bracket for season 3. It’s unclear how much he made for the series’ first two seasons, but given that his other cast members made between $100,000 and $150,000 per episode (with the exceptions of Hopkins and Harris), it’s assumed that Wright was paid around $100,000 per episode before he and his costars negotiated to $250K per episode for season 3. Wright plays Bernard, the head of Westworld’s Programming Division, who learns that he’s also a robot.

Thandie Newton

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: $250,000 per episode

Newton is Westworld‘s only Emmy-winning cast member for her role as Maeve, a host whose old memories lead her to become the park’s most self-aware (and dangerous) robot. She’s also one of the four main actors included in the $250,000 per episode bracket for season 3. Like Wood and Wright, the actress’ salary for season 1 and 2 of the HBO series was likely around the $100,000 per episode mark. In a 2018 interview with Vanity Fair, Newton opened up about reaching pay parity with her male costars. “They’re all happening right now, and yeah, we’re all equal across the board,” she said at the time. “It’s really exciting. It’s unprecedented. It’s—goodness; it shatters so much calcified pain, resentment, frustration. It just shatters it.”

The actress even told Vanity Fair that planned to turn down any projects that paid her less or did have pay parity. “I wouldn’t do anything if it didn’t. Definitely not,” she said. “Fuck that. It literally sets a precedent, and [HBO is] leading the way, which is amazing.”

Anthony Hopkins

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: $175,000 per episode

Now, before fans become upset at how Anthony Hopkins could make less than the other Westworld actors, let us remind you that his character—Robert Ford, the cofounder of Westworld—died in season 2. It’s unclear if Hopkins will be in season 3, but before the upcoming season, his salary was $175,000 per episode, the same as Harris. Before the season 3 negotiations, Hopkins and Harris were the highest paid cast members on Westworld. It’s unclear if he will be in season 3 (if he is, we estimate that his paychecks are around $250,000 per episode, like the other cast members), but at the time he left the show, THR reported that he made a still-hefty salary of $175K per ep.

James Marsden

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: ~$100,000 per episode

THR reported in 2018 that Marsden and Tessa Thompson were a part of Westworld’s second tier cast, which means that they weren’t a part of the renegotiations for season 3. At the time, Marsden’s character’s fate on the show was unknown. As fans know, his character Teddy, a host who has a relationship with Dolores, died at the end of season 2. (Or at least his character in Marsden’s form died.) This means that Marsden likely won’t be in season 3. (Though you never know on Westworld.) It’s unclear how much the actor made for the series’ first two seasons, but it’s most likely around the $100,000 per episode mark (or less) given his second-tier status in the cast.

Tessa Thompson

Westworld Season 3

Image: HBO.

Salary: >$250,000 per episode

Thompson’s character, Charlotte Hale, also died in season 2, which means that she also wasn’t a part of the renegotiations for season 3. THR also reported that Thompson was part of the second tier cast, along with Marsden, so her salary for the first two seasons was likely less than the main four cast members. It’s unclear how much she made on season 1 and 2, but we estimate that it was around the $100,000 mark (or even less) due to what her higher tier costars make. As for Thompson’s status in season 3, the upcoming trailer shows the actress, though it’s clear that it’s not the same Charlotte we saw in season 2. (As fans remember, Dolores killed Charlotte and took over her identity.) It’s unclear how big of a role Thompson has in season 3 and if it’s large enough for her to qualify in the first tier cast, but we estimate that her new salary is less or around the $250,000 per episode mark.

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