Thandie Newton refuses to be silent.
Among her targets were Amy Pascal, Tom Cruise and Hollywood’s overall systematic racism and misogyny. “I was surprised by the appreciation I had got,” Newton says on Wednesday’s episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast “The Big Ticket.” “I thought that I would be in trouble because that’s kind of what I’m used to.”
Newton’s revelations were met with applause and praise for “not drinking the Kool-Aid,” she says. “I just happened to be an older woman who has recognized that knowing the truth and speaking the truth has benefited me a hell of a lot more than being silenced or seeing people silenced around me.”
“And I have nothing to lose,” Newton continues. “I have nothing to lose because I could just then not get hired, which is kind of normal for people in my generation anyway. So I’ve got nothing to lose and I would rather go out using this moment…It’s not about confessionalism, it’s not even about my confessions. It’s about that this is the reality of what people face.”
While she has immense gratitude for her work on “Westworld” and all the adulation that comes with it, Newton says she’s an exception to Hollywood’s unwritten rules of discarding women — especially Black women — of a certain age.
“I’m a 47-year-old Black woman. I shouldn’t even be able to get a role [now]. It’s very unusual,” Newton says. “I feel like I’ve been in three generations of film and that’s not what usually happens. There’s such a quick turnover that people aren’t famous enough to reveal things and have people listen because once someone drops out of their fame, people aren’t going to pay attention. They’re not going to listen. I feel like in a way at the point when a lot of people drop out, ‘Westworld’ gave me another opportunity, which kept me, I guess, still relevant and current.”
Asked if she’s heard from Pascal or Cruise since the Vulture interview, Newton declines to comment, but says, “I felt solid the whole time, but I know that it made people frightened. Individuals were very frightened…It’s like how far back do you go?”
Newton has been nominated three times for an Emmy for her work as Maeve on “Westworld.” She went home with the trophy in 2018, but truly believes she doesn’t have a shot this time around because Meryl Streep (“Big Little Lies”) is nominated in the same category.
“Oh, come on — Meryl Streep!” she says. “All I’m going to say is f—ing Meryl Streep! She needs a whole award ceremony just for her!”
Newton also has an inspired idea of how to transform the Emmys into a fundraiser. As Variety‘s Michael Schneider first reported, the TV Academy plans to provide live cameras to all the nominees no matter where they are during the ceremony. However, Newton thinks everyone should pre-record an acceptance speech. “It’d be f—ing hilarious. Let’s entertain each other,” Newton says. “Oh, this is so good — get ready. So everyone has to agree that their prerecorded speeches will be shown and you can only watch them if you pay $5 and that $5 will go to a fund for people who don’t get to work on the Emmys when they would have normally worked.”
In other words, she wants everyone to accept the “surreality of this moment” and take a break from taking themselves too seriously for the good of unemployed gig workers.
Later in the conversation, which took place on Zoom from her home in London, Newton proves just how unseriously she could take herself by telling an unfiltered NSFW story of how the family’s teacup maltipoo Hazel likes to get intimate with a giant plush Dumbo toy her daughter Nico Parker received from Disney after the teen made her big-screen debut in the 2019 live-action film “Dumbo.”
“Hazel f—s Dumbo in the face about four times a day and all night,” Newton says. “The number of times I’ve wanted to take a movie of Hazel f—ing Dumbo’s head and put it on Instagram.”
Enjoying Hazel’s antics may be providing amusement during quarantine, but Newton is anxious to start shooting Season 4 of “Westworld.” She says producers are looking at “sometime next year” to resume production “if we manage to get through the winter without a real crisis.”
She adds, “I don’t think it’s a given but for me personally it’s a real light at the end of the tunnel if we could get there.”
You can listen to the full interview with Newton above. You can also find “The Big Ticket” at iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.