Westworld: 10 Thandiwe Newton projects to shake up

With the return of HBO’s highly anticipated fourth season Westworld, fan-favorite Maeve is back in full force. Maeve is played by Thandiwe Newton, who won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in the show’s second season.

Maeve, a former Westworld brothel madam, underwent a massive transformation throughout the series that allowed Newton to show off her versatility as an actress. For those who want to see more of Newton’s filmography, the following projects, which include Newton’s most memorable on-screen performances, are definitely worth watching.



Reminiscence falls into similar genre territory to HBO Westworld. In fact, the 2021 sci-fi thriller is written and directed by Lisa Joy, the co-creator of Westworld alongside Jonathan Nolan. Hugh Jackman plays Nick Bannister, a man who can access past memories in an effort to find a lost love.

Related: The 10 Best Reminiscence Characters

Newton plays Emily “Watts” Sanders, who helps Nick on his journey to find Mae (played by Rebecca Ferguson). Newton reunited with writer/director Lisa Joy on the project, which deals with addiction and trauma from an ambitious, futuristic sci-fi angle. As Westworld, Reminiscence explores human concepts in an abstract and stylized world.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Thandiwe Newton as Val in Solo A Star Wars Story

2018 by Ron Howard star wars anthology film follows in the footsteps of A thug. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, Alden Ehrenreich plays a young Han Solo who teams up with a gang and travels to a mining planet. Although Solo was not as successful as others star wars movies, it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. Otherwise, Solo has several quotable funny moments.

In SoloThandiwe Newton joins the star wars universe as Val, a criminal and wife of Beckett (played by Woody Harrelson). Her appearance in this film is quite limited, as Val is killed in the first part of the film. As always, however, Newton makes the most of his material and leaves a lasting impression.

The Chronicles of Riddick

In 2004, Thandiwe Newton joined David Twohy’s The Chronicles of Riddick franchise. The sequel to Twohy field black stars Vin Diesel as the title character, a runaway criminal who is emboldened to fight an army in hopes of wiping out the human race.

Related: 10 Ways The Riddick Chronicles Is The Best Pitch Black Sequel

The Chronicles of Riddick marks another Newton venture into the science fiction genre. Here she plays Dame Vaako, a Lady Macbeth-like figure who plots to ensure that her husband (Karl Urban) will replace Lord Marshal (Colm Feore). Although the film was poorly received, Newton imbues his supporting role with a complex inner life.


Thandiwe Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 2012

Newton was a member of the ensemble cast of the 2009 epic disaster film 2012. Director Roland Emmerich, best known for his epic action movies like independence day and Two days laterfollows these two projects with a similar doomsday scenario in which a series of world-ending natural disasters, from earthquakes to floods, threaten to destroy the Earth.

In 2012, Newton largely acts alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor and Danny Glover, the latter playing his father and the President of the United States. Besides being the first daughter, Newton’s character Laura is also an expert in the arts and is instrumental in the survival of the film’s central characters.


Thandiwe Newton as Condoleezza Rice in W.

Newton signed Oliver Stone’s biopic of President George W. Bush as former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Although W received mixed reviews, Stone’s portrayal of the former president was widely discussed, as the film was released before Bush’s second term even ended.

Thandiwe Newton’s physical transformation as Rice was compelling, although her role in the film was sadly limited as much of the story follows Bush’s career before his presidency. Still, Newton’s ability to transition from mainstream action films to high-profile political dramas is a rare feat that few performers can pull off on a regular basis in theaters.


This Jonathan Demme-directed 1998 adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel was divisive upon its release. With Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover, Beloved tells the story of a former slave who is visited by her reincarnated daughter.

Beloved was a breakout role for Thandiwe Newton, who played the title character. She’s a difficult character to portray, as she’s both a reincarnation of Sethe’s daughter (Winfrey) and a woman with dementia. Although Beloved did not perform well commercially, Newton received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

For girls of color

women kiss and bond at the end

Newton was part of the star-studded cast of Tyler Perry’s screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s choreography For girls of color. It was a difficult project to adapt to the screen, as the original piece is written in very abstract and theatrical verse poetry. It was also a notable departure for Tyler Perry as a filmmaker.

Related: 10 Best Tyler Perry Movie Characters Who Aren’t Madea

As in the play, each central female character represents a different color. Tangie, Newton’s character, represents the color orange. Alongside actresses like Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad, Thandiwe Newton delivers a bold and powerful performance. Her monologue in which she reflects that life as a black woman “is a metaphysical dilemma that I have yet to overcome” is a highlight of the film.

The pursuit of happiness

Thandiwe Newton and Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness

Most audiences will probably remember The pursuit of happiness as one of Will Smith’s finest films, starring his son, Jaden Smith. Based on the memoir of Chris Gardner, the film follows a single father who struggles with homelessness but eventually perseveres and becomes a successful stockbroker.

Will Smith earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for his performance, but the success of The pursuit of happiness also wouldn’t be possible without Thandiwe Newton’s role as Gardner’s wife, Linda. Linda could easily have been a caricature, but Newton imbued her character with an understandable layered frustration that suggested so much more beneath the surface.


Matt Dillon and Thandie Newton in Crash

One of the most controversial Best Picture Oscar winners was the 2005 drama Accident. The film has woven many intertwining stories about race relations in Los Angeles. Despite what some may consider the film’s most problematic elements, many of the film’s performances cannot be ignored.

Among the all-star cast, Thandiwe Newton becomes the emotional core of Accident as a woman sexually abused by a police officer and whose marriage falls apart as a result of the incident. Newton commands the screen and gives a fully realized performance in a script that feels complete despite only a few scenes from the film. Newton won the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress.

mission: impossible 2

Thandiwe Newton in Mission Impossible 2

One of Thandiwe Newton’s first forays into the action genre was his role opposite Tom Cruise in mission: impossible 2. Directed by John Woo, mission: impossible 2 follows Ethan Hunt (Cruise), who teams up with Nyah (Newton) to go undercover and stop a rogue agent from stealing a virus.

mission: impossible 2 is a great early indicator of Thandiwe Newton’s presence and confidence in the magnetic screen, which she has since brought to Maeve in Westworld. His ability to hold his own in fight sequences against one of the biggest action stars of all time makes Thandiwe Newton feel like he deserves a starring role in his own franchise.

NEXT: Every Mission Impossible Movie, Ranked By Rewatchability

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