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#TBT: Leonardo Nam

The Westworld star shares the stories of two memorable red carpet moments—one with his mom, the other with Justin Timberlake

Fans of Westworld, HBO’s successful foray into science fiction, know Leonardo Nam as lab technician Felix. One of the show’s few humans, he spent season one fixing up the lifelike robots which populate Westworld, a Wild West-inspired theme park. Unfortunately for fans, after a season finale full of twists, turns and cliffhangers, it will likely be 2018 before the show returns.

In the meantime, though, Nam is keeping busy, filming a comedy film called Happy Anniversary for Netflix alongside Ben Schwartz from Parks and Recreation. He also made time to share a sweet snapshot from his past with DuJour.


What are you doing in this picture?

Well it’s with my mum, my darling mum. It’s at the premiere of my first movie, The Perfect Score. It really is a very pivotal moment in my life. It was the first movie that I had ever done. I was the lead in that and it had Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans. It really was a big, big moment for me as an actor. I’m from Australia and I came out to Hollywood to do it, so it was a wonderful moment.

I actually clearly remember seeing that movie in the theater. How did you get that role?

So this is a funny one. I was in New York studying drama at HB Studios, and I got cast in Shakespeare in the Park, which was a huge deal to me. I really, really respected what they did and wanted to be a part of that history and legend. It was Twelfth Night and I was spear carrier number two, but I didn’t care, I was so excited to be part of that. Then I got cast in The Perfect Score and I remember the casting director at the time, a lovely English lady, when I told her the situation, I came to her like, “This is devastating to me! I have to make a decision about whether I’m going to do this movie or not.” She looked at me like I was crazy. She was like, “No, this is such a good opportunity. You’re going to be the lead in this feature film, a studio film no less.” She set me straight.

Was there a reason you brought your mom as your date?

You know there was a part of me that needed to have a sense of acceptance and recognition that hey, I was doing okay. When I was in New York every time I spoke to my mom, I shit you not, she’d ask, “What am I going to say to architecture school? What should I do? Should I tell them you’re coming back next year?” I remember saying, “No. I’m not doing that, I’m doing this. This is where my passion is, this is where my world is.” It took a lot of balls to say that to someone that you know is in your corner and wants the best for you, so bringing her to the premiere really was a no brainer for me. This photo is so backstage, so private. It was literally just before stepping onto that first red carpet. So to capture that moment between us I think was special.

What did your mom think of Westworld?

She called me up and said “What’s Westworld?” I was like, “It’s a TV show I shot a while ago.” And she said people from church were asking her. She asked me how she could watch it, so I helped her download Westworld on iTunes. This is like a grandma, and I’m trying to help her to download iTunes. It took three hours to set up her account, I’m not even joking. I remember thinking the whole time, right, this is the reach that Westworld has. Even to this demographic. Over in Australia, people are really responding to it. The other thing is I was in India earlier this month and I’m in some random temple, way out there, and someone came up to me and said, “Oh, Westworld series.” I was like wow, this is another level.

Since that first premiere for The Perfect Score, what’s been your most memorable red carpet moment?

I was with Thandie [Newton] at the Variety Brunch for the nominees for SAG. She and I are there catching up, and there are all these photographers on us and we’re like, let’s go meet Justin Timberlake. And she knew him, so we’re running through the line and all these photographers’ flashes are going crazy and all we’re doing is saying, “Excuse me! This is Justin Timberlake!” He was so wonderful. Super funny, super charming. I just remember in that moment I thought, it’s so funny that people are taking photos of us but we’re pushing to meet this other guy. He goes, “I’ve been watching you at my house. We watch you and your show every week. We love what you’re doing.” I thought wow, he knows who I am. I said to him, “Well we dance to your music at my house.” We had a little dance together, it was great.