Ah, the good ol’ days of the Wild West, when men were men and cowboys were homicidal robots played by Yul Brenner. First announced at the end of last year, HBO’s planned TV reboot of Michael Crichton’s classic sci-fi western Westworld is being spearheaded by Jonathan “brother of Christoper” Nolan and, ironically, JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions (BAD ROBOT, get it?), and it just got itself some big guns. And I’m not talking the Smith & Wesson kind.
According to Deadline, HBO has officially greenlit the pilot of the show, and have locked in Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins and two-time Golden Globe nominee Evan Rachel Wood to star, while James Marsden is apparently also circling it in some unspecified lead role.
Hopkins will play Dr. Robert Ford, the “brilliant, taciturn and complicated creative director, chief programmer and chairman of the board of Westworld” – the futuristic Western themed amusement park populated by life-like gunslinging robots, who in the original malfunction and try to kill the guests. Wood will play Dolores Abernathy, “the quintessential farm girl of the frontier West — who is about to discover that her entire idyllic existence is an elaborately constructed lie”.
I’m guessing that Marsden role would be the equivalent of Richard Benjamin’s in the original, as a normal everyman vacationer at the park who gets caught up in the mayhem and has to fight his way out. There’s no word yet on the casting for Gunslinger, the deadliest robot portrayed by Brenner in the original.
The show is said to be keeping the setting of the original movie, but I’m guessing it will be delving into some sci-fi existentialism as it’s described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” So expect the robots to not just malfunction and want to shoot people, but also to offer long soliloquies on how their AI gives them sentience and we should be considerate of their rights as intelligent lifeforms to blow holes in people with six-shooter revolvers.
Jonathan Nolan (who is also the creator of Persons of Interest) will be penning the script for the pilot with his writing and matrimonial partner Lisa Joy Nolan. He will also be directing the pilot, while executive producing the entire series alongside JJ Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk.
Last Updated: July 25, 2014