HBO's Westworld Might Just Be Your New Game Of Thrones
Sex, violence, robots—here's everything you need to know about the upcoming sci-fi western series.
BY Whitney Friedlander | Aug 1, 2016 | Film & TV
HBO broke the Internet when it announced that it was adapting a TV version of Michael Crichton's 1973 sci-fi Western Westworld—especially since executive producers included JJ Abrams and Jonathan Nolan.
But as tales of production delays circulated, viewers wondered if they would ever see a serialised version of the story about an artificial intelligence theme park where those with enough cash can act out their wildest fantasies. At the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, California, HBO confirmed that the 10-episode series will premiere on October 2.
While we've known for a while that there will be no shortage of nudity in the series, it was also learned that Westworld may also compete with Game of Thrones in the sexual violence category. But, because this is HBO, it will be done tastefully.
"[Sexism and violence were] definitely heavily discussed when we were working on those scenes," says Westworld executive producer Lisa Joy. "Westworld is an examination of human nature: the best parts of human nature… but also, violence, sexual violence have sadly been a fact of human history since the beginning of human history. There's something about us—thankfully, not the majority of us—but there are people who engage in violence to this day. So when we were attacking a project about a park that says you can come there and do whatever you want without consequence, it seemed like an issue that we had to address."
She added that the story is "not the fetishisation of those acts. It's about exploring the crime and establishing the crime and the torment of the characters within the story—and exploring those stories with indignity and death."
Here are more details about the TV reboot, which stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, and James Marsden.
This soundtrack will rock.
"Our show is at least at least two genres in one show," says executive producer Jonathan Nolan. "One of the advantages of making a synthetic Western set in the future is that we get to play with contemporary music. My brother never wanted to put it in any of his films, so I had this pent-up appetite for 10 years."
The show will explore something deeper than violence.
"The show is questioning where does life begin, in essence; what characterises the importance of life?" says Joy. "
Details on what planet—and how far in the future—the show is set are slim.
Nolan offered the vague answer that "In that great HBO tradition, we're able to explore different points of view in the show. We very much want the viewers to be asking those questions."
Nowadays, Artificial Intelligence is not really science-fiction; it's science fact.
Artificial Intelligence also gets a different look in the series.
"In the original [movie], Crichton was such a genius that he was able to imagine these far-flung events," says Joy. "But nowadays, it's not really science-fiction; it's science fact. In Silicon Valley, they're working on creating an Artificial Intelligence machine… we have the benefit of having a little more insight into what that scientific process will look at. In looking at the series, our approach to the AI was a little bit more nuanced… and there is always the possibility of human error."
The AI characters get a bigger role.
"We've seen traditional Westerns and they're always approached from the same point of view and the original Westworld approaches it from that point of view [i.e. from the humans' perspective]," says Joy. "This is an examination of human nature from within and also, from without. We wanted to ground it in point of view of the host. We wanted to make a connection with them so that they can be fully personified and fully realised."
Nolan says the experience of the guests of the park is the third point-of-view of the show. But it's not going to be Fantasy Island.
"Human beings are invited into a space in which they've been told they have free reign… they an indulge in any whim, however noble or dark they want apparently without consequence," he says. "That's a fascinating premise."
He adds that idea of using stunt casting for the guests to the park is "the broadcast version of the show."
From: Esquire US