HBO has picked up its star-studded “Westworld” pilot to series, an entirely unsurprising development given the creative talent on both sides of the camera.
“Inspired by” the 1973 film from writer-director Michael Crichton, HBO's “Westworld” was written and directed by “Person of Interest” creator Jonathan Nolan, co-written by Lisa Joy and will be executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk and Jerry Weintraub.
The deceptively simple logline for the one-hour says, “Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”
The original, of course, focused on an American West-themed amusement park sometime in the near future. The park is populated by androids programmed to serve and entertain the guests. The androids begin going haywire due to a mechanical virus of some sort and robot-on-human violence ensues.
Back in July at the Television Critics Association press tour, HBO's Michael Lombardo shied away from direct comparisons between the properties.
“How similar to the film? It”s similar only in construct,” Lombardo said. “Obviously, it takes place with sometime in the unspecified future with a in an amusement park populated by robots. Beyond that, I think it”s its own thing, and [what] Jonah and Lisa have done on the script is one of the more exciting scripts we”ve read in a very, very long time. So I think there”s no Yul Brynner in tonally it”s very different. At the same time, it has some of the elements, the basic elements that make the idea of it really exciting.”
The star-studded “Westworld” cast includes Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Miranda Otto, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Angela Sarafyan and Simon Quarterman.
The “Westworld” pickup has long been considered something of a foregone conclusion both because of the creative clout, but also because of HBO's need for high profile dramas with “True Blood” over, “Boardwalk Empire” concluding its run last month, “Newsroom” ending in December and “True Detective” unlikely to return before winter. It's unclear if “Westworld” will be ready for fall or if it will wait and be paired with “True Detective” in 4th Quarter 2015 or whether HBO has alternate plans of some sort. All we know so far is “2015.”
HBO teased the pickup with a pair of tantalizing Vines: