In a new Hollywood Reporter article highlighting recent troubles over at HBO — including a disappointing ratings performance for Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger's mega-expensive rock 'n' roll drama Vinyl — Westworld, the sci-fi series that suspended production back in December so creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy could “get ahead of the writing,” is also cited as a factor behind the network's woes. Though the delay wasn't initially expected to push the series out of 2016 altogether, the THR piece indicates that things may be worse than we originally thought: not only is the series now potentially being pushed all the way into 2017, but they quote sources close to the production who claim HBO “took control” of the series after “clashes” with Nolan. From the article:
Nolan is said to be every bit as controlling as his filmmaker brother Chris. Sources say cuts came in slowly, scripts started running behind, and it became apparent that episodes already shot needed tweaks requiring additional filming. Since stopping production, HBO persuaded Nolan to “put aside his ego,” one source says, and has brought in two additional producers and two more writers. Production is set to resume in March.
Nolan himself downplays the alleged clashes, telling THR:
“Westworld is wildly ambitious – on the page and on set,” says Nolan. “In broadcast TV, it's been routine for us to write and shoot at the same time. This is a completely different animal. As we got closer to the final episodes, we realized we needed to take a break from shooting to catch up on writing. HBO and WBTV have been incredibly supportive throughout the process. It would have been literally impossible to make this show anywhere else.”
Billed as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin,” Westworld is set in the futuristic Wild West-themed amusement park of the title. It stars Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Anthony Hopkins, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright.
HBO declined to comment on this story.