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Some television trends, like dating competition shows, will never work for me, but I’m firmly behind any and all movie stars that want to make the trip to the small screen. It should surprise no one that HBO has lured big names such as Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins and the Emmy-nominated Evan Rachel Wood to its pilot re-imagining of Michael Crichton’s 1973 classic Westworld.
It should be noted that the pilot order itself is news, as HBO had previously only granted a pilot production commitment last year. This project comes not only from executive producer J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot, but from screenwriter Jonathan Nolan, who worked with his brother Christopher on such lauded films as The Prestige and The Dark Knight. He wrote this Westworld update with his wife Lisa Joy, who will also executive produce. The project can also tout producer Jerry Weintraub (Ocean’s Eleven, The Karate Kid) as part of its executive squad.
With such talent (and big wallets) behind the camera, it’s encouraging that we’ll get thesps like Hopkins and Wood onscreen. According to THR, the pilot’s logline reads as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” Robotic tiger rawr!
Hopkins will take on his first recurring non-miniseries TV role ever as Dr. Robert Ford, the genius madman who conceived, created and programmed everything in Westworld, an amusement park meant to appease humanity’s robot-whipping-and-sexing whimsies. He’s not someone you’d want watching your kids, but you might want to bring their broken toys to him. Wood, meanwhile, is one of the series’ leads, and she’ll play a western farm girl (robot) named Delores Abernathy who is completely unaware that her life is a digitized lie. Of course, that blissful ignorance won’t last long, as she will soon discover the truth behind her existence.
FilmDivider reported the other day that the network had set out its casting net, and James Marsden’s name was also in that mix as someone approahced for the male lead. Assuming their intel is legit, the male bot will be a quintessential adventure hero, whose love for Delores is never attained, as he is programmed to get killed daily by the park’s guests, allowing them to take control of her.
Not that the Westworld film was a beacon of sunshine, but you just know HBO is going to turn this story into the darkest allegory known to man and machine. With hits like The Leftovers and Game of Thrones serving as exercises in doom and gloom, a story about helpless robots performing endless sins isn't exactly a walk in the park.
Nolan is also set to direct the pilot, which will presumably go into production later this year.