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Fans of theme parks and artificial intelligence know that Westworld is the only place to get both of those tastes sated, and viewers may one day get their simulated kicks with HBO’s small screen adaptation of Michael Crichton’s original 1973 film. The Westworld pilot recently added a handful of talented stars to join the already cast Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood. Human stars, that is, including Jeffrey Wright, Rodrigo Santoro and Shannon Woodward.
For this iteration of Westworld, Hopkins stars as the park’s unorthodox founder, whose motivations are almost certainly all stemming from a deep dark pit in the ground. The park is meant to cater to every person’s whim, with impeccable androids performing acts of all kinds in the name of customer service. Wood plays Dolores, one of the A.I. bots whose constantly rebooting farm girl programming soon becomes more self-aware of her current sadism-filled situation. Let’s look at how these new stars fit into it all, according to TV Line.
The Emmy Award-winning Jeffrey Wright (Angels in America, the Hunger Games series) will play Bernard Lowe, the “brilliant and quixotic head of the park’s Programming Division.” He’s the guy responsible for creating the park’s synthetic beings, helped immensely by his observation skills, which in turn ensure his creations seem more natural. Since it’s HBO, we can expect a lot of weird sexual-but-fatherly looks at his droid children.
Shannon Woodward, star of Fox’s Raising Hope, will play a “rising star in the Programming Division.,” which appears to make her Lowe’s underling. As Elsie King, her role in the company is to identify and treat the behavioral ticks that develop in the robotic hosts. How can one treat sentience?
300: Rise of an Empire star Rodrigo Santoro takes on the role of Harlan Bell, the park’s “perennial ‘Most Wanted’ bandit.” He adapts to a more predatory way of life, believing the west to be a wild, wild place. He’ll be the non-corporate villain I guess, bringing the pain with his pleasure.
We have another brutal baddie, played by Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Hercules). Armistice is a fighter who is known for her outlaw loyalty and her lack of sympathy for her victims. Hopefully she gets a huge paddle as a prop.
Angela Sarafyan (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2) stars as the “perfectly beguiling” park attraction who knows just how to make visitors happy, turning her into quite the popular host. And why shouldn’t she be? Her name is Clementine Pennyfeather! I feel I haven’t lived until I’ve heard Anthony Hopkins say this name out loud.
Finally, The Devil Inside’s Simon Quarterman holds the brains behind the park attractions. As Lee Sizemore, he’ll play the narrative director of Westworld, creating the stories and dialogue that bring enjoyment and dread to the park’s guests. His wit and whimsy don’t go over well with his coworkers, however, so expect sparks to fly.
Westworld’s pilot was written by Jonathan Nolan (Memento) and Lisa Joy, and is executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk. It’s set to go into production (with Nolan directing) later this year after finding a few more cast members.