When you hear that a classic film or TV show is being reworked, your initial reaction is usually a groan, or at least a half-hearted, “Why?” We’re often in same boat, skepticism wise (we could get into the “Why can’t Hollywood just make a new movie” debate, but that’s been done to death and is just a fact of the world we live in), but one that we’re actually pretty jazzed about is the upcoming Westworld revamp, which just got picked up by HBO.
For all of the fantastic programs the premium cable channel has on its dockets, they’ve never really done much in the way of science fiction. And given their track record of late, what with shows like Game of Thrones and True Detective, this is an enticing proposition. Yesterday, the network released this photo, as well as a series of twitchy videos via Vine and Twitter.
— HBO (@HBO) November 17, 2014
An update of Michael Crichton’s 1973 film, Westworld centers on an amusement park where tourists can go live out their wild west fantasies, including “killing” a collection of robots that can then be revived and reset with new personalities and characteristics. One difference between the series and the movie is that, while the film focused on the human side of things, the show will place more of an emphasis on the robots, exploring themes of artificial intelligence, what it means to really be alive, and all of the things that usually go along with this kind of story.
Thus far, they’ve put together one hell of an impressive cast, including 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. Wood plays Delores, a robot who figures out what and where she is, and how messed up this place is, while Marsden plays her love interest, Teddy, a robotic gunslinger. In a drastic shift for the legendary actor, Hopkins stars at Dr. Robert Ford, the creator of the park, while Harris is the mysterious villain the Man in Black.
And the team behind the cameras on Westworld is just as imposing. Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher and co-writer of movies like The Dark Knight and Interstellar, serves as creator, writer, director, and executive producer. He may also have handled the craft services, we don’t know for sure. (Nolan is also working with HBO to adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation.) Jerry Weintraub, and J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk of Bad Robot, are also on board in an executive producer capacity.
HBO certainly seems to think they have something special on their hands with Westworld, as they’re reportedly signing the ensemble cast to multi-year deals. They clearly expect this to be around for a while, and the pieces for something spectacular are definitely in place. And there are sexy robots, which is always a bonus.
Westworld drops sometime in 2015. Will you be watching?