HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Might Be Pushed to 2017 Over Showrunner Clash
If the ho-hum release of HBO’s Vinyl put a cap on the premium cable network’s difficulty launching a major hit in recent years, the well may run far deeper than we realized. HBO’s Westworld adaptation in particular may now end up pushed to 2017, reportedly owing to creative clashes with showrunner Jonathan Nolan.
The Hollywood Reporter filed an extensive piece on some of HBO’s non-starters in recent years, which apart from Vinyl and a few Westworld tidbits, also include the scrapped Codes of Conduct series from Steve McQueen, as well as David Fincher’s two abandoned series. On the Westworld front, where last we heard that a shutdown had delayed production until March, the premiere may now end up pushed to 2017.
Furthermore, it seems Jonathan Nolan wasn’t terribly fond of HBO’s influence within creative:
Initially produced with Warners’ TV production arm, HBO took back control after what sources call clashes with creator Jonathan Nolan, whose TV credit is the WBTV-produced Person of Interest on CBS. (HBO usually makes its own programming but works with Warners on The Leftovers.) 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.
Bizarre sex scandals aside, Bad Robot’s Westworld remakes the 1973 tale as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” Person of Interest creator and The Dark Knight co-writer Jonathan Nolan wrote the script with Burn Notice scribe Lisa Joy, with Nolan directing the pilot. Nolan and Joy will executive produce with Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk.
The new series employs among its cast Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, X-Men star James Marsden, The Hunger Games and Boardwalk Empire star Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Raising Hope lead Shannon Woodward, 300 star Rodrigo Santoro, Angela Sarafyan, Simon Quarterman, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Jimmi Simpson, and Clifton Collins, Jr. Some of the cast members playing androids (Marsden, Newton, Wood) may also end up killed off and brought back with a new personality, similar to how American Horror Story enables its cast to play different characters.
For those unfamiliar with the original 1973 Yul Brynner-James Brolin film, Westworld told the story of a future resort wherein guests pay to live out time period fantasies brought to life by sophisticated human-like androids, before the robots began malfunctioning and killing the resort’s crew. The film spawned the sequel Futureworld, and eventually the short-lived ‘80s TV series Beyond Westworld.
Check out the teaser again below, while we wait for updates.