J.J. Abrams Talks HBO ‘Westworld’ Troubles: ‘They’re Not Rushing It’
It’s been a long time coming for HBO to get its Westworld adaptation off the ground, longer still given the myriad of production difficulties that might see the Bad Robot-produced drama pushed to 2017. J.J. Abrams himself downplays any behind-the-scenes reports however, noting that the network and all involved want to make sure they get it right.
“Westworld is one of those things I’ve wanted to work on for so long,” Abrams told Fortune Magazine of the project, which was last said to be undergoing re-shoots. “I had a meeting probably 21 years ago with Michael Crichton [who wrote and directed the 1973 original film] about doing this. And it’s taken a long time to get this going.”
And while behind-the-scenes disagreements between HBO and producer Jonathan Nolan were said to be causing delays on an already-storied production, Abrams assures that it’s in the show’s best interest:
At the heart of Westworld is this story of consciousness and oppression and discovery. It’s one of the projects I feel most grateful and lucky to be a part of. What [the directorial team has] done is so stunning and cool and they’re not rushing it because of business matters and the network is giving them the time. That is never a bad move.
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.