Jonathan Nolan’s original script draft for Interstellar was more “out there” than the version that made it to the big screen under the direction of his brother, Christopher Nolan. J. Nolan will get his chance to explore his own crazy, thought-provoking, sci-fi world on the small screen next year with Westworld, the HBO series that he’s developing along with his wife, Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice), with Bad Robot heads J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk producing.
Westworld is a series adaptation of the 1973 western-flavored sci-fi film written and directed by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) and starring Yul Brenner. The plot revolves around a futuristic amusement park for adults, where artificially-intelligent robots act out whatever fantasy the various park guests can imagine (no matter how dangerous or twisted).
The cast of the Westworld TV series include Anthony Hopkins as the eponymous park’s creator, along with Ed Harris – playing a variation on the gun-slinging robot that Brenner portrayed back in the ’70s – and people such as Evan Rachel Wood (The Ides of March), Miranda Otto (the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) in other key roles. Joy described the series as follows, when interviewed by EW:
“It’s sci-fi but mashed-up with a Western. We get to look backward and forward.”
Jonathan Nolan, however, offered a somewhat more elaborate (and colorfully-worded) description of the series and its primary setting:
“It’s a place where you can be whoever you want to be and there are no consequences—no rules, no limitations. What happens in Westworld, stays in Westworld. What we can tell you is that we intend to make the most ambitious, subversive, f–ked-up television series. The things that keep you up at night, any of those things that trouble you—that is exactly what the show is about.”
The first (very brief) footage from Westworld can be glimpsed in the preview video at the top of this article; below, you’ll find the first screenshot from the show, depicting a futuristic cowgirl on the show in action.
Westworld, all things considered, is one of the more intriguing TV shows that will be debuting sometime in 2015. HBO currently doesn’t have a program that occupies the same genre niche(s) as this series, so direct competition shouldn’t be a problem. By traveling the cable route, J. Nolan and Lisa Joy will have the necessary budget, artistic freedom, and network support to realize their creative vision as they see fit over the course of, at least, one whole season (something like this year’s short-lived Abrams-backed Almost Human should’ve been as lucky).
Artificially-intelligent robots will be everywhere on the big screen next year (see: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator: Genisys, etc.), but the genre blending with Westworld ought to help it stand out more for the TV loving crowd. Not to mention, given what’s going on with A.I. in the present, an updated take on Crichton’s original feature could be all the more unsettling (like Nolan said).
Westworld will premiere on HBO in 2015.