HBO is teaming up with Jonathan Nolan to write a new version of Michael Crichton's classic sci-fi Western & "Bad Disneyland" mash-up "Westworld", which will have the pilot produced by JJ Abrams.
HBO has only committed to a pilot but should it go to series, it would star Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins. Hopkins would be Dr. Robert Ford, (as described in the press notice) the "brilliant, taciturn and complicated creative director" of Westworld. Dr. Ford "has an uncompromising creative vision for the park — and unorthodox methods of achieving it." Sounds menacing enough! (It may be the type of role that wouldn't require him to be there for every episode.)
Meanwhile, Evan Rachel Wood will be a farm girl named Dolores Abernathy, "who is about to discover that her entire idyllic existence is an elaborately constructed lie." In other words? She's an android.
In other casting news for the pilot:
HBO has announced that James Marsden will play Teddy Flood, a new arrival to frontier town, while Eddie Rouse will play a Native American card dealer and smuggler.
Jeffrey Wright will play Bernard Lowe, "the brilliant and quixotic head of the park's programming division. His keen observation of human nature provides him with boundless inspiration for his life’s work — creating artificial people."
Rodrigo Santoro is set as "the terrifying and brutal (with a dark sense of humor) Harlan Bell, Westworld's perennial "most wanted" bandit. He subscribes to the theory that the West is a wild place, and the only way to survive is to embrace the role of predator."
Shannon Woodward is Elsie King, "a sardonic rising star in the programming division charged with diagnosing the odd quirks of behaviors in the park's hosts."
Ingrid Bolso Berdal will portray "Armistice, a savage fighter and brutal bandit whose ruthlessness with her victims is surpassed only by her abiding loyalty to her fellow outlaws."
Angela Sarafyan is set as "Clementine Pennyfeather, one of Westworld's most popular attractions: every aspect of Clementine is perfectly beguiling, by design." So she's the frontier whore, a pleasure-bot.
Simon Quarterman rounds out the new additions as "Lee Sizemore, the narrative director of Westworld, whose inspired storylines consistently delight or terrify the guests — and his artistic temperament consistently grates on his colleagues."
Unfortunately Yul Brynner is dead or it might have been fun to include a cameo from his cybernetic gunslinger. Perhaps Richard Benjamin might make an appearance as the older version of his character from that 1973 movie?
The press release also claimed that the potential series would be “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”
In 1980, there was a short-lived TV series that went beyond the confines of the movie, 'Beyond Westworld'. So far, I don't see any reason why all three properties - the movie, the TV series, and this new pilot - can't all be considered part of Earth Prime-Time. Any potential Zonk - say, a different name for the corporation behind the "amusement park" - can be easily splained away.
But I may be wrong.....
Looking forward to seeing the final product!