Jonathan Nolan may be better known for penning screenplays like The Dark Knight, The Prestige and Interstellar, but he’s been doing damn fine work on TV too as the creator and showrunner for Person of Interest. A series monstrously overlooked, likely because it’s on CBS (where the dishonored go when they die), POI deal serious with issues involving privacy, the surveillance state and artificial intelligence in ways that big screen movies like Transcendence and Chappie only wish they could. Well, Nolan’s getting a broader pallet to explore these issues in a new series called Westworld for HBO. The show’s been delayed until 2016, but San Diego Comic Con gave us a good, long initial look at the show.
The series is based on the 1973 Michael Crichton (yes, Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton) film about a western themed amusement park filled with robot cowboys – led by legendary actor Yul Brynner – who break down and run amok. Clearly, Crichton had a thing about futuristic parks self-destructing from their own hubris. Nolan’s reimagining, according to HBO, will be “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”
The all-star cast of the new Westworld includes Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jeffery Wright, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Wood, and Thandie Newton. Hopkins plays the man that runs Westworld, while Wright plays the many that created the robot – or “artificial person” – technology, with Marsden, Wood and Newton playing inhabitants of the park. Sidse Babbett Knudsen, Eion Bailey, Jimmi Simpson and Clifton Collins Jr. round out the cast. Ed Harris will play the imposing gunslinger, the part that Brynner played in the ’73 film.
The show was initially supposed to premiere this year, but HBO delayed the premiere in order to insure the high-quality of the pilot was matched in the rest of the series. From the look of some of these stills, I’d say that looks like mission: accomplished.
Westworld will air sometime later next year on HBO.