Remember Westworld? It’s the new Jonathan Nolan show produced by J.J. Abrams that was supposed to debut on HBO later this year. Or maybe next year. The thing has been plagued by all kinds of rumors about costly reshoots, logistical issues, and filming sex scenes with real sex, but HBO has been steadfast in its support of the show, saying that the producers are merely trying to get Westworld right, and that they’re taking the extra time necessary to make it so. Now, Abrams has added his own voice to that line of defense saying in a new interview that it’s “never a bad move” for a project to take the time to get it right.
While talking to Fortune magazine (via /Film) at South by Southwest, Abrams affirmed that Westworld is going to be something special once Nolan and the team behind it have crafted it to perfection. “At the heart of Westworld is this story of consciousness and oppression and discovery,” said Abrams. “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 maters and the network is giving them the time. That is never a bad move.”
Creative struggles with series is nothing new to HBO. A recent example is David Fincher’s Videosynchrazy, or Living on Video, a comedy series about the music video industry in L.A. in the early 80s that the cable channel halted production on last summer. Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom also had several creative snags as it limped along its three season, including an entire episode that was written off in season two. And, of course, there’s David Milch’s Luck, which saw the death of one too many horses to be sustainable. So is Abrams in earnest when he talks about Westworld delays? Because he actually has a lot invest in the project personally.
“Westworld is one of those things I’ve wanted to work on for so long,” he said. “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 along time to get this going.”
In any event, some attendees of SXSW were able to get a brief look at the series, and Entertainment Weekly briefly described what they saw.
Even in the short sizzle reel, there a few things were clear about the mysterious series. First of all, the production quality is extremely high. HBO appears to have invested a lot of money in this Bad Robot project, and it looks incredible. Secondly, Evan Rachel Wood’s character, Dolores Abernathy, has a central thematic role, as someone whose authenticity is questioned by a young boy visiting Westworld.
But while there’s no word about when we might see Westworld, we did finally get word on when we might finally see the fifth season of the last Abrams/Nolan joint Person of Interest, and bad news Machineheads, the fifth season is also going to be the last. CBS will burn off the final 13 episodes by airing them Monday and Tuesday nights at 10 pm starting on May 3.
“We’re extremely excited to be able share this final season with the fans,” said Nolan and his co-executive producer Greg Plageman in a statement posted on Deadline. “We’re eternally grateful to our amazing cast and crew, as well as our partners at the studio and network. Most of all, we want to thank the show’s fans — the best fans in the world. This subversive little paranoia-inducing cyberpunk-thriller is for you and would not have been possible without your support. As life has come to imitate Person of Interest, it’s been our great privilege to work on the show for the past five seasons. We can’t wait for you to experience this thrilling and final chapter.”
Westworld, meanwhile, remains unscheduled.