Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood will star in the pilot episode of Westworld, based on the 1973 movie starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin and James Brolin. J.J. Abrams and Jonah Nolan are serving as executive producers for the proposed HBO series.
Nolan, who has cowritten The Prestige, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar with his brother, director Christopher Nolan, also created the successful TV show Person of Interest. He has written the script for the Westworld pilot with his wife, Lisa Joy, herself a TV veteran (Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice) and will direct the episode.
Novelist Michael Crichton made his feature film debut as a writer and director with the original movie, which was set in an elaborate theme park for adults that featured three "worlds" (the Old West, ancient Rome and medievel Europe) populated by humanoid robots. Benjamin and Brolin played guests who visited the Old West, only to be hunted by a gunslinging robot (Yul Brynner) when things go very, very wrong.
Reportedly, the series will focus on the robots rather than the human guests. It's described as "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin." Wood will star as a "sassy farm girl" who may or may not be a robot. In a supporting role, Hopkins, who has never had a recurring role on television, will play the creator of the park. Still to be cast is the male lead, a robotic character opposite Wood. Choice roles for two villains -- another gunslinger and a wealthy guest -- are also up for grabs.
The movie was smart and entertaining. Advances in robotic technology over the past 40 years certainly opens up a lot of potential storylines, but it makes sense that the series will evidently begin in the Old West. HBO hasn't had a series set in the Old West since the much-missed Deadwood, which adds another intriguing factor to the mix.
We hope the pilot episode turns out well and that the series gets the green light for production. Having Anthony Hopkins around on a weekly TV show would certainly give us extra incentive to watch.
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