If I’d have been able to attend this past weekend’s Comic-Con, I can assure you that of all the panels, Person of Interest wouldn’t have been at the top of my list. That would have been dumb on my part, because toward the end of that series discussion, writer/director Jonathan Nolan held a little surprise screening of another show he’s heading up: HBO’s next big thing, Westworld. And if you’re anything like me, just the sound of that word running through your brain sends the Skynet alerts a-tingling through your nerve-endings; I’ve been nursing those robot rampage fears for many, many years now.
We’re on the cusp, as you must realize by now, when just one technological advance in the wrong direction will kick off our impending doom. As we head into our virtual reality worlds, toward Westworld-ish fantasy vacations, I do hope you’ll remember all my warnings. Don’t be tempted, don’t give them your money, and whatever you do, don’t get yourself one of those newfangled Synths. But, enough about me; you came here for the HBO and the Hopkins or the Harris. After asking the audience to put away their cell phones, Nolan screened about 60 seconds of Westworld footage, described in detail by IGN and io9.
“The footage opens with a young woman sitting motionless in a chair, limbs a bit askew. A voice says ‘Bring her back online, as the camera slowly zooms in closer. By the time the scene ends, we’re watching a fly crawl across her eyeball while she remains motionless. The voice asks ‘Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality?’
Notable is the fact that Strauss’ Blue Danube Waltz plays throughout, indicative of its famous use in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.”
“We also catch a glimpse of a lab, where androids are being manufactured in gleaming chrome frames, while Anthony Hopkins intones, ‘You can’t play God without being acquainted with the devil.’ There are also moments — perhaps in the lab, perhaps in Futureworld — where people are being experimented on, and needles stabbed into their eyes, and other creepy stuff.”
If you’ve seen the original (well worth a watch; Yul Brynner!), you know the ***Film Spoiler!*** theme park androids malfunction and go after humans, but according to the Comic-Con attendees, it seems like the series will differ in that the AIs become self-aware, and aren’t happy with the way humans are treating them. (I for one, welcome my robot overlords! *wink*).
In addition to these details, HBO has released these new star-studded photos featuring Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden, Evan Rachel Woods, Jeffrey Wright and Thandie Newton. I won’t give away which actors are playing humans or AI, but if you’re dying to know, it’s easy enough information to uncover.
Finally, four new actors have been announced, along with character descriptions:
Replacing Miranda Otto, who departed for a role on Showtime’s Homeland: Sidse Babbett Knudsen (After the Wedding, Borgen) as Theresa Cullen, “Westworld’s terse operations leader, responsible for keeping the park from sliding into unscripted chaos.
Eion Bailey (Once Upon a Time, Ray Donovan, Fight Club) as Logan, a “louche bachelor and veteran Westworld guest. His hedonistic romp through Westworld is equally motivated by self-indulgence and a desire to help his friend, William.”
Jimmi Simpson (House of Cards, The Newsroom, It’s Always Sunny…) as William, a “reluctant first time visitor to Westworld, joining his friend, Logan. Initially dismissive of the park’s more lascivious attractions, he slowly uncovers a deeper meaning to the park’s narrative.”
Clifton Collins, Jr. (Pacific Rim, Knight of Cups, The Blacklist) as Lawrence, a “charming but lethal outlaw, with a knack for maneuvering and negotiating the various criminal elements of Westworld.” (via EW)
This is just a phenomenal cast, and with a Nolan behind the HBO wheel, I’ve got a feeling
we’re all going to die! everything’s coming up roses!
And if you missed it the first time around, here’s HBO’s extremely short HBO teaser:
Westworld debuts in 2016.