If there is one thing HBO knows how to do, it's how to make an epic hour of television. From Game of Thrones, to Oz, to The Wire, HBO's back-catalog has some stellar credentials. The latest show hoping to join the network's list of TV titans is the long-mooted reimagining of Michael Crichton's Westworld. The 1973 film trapped a group of innocent visitors in a theme park controlled by waxy robots gone wrong. You remember the episode of The Simpsons with Itchy & Scratchy Land? Yep, that's the one!
Coming from the brilliant minds of The Dark Knight's Jonathan Nolan and Star Trek's J.J. Abrams, Westworld is described as a "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin". Let's hope we'll all be 'waxing lyrical' when we (finally) visit the plains of Westworld! Whilst we clock-watch for the show's arrival, let's meet the Westworld cast and find out who is who in the Wild, Wild West of Westworld.
Dr. Robert Ford
Actor: Anthony Hopkins
Born: December 31, 1937 (age 78)
Seen in: Silence of the Lambs (1991), Hannibal (2001) Red Dragon (2002)
"Hello Clarice..." If you don't know Anthony Hopkins, then seriously, why are you here? Hopkins took over from Brian Cox to be canonized as Hannibal Lecter in the film version of Thomas Harris's cannibal books. Sir Anthony has also enjoyed a career spanning the likes of Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Mask of Zorro. More recently, he is recognized for his role as patriarchal Odin in Marvel's Thor franchise, but is also no stranger to the small screen.
Role in Westworld: Hopkins's character, Dr. Ford, is the Creative Director of the park, overseeing the running of everything until it inevitably goes wrong. You know that if Sir Ant is on board, the show must have promise!
Did you know?: Hopkins is a huge fan of comedian Tommy Cooper - so much so, that in 2008 he unveiled a state of Cooper in his home town of Caerphilly whilst wearing Cooper's trademark fez.
Chances of Survival: 1/10
Sorry, Ant, but it is curtains. John Hammond is about the only man who can build an evil theme park and make it out alive. Hopkins will have a short, but very sweet, cameo in Westworld.
Actress: Evan Rachel Wood
Born: September 7, 1987 (age 28)
Seen in: American Gothic (1995) The Wrestler (2008) True Blood (2009)
Starting life as a television child actress, Evan Rachel Wood made her leading lady film debut aged just nine in 1998's Digging to China. No stranger to the network, Wood also played the daughter of Kate Winslet in HBO's Mildred Pierce in 2011, where she was nominated for both a Golden Globe and Emmy for Best Supporting Actress. Can she repeat this success in Westworld?
Role in Westworld: Wood is heading up the Westworld cast in the role of Dolores Abernathy, the girl who realises that her entire life has been a lie. Drama is set to unfold as Dolores realizes she is the creation of the theme park's overlords!
Did you know?: A bit of a celebrity dater, Wood was married to Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell before divorcing him in 2014. Most interestingly, the actress previously dated Marilyn Manson, which attracted a LOT of media attention.
Chances of Survival: 10/10
What Bryce Dallas Howard was to Jurassic World, Evan Rachel Wood is to Westworld — we are pretty confident that she's isn't going anywhere. The marketing for the entire show has centred around Wood's discovery that she is actually an artificial lifeform. Framing the show from the P.O.V. of the creations is a unique selling point, but only time will tell if Wood can outrun the theme park's menaces in high heels!
She might be the odds-on favorite to make it out alive, but we doubt Dolores Abernathy will have an easy ride of it. The first teaser for Westworld showed our leading lady looking a little worse for wear, to say the least.
Actor: James Marsden
Born: September 18, 1973 (age 42)
Seen in: X-Men (2000) 30 Rock (2012) Anchorman 2 (2013)
As surly Cyclops in the first three X-Men films, Marsden was the guy we never got to mourn properly when he was unceremoniously axed at the start of 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand. Marsden did return to the role in Days of Future Past, but the damage had already been done! Marsden earned a Saturn Award nomination for his part in Brandon Routh's Superman disaster, but soon left his superhero streak behind. He broke into other genres to take on roles in the likes of Hairspray, Enchanted, and even scored a part as Tina Fey's boyfriend in the hilarious 30 Rock.
Role in Westworld: For Westworld it is back to leading man status, as Marsden is playing Teddy Flood, the town's newest gunslinger looking for love. It is sure to be bullets at sundown as Flood takes on the town's more infamous cowboy...The Gunslinger.
Did you know?: Claiming that he hates being 'the hot guy' (yeah right), Marsden's career also involved a stint in modelling. He may be slightly older now, but at one time Cyclops himself was a model for fashion powerhouse Versace.
Chances of Survival: 6/10
Teddy looks pretty safe, until you put him against The Gunslinger. Could HBO be pulling a Game of Thrones on us and kill off their leading man at the end of the first season?
Actor: Jeffrey Wright
Born: December 7, 1965 (age 50)
Seen in: Casino Royale (2006) Boardwalk Empire (2013) The Hunger Games (2014)
Wright took on the role of Felix Leiter, James Bond's ally, in the 2006 reboot of Casino Royale, continuing the role in Quantum of Solace. Whilst Wright was absent from Bond's two most recent outings, the C.I.A. agent is never far from trouble. Turning to a villainous role, Wright played the vindictive Dr. Valentin Narcisse in the final two series of HBO's prohibition-era romp Boardwalk Empire.
Role in Westworld: Wright again returns to the network to play Bernard Lowe, Westworld's head of programming and creator of life in the park - playing God is only going to get you burnt, Mr. Lowe!
Did you know?: As clever as his characters often are, Wright received a bachelor's degree in political science and was due to go into law. He attended New York University for two months, before dropping out to become a full-time actor.
Chances of Survival: 3/10
If Westworld goes all Jurassic Park on our assess, you can bet those bloodthirsty robots will be coming straight for Jeffrey Wright. If by some miracle Hopkins's patrons don't come for him first, then it looks like Wright could be heading 'Wright' out of the show.
- Everything We Know About 'Westworld,' HBO's New Killer Show
- Things Get Wild In The Mature Trailer For J.J. Abrams' New HBO Series 'Westworld'
- 'The Night Of' Is The New Thrill Of HBO's Sunday
Actress: Thandie Newton
Born: November 6, 1972 (age 43)
Seen in: Mission: Impossible II (2000) Crash (2004) RocknRolla (2008)
Thandie Newton's first role came after she began dating Australian film director John Duigan, who cast Newton in his film Flirting. Her next big break was as a slave in Brad Pitt's Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, alongside Tom Cruise. She would later team up with Cruise again to play the leading lady in the sequel to 1996's Mission: Impossible. Usually cast as the stunning heroine, Newton's highest accolade is winning a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Christine in Crash.
Role in Westworld: Newton will play Maeve, described as the beautiful and sharp madam of Westworld - the trailer certainly shows her getting in amongst the action all guns blazing.
Did you know?: An avid animal lover turned vegan, in 2014 Newton was named the UK's 'Sexiest Vegan' by PETA!
Chances of Survival: 5/10
Sure, she's a big name in the already all-star Westworld cast, but Newton doesn't receive top billing as Maeve, the town's Madam. The jury is out on whether she will make it to Season 2 or get caught in the crossfire.
Actor: Ed Harris
Born: November 28, 1950 (age 65)
Seen in: The Abyss (1989) Nixon (1995) Snowpiercer (2013)
A case of right place, wrong time, Harris is a three-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He garnered nominations in Apollo 13, The Truman Show and The Hours. Harris's sinister role as Minister Wilford in the 2013 version of French graphic novel Le Transperceneige (Snowpiercer).
Role in Westworld: A streak of mean roles proves that Harris has the chops to take on the iconic role of The Gunslinger, who causes havoc for the residents of Westworld. Be honest, The Gunslinger is the main reason we are all tuning in, right?
Did you know?: A bit of a Christian Bale, there is no messing around on set with Harris - notoriously business minded, it was long rumoured that Harris threw a chair at Marcia Gay Harden whilst filming Pollock. Last year he set the story straight with Variety:
I didn’t throw it at her...I smashed it on the ground. She wasn’t quite getting to the point that she needed to and we had a really good relationship and it just got her adrenaline flowing and helped her out a little bit.
Chances of Survival: 8/10
Yul Brynner left some pretty big cowboy boots to fill, but there is no way that Westworld will let its big bad bow out in the first act. If the show is a success, expect The Gunslinger to go full Terminator and just keep coming back.
HBO has already had one western winner with Deadwood, which ran for three seasons from 2004-2006. Westworld is tipped to be HBO's 'next big thing', and the robot-romp certainly has the scope to dominate the ratings. Whilst the internet is abuzz with the upcoming Prison Break revival, they should really be looking west! Westworld offers something completely new - the 1973 film spawned a maligned sequel, Futureworld, as well as a short-lived television series Beyond Westworld. Let's hope it is second time lucky for Westworld on our screens and that the show is more Deadwood than just 'dead' wood!
Are you excited for Westworld? Sound off below!