It is about bloody time! After waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more, new footage indicates that we might finally be about to see HBO's long delayed show Westworld. Based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film, the idea of Westworld was first pitched two years ago and due to be released at the start of this year. Delays and reshoots mean that it has been pushed back to an 'unspecified' date. Luckily an extended trailer of the sci-fi western aired at the ATX Television Festival on Saturday, and the reviews seem pretty impressive.
Whilst the footage still hasn't found its way online, if bullet riddled robots drinking milk is your thing, step on up. Luckily IGN have released a description of what the panel saw:
The sizzle reel opens with very picturesque landscape shots of what appears to be the Old West. Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores lives a romantic frontier life, riding horses and watching sunsets. "I choose to see the beauty, to believe that there's an order to the chaos, a purpose," she says, never questioning the nature of her existence - until we see a little boy tell her she's not real.
We then hear her say, "This world... I think there may be something wrong with it. Something hiding underneath."
From there, "Paint it Black" by the Rolling Stones plays, as we start shifting back and forth between the Western setting and the subterranean laboratory that runs the robotic works of the fake community, including Anthony Hopkins' Dr. Ford and Jeffrey Wright's Bernard Lowe, the head programmer of the unaware AIs that populate Westworld.
Violence is commonplace, as people are frequently shot (sometimes in the back) and Ed Harris' Man in Black kills a character played by Clifton Collins Jr. by slicing his throat from behind - much of this footage was quite visceral. The Man in Black also looks to stab and kill Thandie Newton's madame Maeve Millay, though several other images seem to suggest she may live beyond that point, making us question what constitutes a real death in Westworld, considering most of the inhabitants are sentient robots. Lowe informs Dr. Ford that there's a mistake in the current code for the robots, as Ford watches a gut-shot "cowboy" drinking milk, ignoring his injuries, and we see the milk pour out of the bloody, open stomach wound.
Dolores and Dr. Ford speak. She asks if they are very old friends. "No, I wouldn't say friends, Dolores," he says. "I wouldn't say that at all."
During the panel, Co-Creator Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) says that another of HBO's big shows was what inspired him to bring Westworld to the small screen:
It was actually Game of Thrones that made us feel like we could pull this off...We actually pitched this as making Days of Heaven and Alien simultaneously and then cutting them together. Game of Thrones was the inspiration for this. Thrones had this commitment to practical production value, which is not necessarily whats in vogue these days … [Westworld] had to have this big scope.
Starring Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Anthony Hopkins, the HBO reimagining promises to flip the premise of the original film on its head. Instead of the humans of the show being attacked by evil androids, the story picks up from the robot's perspective - being abused at the hands of their human creators. Nolan said:
There's a particularly hair-raising scene in the finale, which is about the contrast between artificial lives and those who are living. Compared to the original movie [which centered on guests being attacked by the out of control robots], for those who've seen it, our show is about the robots who do not realize they're in a fake western town. They think it's real. And so we finally, as the season was ending, had two of the actors turn around and say 'I'm trying to figure out what this is like, and it's f**king us! It's the actors and the writers.
As well as listing J.J. Abrams as an executive producer, the team also has Jonathan Nolan's other half, Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies), on board. Joy said that with a modern reimagining of Westworld, there also comes a meta element:
We have some great comic actors there. And the great part about having two genres in one is the disconnect between some romantic love scene playing out under this golden-hued sunset and then you'll have a clumsy tech, blundering about, doing some narcissistic s**t. We got to make fun of writers, we got to make fun of ourselves. There'd be these histrionic, dramatic creative tantrums going on below ground, while up above people would be getting shot and massacred, which is so much worse.
With STILL no release date for the show, Westworld is expected to air sometime during the fall schedule this year. You can check out the teaser trailer below and hope that there are no more 'malfunctions' with the long-awaited project.