The Cast & Creators of HBO’s Westworld Hit the Stage at NYCC, Keeping Secrets and Teasing a Season 2!
Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, Jimmi Simpson & Ben Barnes were at the Hammerstein Ballroom as part of the festivities of NYCC. In addition to chatting about the process of developing & filming the show, would we get spoilers? Nolan, Joy and the cast were pretty tight-lipped, but they did let some things drop!
Let’s first start by saying: You should be watching Westworld. It’s great sci-fi, cool premise, incredible production values… We could go on.
The one-hour drama series Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.
Think of it as an alt-Western with a sci-fi twist. So what’d we learn from the panel?
#1: Nolan and Joy are already breaking down Season 2.
Officially, HBO hasn’t renewed Westworld for season 2. Unofficially? The show’s posting good numbers, is getting great reviews and picking up buzz. Plus the production is pretty big and complex, so we aren’t surprised they’re already looking forward to season 2. When asked how they decided what to cut from the source material (both the film and books), Nolan let is slip that they’re already breaking down season 2.
#2: Looks like we’re all in the dark.
The hosts aren’t given the luxury of knowing how everything works immediately in Westworld, so the audience isn’t either (though Nolan and Joy promise we will get answers eventually). Well, much like the hosts and the audience, the cast is in the dark, too. They only gets the pages relevant to their characters, and many of them don’t share scenes and overlap storylines. While that’s just fine with Jimmi Simpson, castmate Ben Barnes “Found it infuriating.” And are we ever going to get any information about the man in black?? Looks like we’re gonna stay in the dark on that one for a little while longer.
#3: Jeffrey Wright does a mean impression of Anthony Hopkins.
Wright described Hopkins’ Ford as a cross between Walt Disney and Colonel Kurtz, the “Grandfather of the park & the science.” But picture the tension between Wright’s character Bernard and Ford like the tension between the old guard and the new. Bernard is “A bit more sensitive and empathetic toward the hosts,” and he’s clearly seeing their potential in terms of sentience. “Ford sees them as tools and that’s it…There’s a tension there we’ll explore as we go forward.”
#4: The influence of the gaming world is front and center.
First and foremost, loads of the camera work was done to mimic video games to remind the audience that we’re in a game. Nolan was also inspired by his love of the NPCs in Bioshock Infinite and spoke to the creators of Bio Shock about non-playable characters. It’s clear gaming had a lot of influence on Westworld. Nolan even talked Joy into playing video games with him as “research”. Joy said, “How happy was my husband to say, ‘Honey, it’s research, you have to play Red Dead Redemption with me.'” Ben Barnes even compared his character Logan’s Grand Theft Auto-like “mission of indulgence”. Any gamers out there notice these things from the first two episodes?
We’re really excited to see how the mystery unfolds on Westworld. Are you excited about the series?