Combine the obsessive detail of Disneyland, the populated virtual immersion of World of Warcraft, and the sinful catering of Las Vegas and you’re still nowhere close to the anything-goes theme park in HBO’s new sci-fi series Westworld.
Based on visionary author Michael Crichton’s classic 1973 film about androids run amuck in a high-tech tourist destination, the show’s producers—including Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek), Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk —have lured marquee stars (Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, and Ed Harris) with a dark look at the consequences of our exponentially advancing technology.
“It’s a place where you can be whoever you want to be and there are no consequences—no rules, no limitations,” Nolan says. “What happens in Westworld, stays in Westworld.” Including the plot: Details remain under wraps, but expect Hopkins to play the park’s brilliant creative visionary and Harris to portray a twist on the killer robot gunslinger made famous in the film by Yul Brynner..
“It’s sci-fi but mashed-up with a Western,” says co-creator Lisa Joy. “We get to look backward and forward.” But not as far forward as you might think—the future- shock ideas in the script are largely based on technology that is rapidly becoming more science than fiction.
“What we can tell you is that we intend to make the most ambitious, subversive, f–ked-up television series,” says Nolan. “The things that keep you up at night, any of those things that trouble you—that is exactly what the show is about.”
For more, check out EW’s annual forecast issue giving you the scoop on all of 2015’s hot projects: