Hey guys, Jana here,
‘True Detective‘ set the bar higher than normal by casting the brilliant Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. HBO has now turned it’s eye to ‘Westworld‘ hoping it will turn out to be as irresistible as ‘True Detective‘. HBO has won a pretty big prize in locking Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood for the primary positions. Writer-Director Michael Crichton made the original ‘Westworld‘ in 1973, Yul Brynner, James Brolin, Dick Van Patten – Yeah, it was a whole thing.
If you don’t remember the story, let me sum it up. It focuses on an amusement park for rich vacationers and the future of sin. The park provides its customers a way to live out their fantasies through the use of robots that provide anything they want. Two of the vacationers choose a wild west adventure. However, after a computer breakdown, they find that they are now being stalked by a rogue robot gun-slinger. New technology makes way for an updated version, none other than the reigning king of re-makes, J.J. Abrams has decided to attach his ‘Bad Robot‘ banner to this latest rendition. Seriously….a movie about robots being backed by ‘Bad Robot‘. Gotta love the wordplay!
Abrams is working with ‘Person of Interest‘ creator Jonathan Nolan, writer Lisa Joy Nolan and producer Jerry Weintraub and Warner Bros. TV. The Nolans, wrote the script and Jonathan Nolan is set to direct. HBO acquired the project last year and made a huge commitment by HBO’s standards. a pilot production and has now officially been given the go to pilot with Hopkins and Wood.
Hopkins (‘Silence of the Lambs‘) has his debut performance on a TV Series. Crazy, right? He’s done some TV Mini-series and was a part of a few episodes of a show that aired on BBC but this is his first commitment to a lead role in a TV series. He will play Dr. Robert Ford, chairman of the board of Westworld, basically he’s a our genius that creates and protects his dream at all costs.
Evan Rachel Wood is a younger actress, but she’s jumped in with both feet and the entertainment world made way for her immediately. I didn’t even know her name, but she was perfect for Nicole Kidman’s younger self in ‘Practical Magic‘. After I saw her in ‘Across the Universe‘, I made sure to remember her name. In this venture, she’s cast as the provincial, beautiful, kind Dolores Abernathy. She’s in a Truman Burbank role (Jim Carrey’s ‘The Truman Show’). Abernathy is going to learn that her quaint western frontier existence is a convoluted lie. Wood is no stranger to HBO, she played Queen Sophie Anne in ‘True Blood‘ and co-starred in the miniseries ‘Mildred Pierce‘.
The cast is already stellar with Hopkins and Wood, but James Marsden is in talks for a leading role. James Marsden can wear a lot of different hats when it comes to acting. Not only can he play the gets-pushed-over-the-edge- guy like in ‘Straw Dogs‘, He can sing and dance like we saw in ‘Hairspray‘, He can play a straight up crazy like in ‘Death at a Funeral‘.
Talking about James Marsden gives me the minute to give you the details on a one of the movies of his I mentioned. ‘Straw Dogs‘ is a remake of a 1971 version that starred Dustin Hoffman. This is one of the most violent roles Hoffman ever accepted and he admitted he only did it for the money. Marsden plays David Sumner an LA script writer that moves with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. Things go as you would expect for an outsider trying to fit into an element he is clearly not a part of. His wife’s ex-boyfriend proves to be still a bit hung-up on her and Sumner tries to diffuse any tension by hiring the ex (played by Alexander Skarsgard. Things go from tense to sizzling and it all leads up to Sumner eschewing his dislike of violence and things get outright bloody. It’s really an excellent role and Marsden pulls it off excellently. Seriously worth a look if you haven’t seen it.