Ed Harris Set as WESTWORLD Villain; James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright, and More Join HBO Pilot

     August 11, 2014


The HBO pilot Westworld is coming together quite nicely.  Person of Interest creator and The Dark Knight screenwriter Jonathan Nolan is spearheading the adaptation of writer/director Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi film of the same name, which revolved around a malfunctioning Wild West robot at a futuristic adult amusement park.  Anthony Hopkins is already set to lead the potential series as the creator of the park with Evan Rachel Wood co-starring as a “sassy farm girl”, and now THR reports that Ed Harris has signed on to play the show’s primary antagonist, The Man in Black.  The character is described as “the distillation of pure villainy into one man.”  Hit the jump for more on the latest Bad Robot series, including further casting.

In addition to Harris, THR also reports that Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, and Kyle Bornheimer will fill out the stellar cast of the Westworld pilot.  J.J. Abrams is executive producing the potential series alongside Bryan Burk and Jerry Weintraub, while Nolan, who co-wrote the pilot with Lisa Joy, will direct and presumably act as showrunner should HBO move the show forward to series.

This is one of the more exciting pilots that HBO has put forward in some time, but it’s important to remember that the pay cable network is extremely picky when it comes to ordering pilots to series.  Noah Baumbach wrote and directed a pilot adaptation of The Corrections a couple of years ago with a star-studded cast that included Ewan McGregor, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Chris Cooper, only to see HBO ultimately pass on picking up the pilot to series.  The pedigree involved in Westworld is indeed strong and one imagines the show could act as a strong companion series to HBO’s breakout genre hit Game of Thrones given its sci-fi leanings, so hopefully this one moves forward smoothly.