One of the most highly anticipated new series of 2016 is certainly HBO’s Westworld, which at one point we weren’t even sure we’d see at all this year. The ambitious sci-fi series hails from Jonathan Nolan, Lisa Joy, and J.J. Abrams, with Nolan and Joy serving as showrunners on a TV spin on the feature film of the same name, which revolved around theme park robots that malfunction and begin killing the guests. The TV series promises to be mighty different from the 1973 film, and it hasn’t been without its challenges. HBO halted production part way through the series so that Nolan and his team could catch up and ensure that they were putting their best creative foot forward, leading some to wonder if HBO’s next ambitious gamble was in trouble before it had even aired.
Production eventually resumed and the series is now moving swimmingly towards its Fall 2016 premiere date, and judging by the most recent trailer, it looks to be an incredibly dark and thoughtful piece of sci-fi that could potentially be a breakout hit for the network in the vein of Game of Thrones.
Collider’s own Christina Radish recently spoke with Westworld star Evan Rachel Wood at the press day for her new film Into the Forest, and during the course of their conversation, Wood spoke enthusiastically about Westworld, teasing that folks have no idea what they’re in for:
“I’m also tickled at how little people know. All the expectations and the guesses I’ve heard are not even in the ball park. So, I love that people are going to go in thinking it’s one thing, and being very surprised to find it another, in a good way. All of the action, and the Wild West West fun, crazy, HBO stuff is in there and it’s all amazing, but what separates the show is that it’s an existential drama. It’s an intellectual nightmare. It is all very much based in reality. A lot of the technologies that we’re exploring are stuff that we’re working at, right now. All of this is not that far away. It’s taking a look at humanity and the state that we’re in now and what would happen, if we kept on going the way that we’re going and we created this artificial intelligence. The only thing they have to work off of is what we show them, but then, if they advance and surpass us, what would be the biggest threat? We would. You should be scared. I’m scared. But I feel like maybe I’m going to be in with the robots because they’ll see the show and think I’m one of them. Honestly, we’ve had these talks on set about, ‘Maybe they’ll spare us because we’re going to be their heroes.’”
Wood added that the show has really gotten under her skin and will keep viewers on their toes from episode to episode:
“When I watch the show, it leaves me looking at the world around me in a new way. It really stays with you. And it’s one of those things that you have to figure out. You’re going to get little clues along the way, and every time you think you know what’s up, we’re going to flip it around. It’s going to take you for a really awesome, crazy ride, but it’s a really, really revolutionary character for women. There’s a lot of really fun stuff to look forward to.”
However, Wood didn’t know right away just how big of a role she plays in the scope of the series:
“It’s J.J. Abrams and Jonah Nolan and Lisa Joy, who are brilliant people, so I knew it was going to be amazing. The rest of the cast, including Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris, is amazing. But I still didn’t know, until about Episode 4 or 5, and that’s when I really understood what the show was and what character I was playing. I had to go off and have a mini panic attack because I realized what was on my shoulders and just how it was surpassing my expectations. It was such a bigger picture than what I thought it was.”
The actress seemed positively giddy about unveiling Westworld to audiences at large, and she said the entire cast feels like they’re a part of something truly special:
“It’s more of a revolution than a TV show. I don’t think people are going to expect it. They’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m excited. And everyone working on it, we’re all in agreement that it’s our Odyssey. We’re like, ‘This is going to be the one Everyone in the top of their fields is pouring everything they have into this, which is why it was such a massive undertaking and why filming was extended. It’s not because things are going badly. It’s because they’re so massive and it’s so complicated and we want to get it right. We’re not just phoning it in. We’re taking our time with it because it’s really important.”
Wood went on to say this is her favorite character that she’s ever played, and it’s clear from her comments here that the folks behind Westworld feel like they’ve got something really interesting on tap. And now, suddenly, the show’s premiere date feels that much further away.