Nearly a year ago, we got word that HBO was teaming up with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot production banner for a new adaptation of Westworld, the 1973 sci-fi film from author Michael Crichton which followed Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as vacationers at an adult-themed amusement park who are tormented by a malfunctioning robot modeled as a Western gunslinger, played by Yul Brynner.
Now the series – which will also reteam Abrams and Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk with “Person of Interest” creator Jonathan Nolan – is finally getting some traction, as THR reports Anthony Hopkins and Evan Rachel Wood have both been tapped to star in the series.
Hopkins will play Dr. Robert Ford, described as a “brilliant, taciturn and complicated creative director, chief programmer and chairman of the board of Westworld, who has an uncompromising creative vision for the park — and unorthodox methods of achieving it.” Meanwhile, Wood will co-star as Dolores Abernathy, “the quintessential farm girl of the frontier West — who is about to discover that her entire idyllic existence is an elaborately constructed lie.”
We know this is HBO, but those are some pretty impressive talent pick-ups for a TV series, especially since this is Hopkins’ first series regular role on TV. But then again, after “True Detective” being led by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, it’s not surprising. Cable television has been pulling tons of big screen talent to the flickering box with “Fargo” being another prime example of a stellar cast for a TV series. And with all the Emmy nominations those shows are getting, surely actors are taking notice of just the kind of high quality television programming out there lately.
Surely J.J. Abrams is a big draw, and a script from The Prestige and The Dark Knight scribe Jonathan Nolan (co-written with Lisa Joy) doesn’t hurt either. Plus, super producer Jerry Weintraub (Ocean’s 11) is executive producing, so there’s bound to be even more great talent added to the roster in the coming days. Here’s hoping they help the project get picked up to series.
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