HBO to Remake ‘Westworld’ With Jonathan Nolan, J.J. Abrams
Nolan and TV scribe Lisa Joy, who are married, are set to co-write the pilot script, with Nolan set to direct the pilot. Nolan and Joy will serve as exec producers with Bad Robot’s J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk and Jerry Weintraub. The original pic was written and directed by Michael Crichton.
The HBO rendition of “Westworld” is described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” The pilot production commitment is a big one by HBO’s standards, indicated the depth of the pay cabler’s interest in the project.
Weintraub has been trying to get a feature remake of “Westworld” off the ground for years — Arnold Schwarzenegger was attached at one point but had to bow out after he became governor of California in 2003. Weintraub has been busy at HBO in recent years, most recently fielding the successful Liberace telepic “Behind the Candelabra.”
Original “Westworld” also starred Richard Benjamin and James Brolin as vacationers at an adult-themed amusement park who are tormented by a robot modeled as a Western gunslinger, played by Brynner. A sequel with Brynner, Blythe Danner and Peter Fonda was released in 1976, while CBS tried a small screen spin on the concept, “Beyond Westworld,” that lasted three airings in March 1980.
Nolan is heading into his third season as exec producer and showrunner of the CBS drama series “Person of Interest,” also from Bad Robot and WBTV. On the film side, Nolan is working on the screenplay for Christopher Nolan’s upcoming “Interstellar.” The brothers previously teamed on the B.O. smashes “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Joy is also developing a drama project with Bryan Fuller for USA Network. Her past TV credits include Fuller’s “Pushing Daisies” and USA’s “Burn Notice.”
Bad Robot’s Kathy Lingg is on board “Westworld” as a co-exec producer; Athena Wickham will produce.