By Richard Epstein…
The creators and stars of HBO’s newest sensation were at NYCC to promote Westworld, the remake of the 1973 cult classic. On hand were creators/show-runners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (the two are married and expecting their first child) and actors Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Jimmi Simpson and Ben Barnes.
The panel started with a “sneak peak” screening of the second episode. I put “sneak peak” in quotes because the episode had actually been released early by HBO Digital due to the conflict with the presidential debates. After the episode was a brief teaser for the remainder of the first season, which certainly got the crowd excited. This was a little deeper than the one released after the episode aired Sunday night, with a couple of spoilers at the end of the article.
It should come as no surprise given the big ratings for the premier episode, but Nolan and Joy told the crowd that they are currently breaking Season 2 with the other writers.
Speaking of the writing, the actors were full of praise for Nolan and Joy. Of course, any time you see the actors on stage with the writers they will talk about how great the scripts are, but these actors seemed very sincere in their praise. Granted, they are great actors, but still. Newton, Wright and Simpson spoke of texting each other when they received each script, asking what different things will mean going forwards. Newton talked about how she can watch each episode multiple times, discovering new details on each watch. In this, they sounded exactly like fans on Reddit and other message boards after every episode. Barnes spoke of his frustration, as he wants to know everything ahead of time.
One thing the actors were all clear on is their faith in Nolan and Joy, that they all believe that the show runners have a definitive plan for the show. The actors spoke of their frustration with receiving scripts last minute, but were quick to clarify that they don’t blame Nolan and Joy; the quality of the scripts are worth it. Wright told the crowd that he’s lucky he shoots so many scenes with Anthony Hopkins. Wright, impersonating Hopkins, told the audience that Hopkins wants to read the script at least a hundred times before shooting. Wright said that if he is shooting with Hopkins he may get an entire weekend with the script before shooting.
One thing there was not a lot of in this panel was spoilers. The actors and Joy refused to answer any questions that may give away surprises, with all looking to Nolan before not answering. Apparently Nolan is not happy with people who give away his secrets. When it came to Ed Harris‘ Man in Black, mum was the word as nobody would talk about him at all for fear of inadvertently letting something slip.
Ok, now for the spoilers. They aren’t too major, but I warned you anwyay…
The boy we see with a family who later talks with Anthony Hopkins’ Ford? He’s a host. His face splits into quarters and opens to reveal his inner workings.
We will see a big cowboys v. indians scene, which makes it look like some form of the Odyssey on Red River storyline will make it into the park at some point.
No surprise here, but there will be more hosts turning on their creators, including a couple of Delos workers being killed.
And from the panel:
We will hear “These violent delights lead to violent ends” again. Although Nolan refused to confirm that this phrase is somehow transmitting the glitch, he didn’t deny it either and certainly seemed like he was evading the question.
Don’t count on seeing much more of Maeve and Evan Rachel Woods‘ Dolores together any time soon; Newton said she was barely on set with Woods.
Wright considers Ford to be a cross between Walt Disney and Apocalypse Now‘s Colonel Kurtz. Wright said that his character Bernard is more sensitive to the hosts, and we will see that Ford treats them as merely tools. This certainly surprised me, given the first time we see Ford he has revived a decommissioned host to have a conversation.
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