HBO has temporarily halted production on its long-gestating television adaptation of Westworld, claiming that writers/executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy need more time to fine tune the final four scripts for the series’ first season.
The project is closing down for two months so that Nolan and Joy can catch up on the final four scripts. Westworld was first ordered to series in November 2014, and fans got a first look video from the series back in August. The series was originally set to premiere during the last quarter of 2015, but was pushed to an unspecified date of 2016. Now with the halted production, that premiere is looking closer to early 2017.
HBO said in a statement that:
“As we head into the final phase of production on Westworld, we’ve made the decision to take a brief hiatus in order to get ahead of the writing.”
Westworld ran into some other trouble late last year when it was revealed that the production was requiring extras to be “fully nude and/or witness others fully nude and participate in graphic sexual situations.” The actors’ union SAG-AFTRA had to step in and make it known to all working participants could withdraw their consent to appear in scenes involving nudity and sexual situations at any time before these scenes are filmed, and that the it had to be a closed-set for those who were willing to participate. The series did end up resolving all issues with their cast, crew and unions and it looked like it was back on track.
Executives at HBO remain confident that Westworld, which counts J.J. Abrams among its many executive producers, will premiere this year. Production was scheduled to wrap in November, but they will now resume in March.
Like the original film, the series is a mash-up a theme-park setting and animatronics with science fiction and Western iconography. With a first look preview at Comic-Con last year, some of the 60+ actors include: Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Tessa Thompson, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ben Barnes, Jimmi Simpson, Clifton Collins, Jr., Simon Quarterman and Angela Sarafyan.
It hasn’t been a very fruitful time for HBO’s in-production projects. Back In August, they pulled the plug on David Fincher’s Utopia series, and recently Casey Affleck’s Lewis and Clark miniseries halted production over creative differences and other setbacks which caused them to start the writing process all over again.
Let’s hope we may one day see Westworld hit HBO. It sounds like it will see the light of day, we may just have to wait a little while longer.