HBO to Remake ‘Westworld’ With Jonathan Nolan, J.J. Abrams

Westworld 1973 Remake

Jerry Weintraub shepherding adaptation of 1973 Yul Brynner cult classic with Bad Robot, WBTV

HBO has given a pilot production commitment to Bad Robot and Warner Bros. TV for a series adaptation of the 1973 Yul Brynner cult classic “Westworld,” to be written and helmed by Jonathan Nolan.

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.

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  1. Aysu Toprak says:

    Michael Crichton, who saw the future 40 years ago and made a science-fiction film, is in the face of cinematographers with his work WestWorld. A company plays the historic texture in a specially allocated area and places robots there. The rich come here for high wages and meet all their primitive needs. People who kill robots when they come to the place and make fun of them when they come to places are trapped after being conscious of robots.

  2. Nonya Biznez says:

    I have a difficult time thinking of anyone else playing a part that Yul Brynner founded. (I hated Chow Yun Fat in Anna & the King even though he was a more traditional Asian choice.) Brynner had a magnetism that very few stars of today have. He was pretty old in this film so much of his true sex appeal had worn off, but the magnetism was still there. Only real candidates: Samuel L. Jackson, Chuck Norris, Tom Selleck, Tommy Lee Jones. It’s got to be someone that all dudes fear / respect / wanna be. Personally, I liked the sequel, Future World better.

  3. Frank W says:

    Forget TV. Movie with Vin Diesel as the gunslinger/riddick

  4. Joe Smith says:

    Maybe we should get a petition together to try to limit JJ’s use of lens flare…

    • Dan Ivers says:

      John Knoll created “Knoll Light Factory” which is one of the best programs around for creating post-production lens flares. John Knoll is also the VFX supervisor at ILM in charge of the Star Films, as well as the “Generations” TV series.

      John Knoll wants to sell more copies of “Knoll Light Factory”, so he puts them into the productions he’s in charge of. We see them, we like them, we buy them. Then we ruin our productions by overusing them, in even worse ways than he does.

      Starting to understand how the Hollywood money machine works, now?

    • Johnnie says:

      Haha! What a great critique! You truly understand the creative process.
      The way you made a joke about lens flares shows how insightful and surprising you are.
      Brilliant, trenchant words. Would you like a job at a publication, writing more thoroughly about your views?

  5. Mjkbk says:

    Back in the 70s, I always looked at the original “Westworld” as the fantasy-fulfillment-vacation precursor of the “Fantasy Island” TV series.

    Dear GOD, please tell me THIS won’t be anything like THAT.

  6. Will Henry says:

    The Westworld robots concept has been surpassed by the reality of cloning. There were always logic problems with the robots as sex partners, weight being the most obvious one. But a robot still works as a gunfight victim. Cou can repair a robot where you can’t a clone. Such an amusement park should be a combination.
    I think the amusement park/resort concept is where they have to spend their time in a series and I think cable is the place as the nudity and violence has to be more then Club Med. But again reality has caught up to imagination as there are real sex resorts, with real humans, in many parts of the world today.

    • Johnnie says:

      Relax. It’s only a movie. “Weight being the most obvious one.”
      Get a life.

      • Will Henry says:

        Michael Chrichton, James Michener and Ian Fleming, all popular authors with multiple bestsellers and blockbuster movie adaptations, thought research was very important to their stories. Ian fleming said on multiple occasions, the more verifiable factual details you include the more willing the audience is to accept the small amount of fiction you have.

        And I have a life, I work for a website that lists and reviews sex resorts. Westworld for real, without all the violence.

  7. harry georgatos says:

    I’ll rather see WESTWORLD adapted as a dense, action thriller, theatrical movie instead of a cable tv series. It takes too much of a commitment to watch a completed tv series where audience can invest time in watching a 120 – 140 minute film with these type of sci-fi ideas concerning artificial-intelligence. A WESTWORLD remake for the big screen will make huge box-office if the elements of production come together for a theatrical release. These cable tv series are just too long and run longer then WAR AND PEACE!

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