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HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Shuts Down Production, Still Targeting 2016 Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)

Production has been temporarily shut down on HBO’s highly anticipated drama “Westworld,” sources tell Variety.

The ambitious project, which doesn’t have an official premiere date, was shuttered for two months so executive producers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy can catch up on the final four scripts. Sources say the California-based production, which was originally scheduled to wrap in November, is now set to resume in March.

“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,” said HBO in a statement.

Sources tell Variety the shutdown is temporary and that HBO is confident that the series will make its targeted premiere date. HBO has yet to specify a date beyond saying it will air in 2016.

The one-hour drama, inspired by the 1973 film starring Yul Brynner, is described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” The series stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden and Thandie Newton.

When “Westworld” was first ordered to series in November 2014 (the pilot was greenlit in 2013), HBO was targeting a 2015 premiere date, which it promoted with several Vines:

The production has faced earlier questions about graphic sex scenes, when background actors employed on the production were required to sign a document agreeing to possibly “perform genital-to-genital touching.” HBO issued a statement placing blame on an external casting agency, and resolved the issue with SAG-AFTRA by revising the document.

The project hails from Warner Bros. TV, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and Jerry Weintraub Productions. Abrams and Bryan Burk also executive produce.

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