Jonah Nolan & J.J. Abrams Plan Westworld Series For HBO

The robots are revolting again


In the last decade or so there have been several attempts to remake Michael Crichton’s 1973 cult sci-fi pic Westworld on the big screen, with Joel Silver taking a stab, Arnold Schwarzenegger considering starring and, in 2005, Tarsem Singh attached to direct. Now, genre titans Jonah Nolan and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot company have united to bring the story as a series to HBO.

It’s all thanks to producer Jerry Weintraub – himself a man of considerable influence – who has been driving the remake idea for years. It’s not yet known how closely the show’s plotline will mirror the original story, though we'd guess the basics will stay: holidaymakers at an amusement park for adults are menaced when the robot characters (particularly a gunslinger played by Yul Brynner) malfunction and turn homicidal.

As of right now, the US cable channel (home to Game Of Thrones and True Blood) has given the go-ahead for a pilot that Nolan will write with his wife, Lisa Joy, and direct. Abrams and Bryan Burk will produce the show, which means that Bad Robot is overseeing a show about, well, bad robots.

Nolan (brother of Christopher, and regular co-writer on the Dark Knight films) is a proven TV quantity after spending two seasons running successful drama Person Of Interest. It’ll be intriguing to see what they pull together, especially as Westworld's success has proved troublesome to replicate, judging by a dodgy sequel and an abortive original TV spin-off that aired in 1980.