It has seemingly had a troubled gestation, but that’s because HBO’s “Westworld” is so much of a challenge says the show’s executive producer and show runner Jonathan Nolan.
Nolan, no stranger to complicated lavish productions such as co-writing and producing many of his brother Chris Nolan’s films like his “Dark Knight” trilogy and “Inception,” has done a lengthy interview with io9 and says nothing he’s done – not even the demanding schedule of a CBS procedural like “Person of Interest” which he created – quite compares to this series:
“Nothing that I have done prepared me for the sheer avalanche [of production requirements]. The truth is, what we’re doing there is a 10-hour movie. It’s not really a TV series. When they say ‘It’s not TV, it’s HBO,’ they’re really not kidding.
We’re doing a period Western, and a science fiction [movie]. Basically, we’re shooting Alien, Days of Heaven and Unforgiven simultaneously, and then cutting them all together… It’s just a massive, massive undertaking. Literally everything you put in front of the camera has to be built, designed, [or] bought. So it’s just an extremely complicated show to mount and put together. The network’s been extremely supportive.”
This new and subversive take on Michael Crichton’s famed “robot theme park gone awry” story boasts an incredible cast, but also made headlines after production was shut down for several months. At the time it was said that some further writing had been done and some retooling might happen, but Nolan insists it was a straight up time issue and no content needed to be changed:
“No recalibration required. We needed to shut down in order for [co-creator] Lisa [Joy] and I to write the rest of the scripts. This was strictly a question of our ability to write, produce and direct… We came out of the gate very, very, quickly, because we wanted to get on the air as early as possible, and so we started shooting with only a handful of episodes in hand… I’ve read more f–king nonsense about this project than anything I’ve ever been involved in – which is kind of amazing, given how much nonsense I read about the Batman movies.”
The first season is now in the final two weeks of shooting. Nolan himself helms the season finale, while Michelle MacLaren is directing the penultimate episode.