HBO has fast-tracked a pilot commitment for “Westworld,” a new show based on the 1973 film of the same name, which was written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton.
The project will be executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan and Jerry Weintraub.
“Westworld” explores a futuristic theme park split into three distinct areas — West World, Medieval World and Roman World. However, things soon go wrong as the robots built to interact with human customers malfunction, attacking and killing anyone they see. A sequel, “Futureworld,” was released in 1976, and a television series aired on CBS in 1980. It was canceled after airing only three episodes.
Now, HBO is set to tackle the property again on the small screen. The pilot script will be co-written by Nolan and Lisa Joy (“Burn Notice”), and directed by Nolan. Jonathan Nolan, of course, worked with his brother Christopher Nolan on projects such as the Dark Knight series and “Memento.”
This marks HBO’s first real foray into science-fiction territory, which is known for modern and historical dramas, and with the recent success of “Game of Thrones,” fantasy.
Abrams’ and Nolan’s version of “Westworld” is described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”
Abrams, one of television’s most prolific producers, was part of the creative team of many science-fiction themed shows, including “Alias,” “Lost,” “Fringe” and “Revolution.” In addition to “Westworld,” he is also working on “Almost Human” and “Believe,” which will premiere this fall on Fox and NBC, respectively.
Abrams is also the director of “Star Trek,” “Super 8,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII.”
No casting announcements have been made for “Westworld,” but if HBO orders it to series, it could premiere as early as 2014.