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“Westworld”: The Return of a Cult Sci-Fi Western

Michael Crichton’s Westworld is the only film directed by the amazingly prolific sci-fi writer. It foreshadowed the themes he would develop in Jurassic Park as well as those of James Cameron’s Terminator series, with the relentless pursuit by an unstoppable cyborg-cowboy (an unforgettable Yul Brynner). That cult movie is the basis for HBO’s Westworld, created by Jonathan Nolan with co-writer (and wife) Lisa Joy Nolan, and produced by J.J. Abrams. Chrichton’s flight of fancy was arguably 40 years ahead of its time. Today artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality suddenly make his vision a lot more plausible. That, and the serialized format, allows the authors to delve deeper into themes of artificial consciousness and the moral issues of “android abuse”. We spoke to the Nolans as well as cast members Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden and Thandie Newton about the show’s rich subtext.