Westworld Pilot From J.J. Abrams Heading to HBO

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HBO's orders up pilot adaptation of the 1973 sci-fi classic film 'Westworld' from J.J. Abrams.

J.J. Abrams must really like to reboot vintage sci-fi material because he’s at it yet again.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has gotten into the J.J. Abrams recycling business by ordering a pilot based on the 1973 sci-fi film Westworld from his production company, Bad Robot.

Set in a futuristic “amusement part for adults,” the original film was written and directed by Michael Crichton (Coma, Jurassic Park, Congo), so, of course, the park’s advanced technology soon spins out of control.

The picture famously stars Western icon Yul Brenner as the Gunslinger, a Terminator-like robot gone haywire that has tourists Richard Benjamin and James Brolin in his sights:

Bryan Burk is producing for Bad Robot alongside veteran producer Jerry Weintraub.

Jonathan Nolan, the creator of Person of Interest, and co-writer of The Dark Knight Rises and Interstellar with his brother Christopher, will also executive produce, co-write and direct the pilot.

Westworld marks another project that HBO has bought outside its production studio to develop. Normally known to develop their scripted series internally, the premium cable channel has reached out recently to acquire projects from known producers such as Ryan Murphy for his series Open (starring Fringe‘s Anna Torv), and Damon Lindeloff’s The Leftovers. If anything, it helps HBO that well-known commodities such as Murphy, Lindeloff and Abrams will flock to their network in order to make sure their pilots and series get the best creative outlet possible.

While there has been a previous series developed based on the movie, 1980’s Beyond Westworld, the new pilot should be able to last longer than the previous incarnation, which aired only three of the five episodes made.

An inferior film sequel, Futureworld, was released in 1976, featuring a cameo by Brenner:

The idea of casting a new actor to portray the Gunslinger is worrisome as Brenner’s version is classic and often regarded as one of the most memorable villains in cinematic history. Barring that apprehension, the idea of the adult amusement park gone bad with robots stalking and terrorizing the guests just might work under the right, capable hands.

(Get it? “Bad robots”?)

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