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Drama Series “Westworld” Premieres Oct. 2 on HBO

Rodrigo Santoro & Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Credit: John P. Johnson)
Rodrigo Santoro & Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Credit: John P. Johnson)

The one-hour drama series Westworld kicks off its ten-episode season Sunday, Oct. 2 at 9:00 p.m. (ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Created for television by Jonathan Nolan (Interstellar, The Dark Knight, Person of Interest) & Lisa Joy (Pushing Daisies, Burn Notice), both of whom are executive producing and writing, with Nolan directing, the series is based on the 1973 film Westworld, written by Michael Crichton.

Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin, exploring a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged. As co-creator Nolan explains, the intention for this series is to build on the world created in the original film rather than reinvent it. “Building on the incredibly evocative concept of the original film, we wanted to pose the question: If you could be completely immersed in a fantasy, one in which you could do whatever you wanted, would you discover things about yourself that you didn’t want to know?”

Credit: John P. Johnson
Credit: John P. Johnson

Co-creator Joy adds, “We also wanted to explore what it means to be human from the outside in – through the eyes of the ‘hosts’: the lifelike AI characters that are the main attractions of the park. It’s a meditation on consciousness – the blessing and the burden of it – beautifully portrayed by our remarkable cast.”

Westworld stars Anthony Hopkins (Academy Award® winner for The Silence of the Lambs; Academy Award® nominee for Remains of the Day, Nixon, Amistad), Ed Harris (Golden Globe winner and Emmy® nominee for HBO’s Game Change; Academy Award® nominee for Pollock, Apollo 13), Evan Rachel Wood (Golden Globe nominee for Thirteen; Emmy® and Golden Globe nominee for HBO’s Mildred Pierce), James Marsden (the X-Men films), Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible II) and Jeffrey Wright (HBO’s Confirmation; Emmy® and Golden Globe winner for HBO’s Angels in America).

Anthony Hopkins (Credit: John P. Johnson)
Anthony Hopkins (Credit: John P. Johnson)

The series also stars Tessa Thompson (Creed), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen), Jimmi Simpson (HBO’s The Newsroom), Rodrigo Santoro (Focus, The 33), Shannon Woodward (Raising Hope), Ingrid Bolsø Berdal (Chernobyl Diaries), Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia films), Simon Quarterman (The Devil Inside), Angela Sarafyan (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), Luke Hemsworth (Infini) and Clifton Collins, Jr. (Star Trek).

Among Westworld’s main players are: Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins), the brilliant, taciturn and complicated creative director, chief programmer and founder of Westworld, who has an uncompromising creative vision for the park. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) is the distillation of pure villainy into one man. Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) is a provincial, beautiful and kind rancher’s daughter, who begins to discover that her entire idyllic existence is an elaborately constructed lie.

James Marsden (Credit: John P. Johnson)
James Marsden (Credit: John P. Johnson)

Teddy Flood (James Marsden), a new arrival to a small frontier town, quickly proves both his charm and talent with a revolver. Beautiful, razor-sharp madam Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) has a genius for reading people and a knack for survival, but her seen-it-all-before worldview is about to be challenged. Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) is the brilliant and quixotic head of the park’s Programming Division, whose keen observation of human nature provides him with boundless inspiration for his life’s work: creating artificial people.

Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) is a mysterious and savvy provocateur with a unique perspective on Westworld. Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen), Westworld’s head of Quality Assurance, is responsible for keeping the park from sliding into unscripted chaos. A first-time visitor, William (Jimmi Simpson) is initially wary of the park’s more lascivious attractions, but slowly uncovers a deeper meaning.

Simon Quarterman & Sidse Babett Knudsen (Credit: John B. Johnson)
Simon Quarterman & Sidse Babett Knudsen (Credit: John B. Johnson)

Hector Escaton (Rodrigo Santoro), Westworld’s perennial “most wanted” bandit, subscribes to the theory that the West is a wild place, and the only way to survive is to embrace the role of predator. Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward), a sardonic rising star in the Behavior Department, is charged with diagnosing the odd quirks of behavior in the park’s hosts. Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) is a savage fighter and brutal bandit, whose ruthlessness is surpassed only by her abiding loyalty to her fellow outlaws.

Logan (Ben Barnes) is a veteran guest whose hedonistic romp through the park is equally motivated by self-indulgence and a desire to help his friend, William. Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) is the head of Narrative, whose storylines tantalize the guests, while his temperament grates on his colleagues. Clementine Pennyfeather (Angela Sarafyan), one of Westworld’s most popular attractions, is perfectly beguiling, by design.

Ed Harris (Credit: John P. Johnson)
Ed Harris (Credit: John P. Johnson)

Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) is the no-nonsense head of Security, charged with monitoring host and human interactions and ensuring the safety of the guests. Lawrence (Clifton Collins, Jr.), a charming but lethal outlaw, has a knack for maneuvering and negotiating the various criminal elements of Westworld.
Upcoming episodes:

Episode #1: “The Original.”

Debut date: SUNDAY, OCT. 2 (9:00-10:15 p.m. ET/PT)

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 2 (10:15 p.m., midnight), 3 (11:15 p.m.), 4 (6:45 p.m., 10:30 p.m.), 5 (11:30 p.m.), 6 (8:00 p.m.), 8 (9:45 p.m., 12:45 a.m.) and 11 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 3 (8:00 p.m.), 7 (8:00 p.m.), 8 (3:00 p.m.), 9 (7:45 p.m.) and 29 (4:00 p.m.), and Nov. 26 (noon)

As another day of fantasy plays out in Westworld – a vast, remote park where guests pay top dollar to share wild-west adventures with Android “hosts” – top programmer Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) alerts park founder Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) about incidents of aberrant behavior cropping up in some recently re-coded hosts. Meanwhile, in the Westworld town of Sweetwater, a rancher’s daughter named Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) encounters a gunslinger named Teddy (James Marsden)  in the street – but their predictable narrative is upended by the appearance of a ruthless Man in Black (Ed Harris) and, later, by a supporting host’s unscripted encounter with an artifact of the outside world.

Teleplay by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy; story by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy and Michael Crichton; directed by Jonathan Nolan.

Episode #2: “Chestnut.”

Debut date: SUNDAY, OCT. 9 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 9 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), 10 (10:30 p.m.), 11 (9:10 p.m.), 12 (11:30 p.m.), 14 (2:30 a.m.), 15 (10:35 p.m.) and 18 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 10 (8:00 p.m.), 15 (3:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), 16 (8:00 p.m.) and 29 (5:10 p.m.), and Nov. 26 (1:10 p.m.)

A pair of guests, first-timer William (Jimmi Simpson) and repeat visitor Logan(Ben Barnes), arrive at Westworld with different expectations and agendas. Bernard(Jeffrey Wright) and Quality Assurance head Theresa Cullen (Sidse Babett Knudsen)debate whether a recent host anomaly is contagious. Meanwhile, behavior engineer Elsie Hughes (Shannon Woodward) tweaks the emotions of Maeve (Thandie Newton), a madam in Sweetwater’s brothel, in order to avoid a recall. Cocky programmer Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) pitches his latest narrative to the team, but Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) has other ideas. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) conscripts a condemned man, Lawrence (Clifton Collins, Jr.), to help him uncover Westworld’s deepest secrets.

Written by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy; directed by Richard J. Lewis.

Episode #3: “The Stray.”

Debut date: SUNDAY, OCT. 16 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 16 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), 17 (10:45 p.m.), 18 (9:00 p.m.), 19 (11:00 p.m.), 22 (10:10 p.m.) and 25 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 17 (8:00 p.m.), 21 (8:00 p.m.), 22 (2:00 p.m.), 23 (8:00 p.m.) and 29 (6:05 p.m.), and Nov. 26 (2:10 p.m.)

Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) head into the hills in pursuit of a missing host. Teddy (James Marsden) gets a new backstory, which sets him off in pursuit of a new villain, leaving Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) alone in Sweetwater. Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) investigates the origins of madness and hallucinations within the hosts. William (Jimmi Simpson) finds an attraction he’d like to pursue and drags Logan (Ben Barnes) along for the ride.

Written by Daniel T. Thomsen & Lisa Joy; directed by Neil Marshall.

Episode #4: “Dissonance Theory.”

Debut date: SUNDAY, OCT. 23 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 23 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), 24 (9:50 p.m.), 25 (9:00 p.m.), 26 (10:30 p.m.) and 29 (9:35 p.m.), and Nov. 1 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 24 (8:00 p.m.), 28 (8:00 p.m.), 29 (10:50 a.m., 7:05 p.m.) and 30 (8:00 p.m.), and Nov. 26 (3:10 p.m.)

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) joins William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) on a bounty hunt in the badlands. The Man in Black (Ed Harris), with Lawrence(Clifton Collins, Jr.) in tow, finds a critical clue in his search to unlock the maze. Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) and Theresa (Sidse Babett Knudsen) discuss the future of the park. Maeve (Thandie Newton) is troubled by a recurring vision.

Written by Ed Brubaker & Jonathan Nolan; directed by Vincenzo Natali.

Episode #5: “Contrapasso.”

Debut date: SUNDAY, OCT. 30 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

Other HBO playdates: Oct. 30 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.) and 31 (9:35 p.m.), and Nov. 1 (9:00 p.m.), 2 (10:30 p.m.), 5 (10:30 p.m.) and 8 (8:00 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Oct. 31 (8:00 p.m.) and Nov. 4 (8:00 p.m.), 5 (1:30 p.m.), 6 (8:00 p.m.) and 26 (4:10 p.m.)

Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) reach Pariah, a town built on decadence and transgression — and are recruited for a dangerous mission. The Man in Black (Ed Harris) meets an unlikely ally in his search to unlock the maze.

Teleplay by Lisa Joy; story by Dominic Mitchell & Lisa Joy; directed by Jonny Campbell.

The series will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and affiliate portals.

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