WESTWORLD Cast & Showrunners on the Reality of the Show’s A.I.
“Don’t forget the hosts are not real. You mustn’t make that mistake,” warns Anthony Hopkins’ Dr. Robert Ford in a scene from HBO’s new scifi series Westworld.
I’m sorry Dr. Ford, but we’ve already fallen in love with Dolores and Teddy, Maeve, Clementine, Lawrence and just about every other artificial intelligence in this futuristic and barbaric theme park, who collectively seem altogether more human than their dispassionate lab-coated creators.
In this behind the scenes featurette from series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, EP JJ Abrams, and stars James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright, the notion of the park’s A.I. “not being in on the joke” despite being the focus of our attention (and empathy) is discussed in more detail.
“If you’re a host in the park, the savages are the guests” explains Joy.
“Your heart breaks for these characters we know are not human,” adds Executive Producer JJ Abrams. “But it doesn’t matter because you begin to connect with them — which is the very premise of the show. At a certain point it becomes irrelevant if something is organic of not.”
“We were fascinated with this thing we seem to be barrelling towards,” says Nolan. “The moment in which we create things which are intelligent enough that we can take advantage of them and derive pleasure from them but not so intelligent that we worry or feel badly when we turn them off. If you play your X Box and you’re interacting with virtual characters you don’t think twice about hitting the power button.”
“A.I. is the gimmick of the show but it’s actually investigating something that some people, far smarter than I am, are saying is actually happening already.”
“We’ve uploaded our lives and our thoughts, and there’s a cost to that,” explains Joy.
Episode 3 “The Stray” will see poor Teddy (James Marsden) getting a new backstory which sets him off in pursuit of a new villain, leaving Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) alone in Sweetwater. (Is Teddy going to die every week, a la South Park’s Kenny? We made this meme on the likelihood of that possibility.)
Meanwhile, William (Jimmi Simpson) finds an attraction he’d like to pursue and drags Logan (Ben Barnes) along for the ride, and Elsie (Shannon Woodward) and Stubbs (Luke Hemsworth) head into the hills in pursuit of a missing host.
Back in the lab, Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) investigates the origins of madness and hallucinations within the hosts.
Westworld continues Sundays on HBO.