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HBO's Westworld Stops Production; 2016 Premiere Still Set

By Brian Gallagher — January 18th, 2016

HBO announced today that production on its highly-anticipated series Westworld has been shut down for two months, but the network is still confident that the show will debut sometime this year. Variety reports that the production was temporarily shut down to give series creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Nolan a chance to catch up with writing the scripts for the last four episodes. Filming was originally scheduled to wrap in November of last year, but shooting is now set to resume in March. Take a look at the network's brief statement below.

"As we head into the final phase of production on Westworld, we've made the decision to take a brief hiatus in order to get ahead of the writing."

The show is based on the 1973 sci-fi film Westworld, which centers on an amusement park where visitors can live out their wildest fantasies, with the help of androids. Anthony Hopkins is playing the eccentric park owner, with a supporting cast that includes Ed Harris, Evan Rachel Wood, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Miranda Otto, Rodrigo Santoro, Shannon Woodward, Clifton Collins Jr., Ben Barnes, Jimmi Simpson, Angela Sarafyan and Simon Quarterman. Lisa Joy previously revealed that the series is a mix of the sci-fi and Western genres, while Jonathan Nolan added that Westworld is a place where anything can happen.

Westworld was first ordered to series in November 2014, and fans got a first look video from the series back in August. The network was previously targeting a 2015 premiere date, but that was later pushed to an unspecified date in 2016. While the network still contends the show will be released sometime this year, it isn't known when they are targeting the series premiere to air.

Westworld encountered a bit of controversy last year when it was revealed that the series was requiring extras to be, "fully nude and/or witness others fully nude and participate in graphic sexual situations." Actor's union SAG-AFTRA also sent out a notice to its members, in response to this document. The notice informs their members that the SAG-AFTRA Agreement allows actors to withdraw their consent to appear in scenes involving nudity and sexual situations at any time before these scenes are filmed. The union's agreement also stipulates that the set must be closed during these scenes, and that no still photographs may be taken without the consent of the actor. The series resolved this issue with the union by revising their original document.

Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy created the series, based on the original film, with J.J. Abrams, Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk serving as executive producers. Do you think that HBO will be able to release Westworld sometime later this year? Chime in with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more updates on this upcoming series.

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