News Briefs: J.J. Abrams Is Developing Westworld for HBO

By Kaitlin Thomas

Aug 31, 2013


WESTWORLD IS THE BESTWORLD

... J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan (the executive producer of Person of Interest, and also the brother of some guy named Christopher Nolan) are developing Michael Crichton’s cult film Westworld for HBO and probably a lot of money. Westworld was a 1973 film about an android in a futuristic Western-themed amusement park, for those of you (me) who have no idea what what the hell I'm talking about. Someone in the know, please tell me if I'm missing out by never having seen this film, and whether or not you are excited by the prospect of it coming to your TV. [Variety]


BUSINESS TIME

... Former Chuck executive producer Matt Miller is re-teaming with Zev Borow, a former writer for the NBC series, for a new cop drama. Bad Guys is about an NYPD detective named Lea Morris who is also a single mother, and her father, a recently paroled ex-con who wants back in to her life. The project just landed at Fox. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Showtime has acquired Jay-Z's Made in America documentary about the two-day Budweiser “Made in America” festival he organized in Philadelphia last year. It will premiere Friday, October 11 at 9pm, for those so inclined. [Showtime via press release]

... The series finale of Futurama on September 4 will be validated by an online pre-show and a post-show, both hosted by Chris Hardwick because duh. The pre-show will feature series creator Matt Groening and executive producer David X. Cohen, as well as several cast members. It will begin at 9:30pm. The second half-hour will feature co-executive producer Patric M. Verrone and supervising director Peter Avanzino, and will be available immediately after the series finale ends. [THR]

... Robin Wright has directed an episode of Season 2 of House of Cards, but Kevin Spacey has not. Suck it, Spacey! [Indiewire]


CASTING NEWS

... Ben Feldman (Mad Men) is, much like every other good-looking male these days, heading to The Mindy Project. He'll appear in multiple episodes as an arts and culture writer who thinks Mindy's tastes are kind of terrible. But because this is The Mindy Project, he's also a love interest for Mindy. I'm not keeping track of how many that is this season, but me thinks it's time to create a chart. [TV Line]

... Josh Groban will guest-star in an upcoming episode of The Crazy Ones, CBS' new comedy starring Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and James Wolk. Groban will not be playing himself like Kelly Clarkson does in the pilot. He'll be playing a character from Sydney's (Gellar) past named Richie. [EW]

... Russell Tovey (UK's Being Human) has been cast in Looking, HBO's new half-hour comedy about a group of gay men living in San Francisco. He'll play the recurring role of Kevin, a kind of video-games wunderkind who achieved financial success at a young age. So he's basically J.P. from Grandma's Boy? [THR]


CONNECTICUT BE SHOPPING

A few weeks ago a bunch of people in Connecticut called 911 when their cable went out during Breaking Bad. We understood their frustration, but still thought they were total whack jobs. But now that pesky state is back in the news for heckling Dave Chappelle so bad at Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival that he straight up quit performing. Shame on you, Connecticut. Get your act together. You're ruining it for the rest of us. [EW]

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  • sherriesim Sep 07, 2013

    Really excited over this :) I loved that movie! I've wanted to see a remake for years! It's very dated now, but given a modern twist and special effects, it could be great. The Gunslinger (Yul Brynner) just HAS to be played by Mark Dacascos (Wo Fat - Hawaii Five O) No one else will do!!

  • RachaelChan Sep 03, 2013

    Why do they keep putting J.J. on remakes? Or maybe the question should be, why does J.J. focus so much on remaking stuff? He has proven himself when it comes to original content, and that is the best stuff IMO.

  • antmorris3511 Sep 03, 2013

    I've heard his name quite a few times buT I dont know anything he's made or remade. People say his did a star trek movie. I don't really remember any except wrath of khan.

  • lostcause78 Sep 03, 2013

    *Have no idea what Westworld is/was*
    Sounds promising though.

    And while on the subject of stuff I don't know, David Chappelle is on comedy tour? And he got heckled off stage!? ugh!

  • muzrub Sep 03, 2013

    A series based on Westworld would be the ultimate!

  • hbf716 Sep 03, 2013

    I loved Westworld. So much so that I bought it and have watched it several times throughout my life. I always thought it was so unique as a kid and I remember wishing that it was real (minus the killer robots.) I mean how fun would it be to go to a resort where you could pretend/role play being in the wild west or medieval times or whatever. I have always thought that it would be a great remake but not so sure about a series. But, if anyone might make me like it - it would be J.J.

  • emmiegirl Sep 02, 2013

    That piercing sound you just experienced was my mind being blown. JJ Abrams is going to do a sci-fi western on HBO. 'Nuff said. I think perhaps I may be giddy at the possibilities.

  • Mysterv Sep 02, 2013

    Really enjoyed Westworld when it came out. Saw it years later and it felt dated.
    Not sure how it would work as a series but since it is JJ who is involved I will check it out.

  • MandySCG Sep 02, 2013

    I am really excited about the prospect of a science fiction show on HBO.

  • myrddinde Sep 02, 2013

    Westworld and the Followup Futureworld were both awesome. Was so scared back then ... Something I haven't felt in any of JJ Abrams Movies ... So instead of a good thrilling story we will get a lame SFX Firework ... not sure if that is a good deal. Story > Effects ...

  • ddstephens Sep 02, 2013

    Westworld was awesome. I have seen this movie multi times and it is always good. Creeped me out when I was a kid. I always thought it would be fantastic to have a amusement park like that without the robots going ape shit. I think I would like to see a new rendition of this movie if done right. JJ is known to frack things up though.

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