The futuristic resort at the center of the new HBO drama Westworld offers complete immersion in fantasy, not history, selling guests literally and figuratively on an idealized version of the American frontier.
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The sprawling grounds around the photogenic town of Sweetwater are stocked with the touchstones of the era cowboys, horses, and saloons but the immaculately planned arena is largely without the grime or disease that met those who tried their luck out West in the mid-to-late 19th century.
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“If you pay a lot of money to go and have fun in this old west park, then you’d like it to be the really iconic ideal of the west,” Zack Grobler, the show’s production designer explained to Inverse. “You’d want to feel like the Marlboro Man riding out on the range.
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You want to be a gunfighter like Clint Eastwood. Those are all the ideals that you’re looking for. That’s what’s we tried to make it look like.”
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The production design reins were taken by Grobler from Nathan Crowley, who functioned on the techno-play’s pilot as the designer, and Grobler functions as main architect is ’sed by the park.
His assignment was to create an unique aesthetic: Westworld must be both futuristic and nostalgic while also looking ever so slightly manufactured. Because the theme park costs the character more cash than their life insurance will probably pay out to see, in addition, it can’t be totally crazy.
It wasn’t that much enjoyment more past or 100 years,” Grobler said, laughing. You got extremely filthy and “Horses were shitting on the roads and your clothing didn’t fit you nicely. You were on your own if you wanted medical attention. You don’t actually need to send someone who’s paying a fortune to do that world. This was the reason why attempted to give the reality but make it a world that you’d like to be in
The first 1973 movie on which this show is based took direct inspiration from Disneyland and its faux-western Frontierland, which is full of musical hoedowns and animatronics. Grobler and Crowley, nevertheless, viewed its Happiest Place on Earth sway, and the movie, more as religious forerunners. Grobler says that in dialogues with Nolan and the remaining part of the staff, they were told, although there isn’t any official party line on when the new Westworld takes place “it’s perhaps fifty to a hundred years into the future.” That spurred the pursuit for a futuristic aesthetic.
It was a bit like Disneyland, and The first film had a lot more of the ‘film set’ feeling,” Grobler said. We attempted to give a more realistic and greater quality setting. Disneyland isn’t bad but a few hundred years from now, the technology will not be so much worse that you WOn’t even recognize you’re in the park
So Grobler and Crowley had to walk a fine line between creating a reality and selling a dream. The choice was made to begin with the fiction where suitable, and fortunately, Hollywood had the needed infrastructure and shove it in more bona fide paths.
The Old West town at the centre of the show was constructed on the present set at Melody Ranch, a timeless studio that was once possessed by precious cowboy celebrity Gene Autry and hosted the production of old western movies in the first half of the 20th century. It was reconstructed in 1990 after years of lying fallow, and thanks to movies including this autumn and Django Unchained ’s Magnificent Seven, had lots of buildings and sets upon which Crowley and Grobler could add. The Mexican town scene was inspired by the Magnificent Seven’s Mexican town scenes in later episodes of Westworld.
Grobler redesigned all the insides of the various buildings that already existed, and added several other stores and a gunsmith. You might have seen in Bonanza whereas they initially mainly looked like ol drinkin’ holes, Grobler’s research — and thematic demands — shoved at Westworld in another way.
“The primary things people need to do in Westworld is they would like to eat, or they need to kill or they desire to have sex,” he said. Some of the saloons have to be somewhat alluring. There’s gotta be something sexual about it. It’s also got to feel interesting and dangerous.”
One method was to make the home base of the robot hookers as alluring as possible. They paid attention to making the background and other ornamental components as wealthy as possible and constructed insides for uncomplicated preexisting building casings.
From my research, the real Old West was truly Victorian,” he said. “Folks believed it was distinct from old films, that it was a dusty town, everybody wore cowboy hats. But just the ranch hand’s actually wore outfits like that. The other folks were wearing top hats and bow ties and they were absolutely Victorian.
Grobler went about classing up the buildings while darkening the roads with soil, attempting to create the idea of a culture conflict; the visitors could feel more superior to their robot hosts, and would remain in comparative luxury. They installed discreetly tricked out hotel rooms and lots of top-shelf spirits, none of which failing 49ers would have the ability to manage.
Meanwhile, the advantage variable was upped by Crowley for the Westworld visitors by bringing the locomotive right to the main street, which not only needed a strong physical build, but plenty of green screen. The vast, untouched woods that encompass Westworld is footage shot in Utah, while Melody Ranch is in southern California. On that dusty old time set, they put up green screens in front of parking lots so that they could composite the exuberant footage from Utah behind the bustling town that is Western, selling another layer of naturalism atop an inherent dream.