"Bring yourself back online" with the Westworld Featured Session at SXSW 2018. Moderated by WIRED's Jason Tanz, cast members of the HBO drama series Westworld – Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, and Jeffrey Wright – joined showrunners and creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy for an inside look at the award-winning show.
The creatives and cast members of Westworld answered fan questions and discussed their response to the show. "We had a chance to really think about a story, we weren't really interested in doing a television series in a sense, " said creator Jonathan Nolan. "We wanted to treat it more like a film franchise, with each season like an installment. The only way I know how to do that is to change the game every season." In addition to the series questions, topics like social media and artificial intelligence were also explored.
"What I love about the show is that it makes you ask questions. We take so many things for granted, we hardly ask 'why' or 'how,' 'where,' or 'what am I feeling.' It is [the show] actually making us question our reality...we start to question everything and technology is paving the way for that" - Evan Rachel Wood
New for 2018, SXSW introduced the SXSW Creative Experience "Arrow" Awards, celebrating creativity and innovation from agencies and activations at the event. HBO and Giant Spoon received one of the inaugural awards for the Best Immersive Experience. Together they created an immersive, theatrical experience for Westworld. Attendees were shuttled to a remote location where a recreation of the town of Sweetwater awaited them. The experience included actors trained for months in advance to create a fictional story that came to life on the two-acre set.
The first two seasons of Westworld are available to stream on HBO.
Watch the SXSW Westworld Session
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2018 SXSW Featured Session on Westworld – Photo by Samantha Burkardt