>>>Visit Westworld without spending 40,000 dollars a day
In an interview Jonathan Nolan, the person who created the series with Lisa Joy, revealed that the fictional park measures nearly 1,300 km2.
Photo: F8shooter via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

Visit Westworld without spending 40,000 dollars a day

HBO’s series takes us to the future of the Wild West. Humans and robots mix together in a world without limits, created with the sole purpose of satisfying visitors.

‘Here there are no formal guidebooks or instructions. Figuring out how it works is half the fun’, says William’s host before he enters. She immediately asks him to dress up as a cowboy and to choose a hat. It’s William’s first visit to ‘Westworld’, a huge theme park inspired on the Old West in which there are hundreds of hosts ready to offer conversation, adventures or sex. They are robots that look so human, it is impossible to distinguish them from the visitors.

A team of programmers and scriptwriters have designed the robots to interact with the guests and provide them with endless enjoyment. Entertainment that matches the amount of money the visitors have paid – $40,000 per day. Drink in a saloon, help the sheriff catch a bandit or take part in a battle against the Indians are just some of the options from among the multiple narrative threads that make up HBO’s latest offering. The series has been created by Jonathan Nolan and produced by J. J. Abrams and it is defined as ‘a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin’.

Films have also been shot in Melody Ranch Studio, with its wooden porches and swinging saloon doors. ‘Django Unchained’ is just one example.

This ranch deserves an Oscar

Hundreds of actors have passed through Paramount Ranch, in California, from Bob Hope to Sandra Bullock. Today it belongs to the National Park Service of the United States and admission is free. You might occasionally bump into a host, because some of the city scenes were also shot here.

The fictional ‘Westworld’ takes great care of even the smallest detail, but the real production is even more precise. With a budget of around $100 million – $25 million was blown on the pilot episode alone – it boasts an outstanding cast, including Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood, and an unbeatable setting. The series promises to be the natural successor to ‘Game of Thrones’ and, the good news for fans is that most of the locations used for the park are real and open to visitors.

You reach the fictional town of Sweetwater by train; in real life, along the State Route 128 of Utah. To film this scene they mounted the carriage on the back of the trailer of a truck, to make it look as realistic as possible. The majority of locations used in ‘Westworld’ are in the State of Utah, like Dead Horse Point State Park, whose highest point is 600 metres above Colorado River. From there, the Man in Black, played by Ed Harris, lets his cruelty loose in one of the series’ most impressive scenes.

Thelma and Louise, and Indiana Jones also passed through Castle Valley.
Photo: Scott Ingram Photography via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC

The future of ‘Westworld’

‘Westworld’ is inspired by the film of the same name that was written and directed by Michael Crichton in 1973. In this cult film, apart from the park in the West, there were two others, one set in the Middle Ages and the other in Ancient Rome.

Castle Valley and Fisher Valley are other landscapes with red soil, rock formations and meadows which you will see on television. The former, 30 minutes from Moab, had already been discovered by John Ford and he filmed his four last films here, although they were never as famous as Monument Valley. To live an adventure without a script it’s a good idea to visit the national parks of Canyonlands and Arches, whose small plateaus and kilometric extensions of flat land are perfect for riding a horse like Dolores Abernathy.

Westworld’s first season was the most-watched original HBO series. The second season will be shown in 2018.

The young girl played by Evan Rachel Wood is the oldest host in the park and, as a result, she knows it very well. Every day she carries out her tasks in the village; the scenes of which were filmed in Melody Ranch Studio in Santa Clarita, California, to then go and explore and paint the landscapes of Utah. She herself explains it with one of her programmed phrases, ‘Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray’. Even it is has been created for, and by, others.

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