In the future, mankind will have automated cars and an app for outsourcing crime — at least on Season 3 of HBO’s “Westworld.” “Somehow in the future climate change has been conquered, traffic has been reduced — which in LA is a miracle — and there’s order,” says production designer Howard Cummings. “There seems to …
In the future, mankind will have automated cars and an app for outsourcing crime — at least on Season 3 of HBO’s “Westworld.”
“Somehow in the future climate change has been conquered, traffic has been reduced — which in LA is a miracle — and there’s order,” says production designer Howard Cummings. “There seems to be no homelessness. Somehow, something has organized society in a way that has brought this great progress.”
Season 3, with returning stars Evan Rachel Wood and Jeffrey Wright, has changed up the “Westworld” narrative. The show’s first two seasons (Sundays at 9 p.m.) were set in a luxury park with historical settings, such as the Wild West, where wealthy people could canoodle and often violently frolic with human-looking robots without consequences — while Delos, the shadowy company running the park, collected their personal data.
The real world outside of the parks was not revealed, until this season, when the “Blade Runner”-esque future was introduced through new character Caleb (Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad”). To create the look of LA a few decades from now — which is where the majority of the “real world” scenes are set — the show turned to real world locations that exist today.
“Since 2058 isn’t terribly far in the future, we wanted it to be a grounded futurism and not something where everything was completely unfamiliar,” says Cummings. “So we actually looked at Singapore as inspiration for what this could be. In the end, we ended up filming and shooting in Singapore. The city you see in Episode 1 is a mix between Los Angeles and locations in Singapore.”
“It’s a structure with swooping curves and lots of freeform that echoed a lot of what you’d seen in previous seasons for the laboratory at the park, at Westworld,” he says. “That connected to what the language of the show was.”
As for the automated cars, they took their inspiration from a surprising source: New York City cabs.
“For the automated ride-share [creator Jonathan Nolan] had some ideas — there would be a vehicle people would use almost like a New York Cab,” Cummings says. “That was actually the inspiration. I was like, how could it be futurized and autonomous? It had to have a certain amount of room and be used by multiple people [and] it could go backwards or forwards. It would have to be very see-through as a way of being almost more secure.
“We do have this one rich head of a large corporation. He’s still driving an analog car,” he says. “And that car came from Porsche, in what’s meant to be more like a classic car — the idea that rich people collect classic cars.”
Caleb also uses Rico, an app that outsources crimes and is a mixture of Tinder and TaskRabbit that, Cummins says, was inspired by Snapchat.
“That was sort of the underground organization of what was going on,” he says. “You find out on the show that there’s an overarching [Artificial Intelligence] that’s controlling things. This [app] is the underground version.”
While the season premiere has echoes of “Blade Runner,” Cummins says that was not the inspiration.
“There are some ‘Blade Runner’ aspects to it, except that it’s not dystopian in the way that ‘Blade Runner was,” he says. “In some ways, we tried to go the opposite of ‘Blade Runner’ and lean more into something like the movie ‘Her.’
“It’s almost like we blended ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Her’ together,” he says. “We have the sense of order that is present in ‘Her.’ That inspired us.”