westworld felix and sylvester

In this edition of Westworld Bits:

  • It looks like the Westworld season finale may run 90 minutes.
  • A new video explores the secret origins of Westworld.
  • Saturday Night Live manages to parody both CNN and Westworld simultaneously.
  • An interview with series cinematographer Paul Cameron.
  • An interview with series composer Ramin Djawadi.
  • Ptolemy Slocum addresses one of your chief Westworld story issue.
  • A new site compiles all kinds of Westworld statistics.
  • Did you notice the secret door in Ford’s secret lab?
  • And more!

First things first: a site called Westworld Data has been collecting information of the important (who know about Arnold?) and the frivolous (who swears the most?), assembling everything into nifty charts and graphs. Hit that link and explore. Have fun. Put on a black hat.

Ed Harris as the Man in Black in Westworld

Are you ready for a 90-minute season finale? Because it looks like the final chapter of Westworld‘s first season, titled “The Bicameral Mind,” may run much longer than the average episode.

IGN has assembled a very cool video titled The Secret Origin of Westworld, which explores how the original 1973 film impacted popular culture and how the new series borrows from the language of video games to update the material for modern audiences.

westworld painting

Unlike most modern television shows (and unlike most modern movies), Westworld is shot on 35mm film rather than digital cameras. In a new interview with series cinematographer Paul Cameron, he reveals that he asked about shooting on film during his first meeting with co-creator and showrunner Jonathan Nolan:

I was thinking about the sweeping Western landscapes. When I read the pilot, for me the references were to the films shot by John Ford in Monument Valley, Utah.

And while we can argue all day and night about film versus digital, it’s a decision that seems to have paid off – the show looks incredible, often imitating the look of classic western while looking just wrong enough to tip its hand to the science fiction at the core.

westworld soundtrack

Pitchfork spoke with Westworld‘s composer, Ramin Djawadi, and he spoke about how the score keeps on incorporating saloon piano covers of rock and pop hits:

What I love about that is it just comes out of nowhere and you don’t expect it at all. You see the settings and the way people are dressed and even though you know it’s robots and it’s all made to be modern entertainment, you would think the people in control would make everything authentic, including whatever is played on that player piano. It would be from that time period. And when it’s not, it’s that subtle reminder that, ‘Wait, there is something not right. This is not real.’ It’s just such a powerful tool that only music can do.

Of course, this continued in the most recent episode, which featured covers of “House of the Rising Sun” and “Back to Black.”

Speaking of Ramin Djawadi, he appeared live on the official Westworld Facebook page to play the show’s theme music live prior to Sunday night’s episode. You can watch an archived version in the embed above.

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