Inside HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Trippy Premiere Party (Photos)

The Party Report: J.J. Abrams, Elon Musk, Christopher Nolan, and Damon Lindelof join the smoke-breathing, sprawling saloon bash for new sci-fi/fantasy series

J.J. Abrams‘ new fantasy sci-fi series “Westworld” converted Hollywood Boulevard in to “Westworld-World” on Wednesday night with a sprawling premiere at the TCL Chinese Theater and party, four days ahead of its HBO debut.

Fresh off the Emmys, where the network won 22 statuettes, HBO CEO Richard Plepler, Programming President Casey Bloys, and their event sorcerers delivered “Game of Thrones”-level pomp and circumstance for the new series, an adaptation of the classic 1973 movie starring Yul Brynner.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: A general view of atmosphere is seen during the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

HOLLYWOOD, CA – SEPTEMBER 28: A general view of atmosphere is seen during the premiere of HBO’s “Westworld” after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Mr. “Star Wars” J.J. Abrams was joined by series stars Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, and Thandie Newton, and a herd of Hollywood faces who are fans themselves.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Executive producer J.J. Abrams (L) and writer Damon Lindelof attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Old pals from “Lost”: J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof, who has the serialized drama “The Leftovers” also at HBO. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

The creators of the futuristic serialized drama describe it as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin, exploring a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.”

Critics compare it to “Grand Theft Auto,” “Game of Thrones,” and the original 1973 Michael Crichton film on which it is based.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Executive producer/writer/director Jonathan Nolan, director Christopher Nolan and Elon Musk attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

“Westworld” Executive producer/writer/director Jonathan Nolan, brother Christopher Nolan, and freshly back from Mexico where he lectured on sending one million humans to Mars, Elon Musk. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

However, Wednesday night’s bash for at least 1,000 guests at the Roosevelt Hotel recalled the sort of gathering for a studio tentpole. The show feels too big to be actual TV, though we know with HBO’s multiple “to-go” platforms, not to mention its well-worn catchphrase, it doesn’t have to be viewed on just “TV.”

“It’s an extraordinary achievement in television,” Bloys said, as he began the pre-screening introduction to what he called “the first season premiere of ‘Westworld.'”

That phrasing suggests a season two pickup announcement may already be holstered, simmering until after the October 2 premiere.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actor Luke Hemsworth and Samantha Hemsworth attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at TCL Chinese Theatre on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Luke Hemsworth (with wife Samantha) has found his nook. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Earlier in the night, a live feed showed Abrams giving interviews on the red carpet as guests munched popcorn and soda inside the Chinese.

Plepler, too, had one of each in his hands as he navigated the crowded aisle — faces like Reggie Watts and Bruce Vilanch patiently waited with civilians in the check-in line for tickets and glittery silver bracelets to the after-party.

Vilanch is no stranger to the most touristy block in L.A., regularly planted backstage during the Oscars to write punch-up jokes.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actors Evan Rachel Wood (L) and Jimmi Simpson attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Evan Rachel Wood and Jimmi Simpson. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Once Abrams emerged from his front row corner seat, he called husband-and-wife showrunners and writers Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan “dream partners” for this project.

“They are brilliant, thoughtful, creative, fun ….and super tall,” Abrams joked. Joy is also super pregnant, with husband Nolan helping usher her out of the bay. The spoke of Abrams’ amazement at “Westworld’s” large production footprint, even for someone who had just stepped off the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: (L-R) HBO Programming President Casey Bloys, Executive producer/writer Lisa Joy, actress Evan Rachel Wood, Executive producer/writer/director Jonathan Nolan, and Executive producer/writer/director HBO Drama co-head David Levine attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" at TCL Chinese Theatre on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

HBO’s Casey Bloys, EP Lisa Joy,  Evan Rachel Wood, EP  Jonathan Nolan, and HBO Drama co-head David Levine at the TCL Chinese. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

The bash consumed the entire first floor of the Roosevelt, with Western-clad cowboys and brothel-ready dames milling through the ballroom, lobby, Teddy’s lounge, and the restaurant normally known as “Public Kitchen” — converted on this night to a casino.

Evan Rachel Wood initially perched on the back patio smoking cigarettes and sipping champagne with friends. Meanwhile, decommissioned “hosts,” the euphemistic label for the A.I. robots in the series’ living theme park, populated glowing pedestals throughout the space.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actor James Marsden (L) and Kevin Huvane attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

James Marsden, who spends nearly all of his scenes with Evan Rachel Wood, and Kevin Huvane. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Over jalapeño cornbread, steak, s’mores, and rice krispie treats dipped in liquid nitrogen to imbue guests with the ability to breathe smoke, principals such as James Marsden and Rodrigo Santoro camped out at an array of center tables.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Displays are seen during the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

( Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

The late Jerry Weintraub is an executive producer alongside Abrams, Nolan, Joy, and “The Force Awakens” and “Lost” alum Bryan Burk.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Actors Ingrid Bolso Berdal (L) and Rodrigo Santoro attend the premiere of HBO's "Westworld" after party at The Hollywood Roosevelt on September 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Two of the series villains hanging together: Ingrid Bolso Berdal and Rodrigo “Paolo from ‘Lost'” Santoro at the Roosevelt. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

“Westworld” debuts on HBO this Sunday at 9 p.m. before joining the arsenal of portals including HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand.

Keep
Reading...

Looks like you’re enjoying reading
Keep reading by creating
a free account or logging in.