Westworld: JJ Abrams defends sexual violence in 'next Game of Thrones'

'You can't tell a story about oppression without depicting the oppressed'

Jack Shepherd
Thursday 29 September 2016 08:43 BST
JJ Abrams and Thandie Newton defend sexual violence in Westworld

Having been billed as HBO’s successor to Game of Thrones, it’s fair to say people are very, very excited for Westworld.

Like for the aforementioned show about ‘tits and dragons,’ the sci-fi Western has prompted discussion about violence against women, particularly the opening scene which sees a lifelike female robot being dragged off to be raped.

Speaking at the show’s premiere in Los Angeles, executive producer JJ Abrams defended the the level of sexual violence in the show, insisting the show's makers did not set out to "dehumanise women”.

Westworld Extended Trailer

"I would say the criticism is accurate but you can't tell a story about oppression without depicting the oppressed,” the Star Wars: The Force Awakens director told Press Association.

"If it was a movie I would say: 'Damn it, they're 100% right.' It's a series and it goes somewhere for a reason. No one was going into this thinking 'let's do a show that somehow dehumanises women'. This is a show, I would argue, very much about the opposite.”

Westworld - based on Michael Crichton's 1973 film about a futuristic theme park - stars Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Thandie Newton, the latter actor also commenting on sexual violence in the show.

"I didn't have any reservations because I knew how it was going to be depicted,” Newton said. "I knew how it was going to be central to the narrative - I mean central. It was not going to be wallpaper, let's put it that way.

"Westworld covers some really challenging territory... I think it will create moments for conversation which are so valuable for people."

HBO bosses previously defended the show’s sexual violence, executive producer Lisa Joy saying: "When we were tackling a project about a park with a premise where you can come there and do whatever desire you want with impunity and without consequence, it seemed like an issue we had to address.”

The series, which has endured a tumultuous production, previously came under fire for posting a rather extreme casting call.

Westworld launches on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 4 October at 9pm.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in