Evan Rachel Wood Defends HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Amid Sexual Assault Scene Furore

Didya watch Westworld on Sunday? The show is clearly amping up to be the Game of Thrones replacement of our dreams – another bloody and violent HBO entry, except this time its a sci-fi western! Hooray!

But the show is already being confronted with the same unease as Game of Thrones got, specifically around sexual violence against women. Basically, the show – based on the 70s Michael Crichton film – is about a futuristic western theme park in which rich guests interact with lifelike androids and can live out whatever deranged fantasy crosses their mind. The original film was like Jurassic Park except 20 years earlier and with murderous robo-cowboys instead of dinosaurs.
The first ep – spoiler alert! – strongly implies that a gunslinger played by Ed Harris is implied to have sexually assaulted the android played by Evan Rachel Wood. It seems that a big part of the plot is that these robots retain memories of their past trauma, even though they’re supposedly wiped at the end of each day.
This has caused concern, especially after Game of Thrones copped so much flak for using its female characters as mere narrative props to be beaten and sexually assaulted so the plot could progress. Obviously it’s not like these kind of things ought to be off-limits – they are things that happen, duh – but it’s episode 1 and we’re already seeing it as something seemingly used for shock value. Which is not only potentially offensive but also booooring.
Wood says that there’s definitely more to it, though – we just need to wait a lil bit:
It’s absolutely very rough. I don’t like gratuitous violence against women at all, but I would wait for the context in which it’s being used. As the show progresses, the way it’s being used is very much a commentary and a look at our humanity and why we find these things entertaining and why this is an epidemic, and flipping it on its head. The roles for the women on this show are going to be very revolutionary. It’s very gender-neutral. I would ask, as somebody who is an advocate against any kind of abuse or violence and is outspoken about it, to give it a chance and wait to see where it’s going. I think it will surprise people.

The show looks pretty good so far, even if it is basically stock-standard ponderous Christopher Nolan-esque fare. Which is unsurprising, given that his brother wrote it. 

Let’s see how it goes.
Source: Uproxx.
Photo: Westworld.