A war between humans and robots are being waged in Singapore. On the third and latest season of the Emmy-winning, mind-twisting, need-a-map-navigate sci-fi series Westworld — returning to HBO on Monday (Mar 16) — that is.
For most of the new season — or, at least, the four episodes 8days.sg has seen — Singapore doesn’t play herself: she doubles for a future Los Angeles circa 2058. (Singapore does get a mention in Episode 4, in a scene shot at the Atlas Bar.)
The way the set-pieces were shot, edited and digitally augmented, it’s hard to tell where the Singapore locations begin and end — they are recognisable yet unrecognisable. (Let's just say: It isn't Crazy Rich Asians.) The eight-part season was also filmed in LA and Spain.
On why they chose to shoot in Singapore, showrunner Lisa Joy, told CNA Lifestyle, “There is the poetic shape to the skyline of Singapore that no other city has. There is a beautiful curvature to it that is really unique and interesting.”
Speaking to Variety, co-showrunner Jonathan Nolan, who's married to Joy, said, “I love America. Great place. But we haven’t spent the kind of money that you’ve seen spent [in Asia], in terms of infrastructure and public transportation and airports.
“The experience of going to any major Asian city is always a little bewildering and humbling on that level. It really does feel like you’ve gotten in a time machine and stepped forward 20, 30 years into the future.”
Nolan and Joy got the idea of shooting in Asia after they saw Spike Jonze’s Her, the 2013 sci-fi-romance starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson’s voice, where Shanghai stood in for future LA. Said Nolan: “We were disappointed that we didn’t get to be the first people to do that.”
In July 2019, the Westworld cast — including Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, Thandie Newton, and Aaron Paul— and production team, with a little help from the Infocomm Media Development Authority and Singapore Tourism Singapore, filmed the following locations:
1. Atlas Bar
2. Chinatown Food Street
3. Esplanade Park
4. Helix Bridge
5. LASALLE College of the Arts
6. Marina One
7. Marina Coast Expressway
8. National Gallery Singapore
9. Oasia Hotel Downtown
10. Orchard Road
11. PARKROYAL on Pickering
12. Pulau Ubin
13. Robinson Road
14. School of the Arts (SOTA)
15. Stadium MRT station
HBO Asia has also dropped four teasers featuring some of the abovementioned locations. Besides the landmarks, keep a look out for appearances by Singapore-based actors such as Nikki Muller, Cheryl Chitty Tan (Derek), Bobby Tonelli, and 128 Circle’s Duan Weiming (aka Ah Cai).
Westworld 3 premieres Mar 16 on HBO Go and HBO (Singtel, TV Ch & StarHub Ch 601), 9apm. Download the HBO Go app at App Store or Play Store and get a 7-day free trial or access HBO Go via StarHub, SingTel and meWATCH.
Photos: HBO Asia