HBO has received a lot of criticism for the insane sexual violence in Game of Thrones, especially the latest season. But the network seems determined to keep pushing the porn-envelope further, judging by a casting call that makes its new series Westworld look like porn with human furniture. The network is backpedaling furiously, but still—WTF?
Westworld is a hotly anticipated forthcoming series starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris and Evan Rachel Wood, produced by Jonathan Nolan and JJ Abrams. The show is a reboot of the 1973 Michael Crichton film about an amusement park populated by robots programmed to carry out the visitors’ fantasies, until things go horribly wrong (think Jurassic Sexbots).
Considering the robot-fantasy theme, it’s not surprising that extras would be signing up for some erotic scenes; this is also HBO we’re talking about. But the Westworld waiver raised eyebrows for totally over-the-top expectations that left some actors uncomfortable, and made the rest of us wonder if going too far with sexual boundaries is now HBO’s M.O. The Guardian details the doc that’s making a sir:
“This documents serves to inform you that this project will require you to be fully nude and/or witness others fully nude and participate in graphic sexual situations,” began the consent form.
“By accepting this Project assignment you may be required to do any of the following: appear fully nude; wear a pubic hair patch; perform genital-to-genital touching; have your genitals painted; simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching; contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude; pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back; [and] ride on someone’s back while you are both fully nude.”
These “assignments” make Game of Thrones’ constant nudity and sex scenes sound tame by comparison. HBO has faced criticism for the sexual violence depicted in Game of Thrones, but doesn’t appear deterred from stepping over the line. Westworld extras were told they could be in scenes “that some may consider personally objectionable or uncomfortable,” and now the concerned Screen Actors’ Guild is involved.
The blowback on the consent form is such that HBO has now denied involvement in its creation, blaming an “outside extras casting vendor” and declaring the form “was not requested, written or approved by HBO...and contains situations that we do not require of any actor.” But it’s hard to imagine a random independent vendor came up with the idea that the show’s extras should contort to form naked tables all on its lonesome.
The flap is unlikely to hurt Westworld’s PR—or alter the insane sex acts we’ll see when the show debuts in 2016. Despite outcry over the inclusion of rape scenes in Game of Thrones that weren’t even in the books (which already have plenty), the network has so far been tone-deaf to the idea that highly sexualized situations benefit from a delicate touch.