If you’re getting a bit of déjà vû whilst watching Westworld, we don’t blame you. The dusty streets of the reproduction Western frontier town of Melody Ranch have been home to Django Unchained and Magnificent 7 but have got a bit of a makeover for Westworld.
Set about 100 years into the future, the production designer Zack Grobler wanted it to feel futuristic without compromising that cowboy feel, so he tidied up the streets so the Western grittiness we see in Django doesn’t overwhelm Westworld’s Guests and Newcomers. After all, they’re paying for an idealised version of the Western frontier, not the historically accurate dirt-and-squalor, or as Grobler puts it: "if you pay a lot of money to go and have fun in this old west park, then you’d like it to be the really iconic ideal of the west".
Gone are the beaten-up wooden shacks, replaced by classier buildings for their human guests, and the robot brothels are more sensuous with their rich wallpaper, enticing ladies and just a hint of danger - but not too much. Not for the humans, at least. Grobler "tried to give the realism but still make it a world that you would like to be in", and because no one who’s paying good money wants to traipse down a dusty road to get to Westworld, Grobler installed a locomotive which goes straight to the main street after winding its way through lush Utah forests imposed via a ton of green screens.
To experience the luxuriously detailed description of the set for yourself, head on to Inverse to read to the full interview with Grobler.