Several Utah landscapes made an appearance on HBO last Sunday night with the premiere of “Westworld.”
The second season of the hit HBO show already included backdrop images from Lake Powell and the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, according to a press release sent to the Deseret News.
Those locations were previously featured in films “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” “Planet of the Apes” and “The Outlaw Josey Wales.”
Last season, viewers saw Monument Valley and Dead Horse Point on the HBO show.
Mandi Dillin, the “Westworld” location manager, said she’s excited to return to the Beehive State.
"Returning to Utah for season two allowed us to extend our scope of the theme park,” Dillin said. “Season one built the initial ‘western world’ environment but season two took us deeper and to the farthest reaches of the Delos empire. Southern Utah provided us with a variety of stunning natural landscapes all within 45 minutes of each other. It was almost as if we were on a 'Mother Nature's Greatest Hits' road trip. The majestic beauty was endless and included the traditional red rock landscape to the spooky and surreal.”
Dillin said the Utah Film Commission played a big role in helping the show find filming locations that were “off the beaten path” so they could continue to build the “Westworld” set.
Virginia Pearce, Utah Film Commission director, said “Westworld” has really helped showcase Utah on a national scale.
“Westworld's portrayal of Utah continues to be a billboard for the state's unique and diverse locations, and the potential and capability of our local film industry as a whole,” she said in a press release. “Network TV series such as this are key for our industry as they have the potential of long-term commitment to the state.”
Despite the breathtaking views, “Westworld” has received heavy criticism for its dark and mature themes, specifically related to an implied rape scene in its pilot episode.4 comments on this story
Dawn Hawkins, the executive director for the conservative watchdog group National Center on Sexual Exploitation, said in a statement that scenes depicting brothels, dead bodies and nudity make the show unwatchable.
“Why does HBO insist on making sadistic themes of sexual violence against women the cornerstone of its entertainment formula? No corporation that so regularly promotes the degradation and abuse of the female body can respect women,” she wrote. “… HBO’s commitment to portraying sexual objectification and sexual violence against women is not only socially irresponsible, it is anti-woman, and more importantly anti-human."