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Written and directed by Michael Crichton, later known for Jurassic Park, Westworld was a massive science fiction smash. The film, shot in thirty days, had a budget of 1.3 million dollars and grossed 10 million dollars in the United States alone.
Yet while the movie was extremely successful, it faced challenges. Script changes happened up until the production began, and some of the cast members hadn’t signed their contract until it was down to the wire.
Go behind the scenes of the cult-classic sci-fi thriller below!
1. Astronauts and Disneyland were an inspiration.
Crichton was inspired by the training at the Kennedy Space Center, where astronauts worked hard to have automatic, almost robotic responses in situations. Disneyland helped as well thanks to their humanized robots which interacted with guests.Originally, Crichton started the idea as a novel before realizing that a movie would allow the cinematic elements to pop. “That whole last half hour of the film is essentially silent. That's what I wanted to do, make that as a silent picture, with no dialogue."
2. Brynner was saved by contacts.
Yul Brynner was impressive on set and chose to do his own stunts (such as falling out of a window), rather than relying on a double. The finale’s big face melting sequence was accomplished using bicarbonate, water, and good acting. One stunt did prove to be dangerous though. Brynner wore contracts to make his eyes look metallic like a robot’s would be. When Richard Benjamin accidently fired his prop gun too soon, the contacts helped protect Brynner’s eyes. Fun fact – Brynner wore the same outfit as he did in The Magnificent Seven.
3. Brynner helped Benjamin.
“It was a dream come true.” Richard Benjamin said of his Westworld experience. “The training came from Yul, who was a great man and a generous kind man.” Brynner gave him two tips – don’t let them film you getting on the horse and don’t blink when you fire a gun. In fact, he ever taught Brynner how to fire a gun without blinking. The trick was to put only one bullet in a gun and fire. Eventually, Benjamin stopped anticipating the bullet and was able to shoot without blinking.