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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 continued until the production began, and some of the cast members hadn’t signed their contracts 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 studied to have automatic, almost robotic responses in high risk situations. Disneyland helped as well thanks to their humanized robots which interacted with guests. Originally, Crichton was going to write a novel before he realized that a movie would allow the cinematic elements to pop more. “That whole last half hour of the film is essentially silent. That's what I wanted to do. Make that a silent picture with no dialogue."
2. Brynner was saved by contacts.
Yul Brynner was impressive! He did all of his own stunts (such as falling out of a window), rather than relying on a double. His best moment though is when he meets his demise. The finale’s big face melting sequence was accomplished using bicarbonate, water, and good acting. One stunt proved to be especially dangerous... Brynner wore contracts to make his eyes look metallic like a robot. 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 even taught Benjamin how to fire a gun without blinking. The trick was to put only one bullet in a gun and fire, not knowing if the chamber was empty or had the bullet. Eventually, Benjamin stopped anticipating the bang and was able to shoot without blinking.