Well, I’ve been reporting on it for what seems like forever, but it now appears this past April’s announcement Imagine Entertainment and Weed Road would take on Stephen King’s epic “Dark Tower” series and turn it into a film trilogy is coming to pass.
In a press release, Universal announced Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have acquired the rights to produce three films and a television series based on the seven novels, short stories and comic books that make up King’s The Dark Tower series. Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of the television series, which will be written by Goldsman.
King is quoted in the release saying, “I’ve been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world. Ron, Akiva, Brian along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for the ‘The Dark Tower’ series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in ‘The Dark Tower’ that fans have come to love.”
Of course, King was singing a different tune back in September 2008 when he told SCI FI Wire, “My attitude is, ‘Go make a movie, and if it’s good, that’s terrific, and if it’s bad, then it will go to the video stores and back shelves of Blockbuster, and I still get royalties on the book.” This was back when Damon Lindeloff and J.J. Abrams were taking a stab at the story, which obviously didn’t work out.
I finished reading the seven book series sometime back in 2008 and while one or two of the books (“Song of Susannah” specifically) are pretty much worthless, the idea of turning that story into three movies sounds impossible. Obviously tons will have to be cut out as the seventh book alone could make up two movies. However, it sounds like the movies and the television series will work in tandem and perhaps play off each other, filling in blanks between films.
Ron Howard adds in the release, “By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in ‘The Dark Tower’ novels. It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”
That quote aside, I’m not sure what I think of the team that brought us Angels and Demons trying to adapt this epic story into a worthwhile film trilogy. It just doesn’t seem right to me looking at Goldsman’s screenwriting credits, which does include A Beautiful Mind, but also includes Batman Forever, Batman and Robin and Lost in Space.
Additionally, Howard doesn’t seem like the kind of filmmaker that will be able to get down and dirty with this material and really bring the story of Roland Deschain of Gilead and his search for The Dark Tower. That does beg the question, Who will should play Roland? Eastwood would’ve been great in his prime, but that time has passed. So who’s left?
In a past article suggestions have included Daniel Craig, Viggo Mortensen, Hugh Laurie (“House”), Hugh Jackman, Jeff Fahey (Machete), Christian Bale, Clive Owen, Joaquin Phoenix and Daniel Day-Lewis. There are several more right here if you are interested. Perhaps you have your own suggestions or you like some of these, have at it in the comments below.