After Universal Pictures pulled the plug on Ron Howard’s ambitious three film and two TV series adaptation of Stephen King’s mammoth fantasy western The Dark Tower last year, there was only one studio that I could see stepping up and picking up the project before it died altogether. And it now looks like it might actually be happening…
Deadline reports that Warner Bros have entered talks to revive the project which still has Javier Bardem tentatively attached as the gunslinger Roland Deschain and Howard firmly sat in the director’s chair. The studio has purchased the current Akiva Goldsman written screenplay for King’s first Dark Tower book ‘The Gunslinger’ and set him away to work on a re-write. We should be clear that WB haven’t yet made a commitment to make the film or films or films and tv series’ but they are interested enough to be paying Goldsman to re-write his first script at this stage and are coming up with a strategy to make it work.
When Universal stopped all their plans to venture to The Dark Tower last July over the spiralling costs of the multi-platform release, Howard and producer Brian Grazer vowed to get the project made elsewhere and we heard of HBO’s interest at the end of last year to work on the tv side portion of the newly trimmed budget. It is worth reminding ourselves that WB are HBO’s parent company so they could well team together on this and we imagine that is probably the strategy.
If (please note the meaning of that word) Warner Bros decide to go forward with the project, it would start production in around 12 months time, giving Goldsman time to get his script right, Bardem to clear his schedule (he is currently shooting his villain part in Skyfall) and Howard to complete his Niki Lauda F1 movie Rush that he is currently filming with Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl and Olivia Wilde.
As it would have at Universal, The Dark Tower would reunite the three principals (writer Goldsman, director Howard and producer Brian Grazer) behind the Dan Brown/Robert Langdon series that has churned out The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons and also Cinderella Man and A Beautiful Mind. And yes, Goldsman can’t shake off the notoriety he has for writing the disastrous Batman & Robin…
I’ve said it for a while but Warner Bros was always going to be the best home for the ambitious adaptation. Warner Bros, who lose Christopher Nolan’s Batman cash cow this summer and who are now living in a post-Harry Potter world, are in the game for new franchise potentials, especially those with the scope for several movies and large audiences. They have just about more money in cash reserve than anyone else and are already in the game for Stephen King’s bookography with Ben Affleck currently working on a two-film adaptation of the popular author’s other epic tome The Stand.
The Stand and The Dark Tower are two properties that do have conscious connections, with characters and themes being related and floating in and out of both. Warner Bros doesn’t seem so concerned right now with bringing a Justice League movie to the big screen but what about creating their own Stephen King film franchise?
It could now happen….
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