It now looks likely that Imagine trio Akiva Goldsman (‘Batman & Robin’, ‘Lost in Space’) would adapt, Ron Howard would direct and Brian Grazer would produce King’s seven novel series for screen, in conjunction with Universal Pictures.
However, there are two conflicting reports tonight over Imagine’s planned execution of King’s work. Mike Fleming at Deadline hints at a big budget movie trilogy ala ‘The Lord of the Rings’ with potentially a t.v. series to follow, whereas Borys Kit at THR say only the first in the series ‘The Gunslinger’ will be adapted as a big screen movie, with the further six stories adapted for HBO, or another t.v. network soon after.
Personally, I think both are brilliant ideas, as it will allow the series to receive the big screen treatment in deserves, whilst at the same time, allowing the whole saga to be made in half the time, keeping the cast together with a continuity that makes sense. Think ‘Lost’ over ‘Harry Potter’ in terms of keeping cast & tone.
Indeed, one of the headaches of adapting the epic sci-fi/horror/fantasy/western/action/adventure series to date has been the worry over the difficulties of ambitiously adapting all 7 novels, which in comparison has taken the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise over ten years to achieve, with noticeable and significant aging of the principal cast.
I believe this kind of complication is why previous rights holders – ‘Lost’ team J.J. Abrams, Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof, couldn’t figure out the best way of cracking it and admitted defeat in their two year battle last November.
I questioned back then who on Earth would take on King’s novels if the team behind the potentially bigger headache of rebooting ‘Star Trek’ after a forty year history couldn’t do it, but now we know Howard & Goldsman are the team.
The series follows Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, on a quest for the elusive Dark Tower which is the key and holds the answers to all of the universe. It blends Old West, magic, and dozens of genre’s and archetypes, with many hints and sub-plots involving King’s whole bookography.
I really don’t know what to make of this.
On the one hand, I’m as excited as a spotty 17 year old about to lose his virginity in the back of his girlfriend’s car at the prospect of ALL Stephen King’s’ fabulous seven novels in his magnum opus series being adapted for screen, and from the sounds of it, I think Hollywood has finally found a way of cracking the books that makes sense and that doesn’t comprise any of the original material.
As a writing/directing team, Goldsman/Howard have given us ‘A Beautiful Mind‘, ‘Cinderella Man’ and the two Dan Brown/Robert Langdon novels ‘Angels & Demons’ and ‘The Da Vinci Code’, which of course is more promising fare than his 90′s work but you can’t erase the fact he had ice hokey villains fight Batman over ten years ago.
His screenplays for ‘I, Robot’ and ‘I Am Legend’ are also more promising but Goldsman is one of the highest paid screenwriters in the business, and he has written movies that could be accused of him selling out before. I sincerely hope this isn’t the case with such a rich source material as ‘The Dark Tower’.
And then you look at Ron Howard’s filmography, and in terms of tone & quality, it’s all over the place.
I guess in conclusion, I’m happy that the series looks finally like it might make it to the big screen soon but I can’t get overly excited about the talent involved. But there’s still alot of answers that we need to get before we can understand the fuller picture.
Will Howard/Goldsman be handling all of the books, or just the first? Will it indeed be one movie for the screen and the rest for t.v., or will it be a trilogy?, etc.
This article was first posted on April 30, 2010