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film news

Stephen King's The Dark Tower to be three movies and two TV series

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's a creative deal like no other: Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television have agreed to work with director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman on a complete telling of Stephen King's seven volume book series The Dark Tower. The plan is for Howard to direct the first movie in the adaptation, which will be followed by a season's worth of television episodes that continue the story. That in turn will be followed by a second movie (again continuing the Dark Tower story) and a second season's worth of TV episodes, except this time the story will move back in time and feature a younger actor playing the main character, gunslinger Roland Deschain. Finally, all will be revealed and wrapped up in a third and final theatrical movie.

Did I mention to you that this was an ambitious plan?

There's really been no Hollywood project like this before. "The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you'd deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television," Howard said to Deadline's Mike Fleming, who broke the story. "We've put some real time and deep thought into this, and a lot of conversations and analysis from a business standpoint, to get people to believe in this and take this leap with us. I hope audiences respond to it in a way that compels us to keep going after the first year or two of work. It's fresh territory for me, as a filmmaker."

Howard plans on directing the first movie and the first season's worth of episodes...wait, he wants to direct an entire season of The Dark Tower TV show? That's what Deadline reports, albeit it would be hard to imagine any director committing to that sort of grueling schedule. Goldsman is writing the script for the first movie. "We will certainly be looking to maximize both creative and fiscal opportunities by creating one enterprise that encompasses TV and movies," Goldsman told the online outlet. "Some of the shooting will likely encompass both platforms, and that has never been done before. It's thrilling, we feel like kids in a candy story."

The trio of creatives worked together first on A Beautiful Mind which won Oscars for the writer, the director and the producer. For Howard this would give him a new franchise to have in his back pocket while waiting for the third Dan Brown movie to form, The Lost Symbol. For fans of The Dark Tower, it's an unheard of opportunity to see their beloved fantasy series get told in a format that will mean dozens of hours of material to watch and with the budget of several feature films to pull off its many incredible vistas and bizarre beings. Stephen King will be an executive producer on the movies and TV series.

The Dark Tower is the epic tale in King's career as a novelist. Spanning more than 20 years of creative effort, the book tells of a gunslinger named Roland who is on a quest to locate and enter a dark tower that reaches up into the clear blue sky. Roland lives in a place called Mid-World, an alternate Earth that resembles part American Old West, part feudal Europe, but with mad science, dark magic, dangerous mutated creatures and the impending sense that time is coming to an end. Roland believes that the reality of his world as well as many others (including ours) are in danger from the plans of a sinister being, and if he can enter the Dark Tower and ascend its spiral staircase to the top level, he will defeat the evil and learn the mysteries that lie beyond mortal understanding.

As for when we might hope to see the first movie in this planned adventure, Howard was non-commital. "I'm finishing The Dilemma, and then I don't have anything scheduled and I plan to work hard on this with Akiva and Brian,"he said. "We will refine our take on the feature and TV shows. We have a clear view of what we want to do, and we're lucky to have a company with the nerve to back us up on this venture."

-Deadline.
KingVoyeur
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Posts: 1601
Posted: 8 years 5 weeks ago

That's pretty frakkin amazing. The fact that Universal and NBC believe in the project enough to give it that kind of stature is very promising. It would really suck if the first movie crashes and burns and kills the rest of the series. Nice to see that they're not going to try and draw out the TV story over several seasons, instead just giving it enough to tell the story they need to. I love the books, really looking forward to this!

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Strider
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Posts: 1430
Posted: 8 years 5 weeks ago

I really, really, really hope that this works out well. The plan is perhaps insane enough to actually work, but I am more than a little worried about who is actually making it.  I love the Dark Tower series, and it will be a bitch to adapt properly.

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Jakester
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Posted: 8 years 5 weeks ago

I think the plan is awesome.  I just am concerned about the team doing it.  I've been unimpressed with the Dan Brown adaptations, but then again, the source material was kind of lame.

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The Swollen Goi...
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Posted: 8 years 5 weeks ago

I hope Akiva Goldsman still has that Batman and Robin fire in him!

It seems like a good, almost natural idea to do it this way.  Firefly almost worked itself out in a similar manner--not that that was their original plan (and not that Fox actually bothered to air the pilot movie before they started airing episodes).

Kaeos
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Posts: 417
Posted: 8 years 4 weeks ago

 Okay so I am doing everything in my power to hold back a nerd-gasm however, a couple major things can go very wrong here.

 

1) a misfire on casting Roland can bring the tower down prematurely. Sadly this project is about 15 years too late to have the "right" actor portray Roland - Clint Eastwood. I suppose with enough makeup wizardry you could pull it off but would Eastwood be willing to be a "TV" character for 2 seasons?

2) a stupid decision on the part of the studio or the production team to pull away from the simultaneous filming idea and instead shoot the TV series alone with different actors. I can honestly see that happening with Hollywood's current level of retardation.

3) with a "blockbuster" movie budget assigned to something like this, don't they run the risk of the first movie bombing? If not that then a risk of the first TV season getting low ratings? If either of those things were to happen I seriously wonder if the fuck-tards in suits would have the stomach to keep pumping money into the project.

I am simultaneously awed and terrified of this project :)

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