Ron Howard Says ‘Dark Tower’ Has Never Gone Away

Published 1 year ago by , Updated September 17th, 2013 at 3:43 pm,

The Dark Tower comic book cover Ron Howard Says Dark Tower Has Never Gone Away

The successful television series adaptation of Stephen King’s huge sci-fi/collapse-of-society novel Under The Dome is just the opening chapter of a new wave of King adaptations. Director Kimberly Peirce’s remake of Carrie is hitting theaters in just under a month, and the big-screen version of The Stand has found a new director.

Still, the proposed multi-platform adaptation of King’s sprawling über-epic, The Dark Tower, remains unmade. It’s a project that has been cancelled – and then seemingly resurrected – multiple times, but the ambitious fantasy/sci-fi/western is still in development limbo following a pass from Warner Bros., after Universal put the whole thing into turnaround.

Ron Howard has long been attached to direct and produce the project, with screenwriter-producer Akiva Goldsman still onboard to adapt the seven-novel series. Every now and again Howard will provide an update and remind fans that Dark Tower still exists – as he did while talking to Empire while promoting his Formula One-racing drama Rush

Howard is still adamant that the project is alive, but won’t provide a schedule:

“The Dark Tower is something that we’re still working on. We’ve all taken a vow of silence about the progress, the headway, what we think our timetable is, because I don’t think I realized how much media interest there was in the title and how much excitement there was.”

Dark Tower The Man in Black1 Ron Howard Says Dark Tower Has Never Gone Away

The director goes on to address the issues the studios have had with the property (its niche appeal, despite – or perhaps because of – its size and scope):

“It’s a fascinating, powerful possibility and even Stephen King acknowledges it’s a tricky adaptation, but to be honest, from a financing side, it’s not a straightforward, four-quadrant, sunny superhero story – it’s dark, it’s horror.

“That edge is what appeals to me, the complexities of those characters is what appeals to all of us. And I think Stephen King really respects that, with Akiva Goldsman and myself, that that’s what we love about it, and that’s what we want to try to get to the screen.”

The Dark Tower is indeed a difficult tale to adapt, even for a supposed film trilogy augmented by a TV series. The story follows Roland Deschain, the last in an ancient line of gunslingers in a world which is one of an apparently infinite number of dimensions, all overlapping with our world. Roland is on a quest to find the titular Dark Tower, which is sort of a linchpin of all reality. And that’s just the basic storyline. Besides the seven main books, there are various novellas and short stories concerning the story’s universe – a universe that even finds its way into many, many other King novels.

So what exactly happened/is happening?

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NEXT PAGE: The Status of Dark Tower

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According to Howard:

“So my answer is: it got delayed, it’s never gone away. We’re working on it, and Stephen is very patient with us, and Akiva’s just gone off and directed a movie, I’m continuing to work, but the Dark Tower dreams – fever dreams, rather – are still there, but we’re not going to give it a timetable.”

The Dark Tower The Gunslinger Born Ron Howard Says Dark Tower Has Never Gone Away

This more or less echoes Howard’s previous updates, but he did provide one interesting bit of news regarding the direction of the story. At one point, King inserts himself as a character in the story, and while this meta-King has a pivotal role, Howard hinted that things could change. Has Howard thought about it?

“Yes. And I will admit Stephen has said, ‘I don’t have to be in this.’ But that’s not to say that he won’t be!”

It would be fun to see King play himself (or different versions of himself), but none of this amounts to much more than keeping the hope and idea of this project alive in the fan consciousness. With this year’s The Lone Ranger tanking hard – adding to the list of niche properties adapted into would-be blockbusters which no one cared about – don’t expect a major studio to throw it’s weight behind this anytime soon.

Then again, if the slate of upcoming Stephen King projects prove successful, this might be enough to keep his brand popular in the public eye. If so, it could give a studio the confidence to push forward with filming at least the first novel in the series, The Gunslinger, which is enough of a stand-alone entry to make its success – or failure – a decent gauge for the rest of the series’ potential.

_____

The Dark Tower is currently in development. Stephen King’s Under The Dome series just wrapped up its first season, and Carrie hits theaters on October 18th, 2013.

Source: Empire

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  1. HIP HIP HOORAY!!!

  2. Reading the third book at the moment. Karl Urban, Hugh Jackman or Josh Holloway for The Gunslinger.

    • Javier Bardem is my number one pic. Josh would be good as well. Never thought of Karl Urban, but that could work…

    • I’m hoping for Viggo Mortensen.

      • Ohh. Those are all great picks as well.

        Karl Urbans turn in “Priest” makes me think of Roland.

    • Anson Mount from Hell on Wheels!!! No one has the Gunslinger look like he does.

      • Interesting, jojomo… I like that choice as well…

      • Oh wow, I forgot about him. He would be a great choice now that I think about it. He just has that “look” to him that I think could make the role just amazing

    • I was thinking more Thomas Jane or Josh Brolin.

    • Film it like Avatar, motion capture with CGI overlay and then, as the Gunslinger, cast the only man who truly makes sense…

      Clint Eastwood.

  3. I loved all the books, and look forward to them coming to life on the big and/or small screen. I could definitely Hugh Jackman in the role, or maybe even Tom Jane as a more unusual pick. I’m not sure if the whole film/TV format would work though. I say they just work out some deal with HBO and have the whole thing on there.

  4. I’m not a Stephen King fan typically, but this project has always sounded compelling. It should be marketable, I would think, not really comparable to The Lone Ranger. This one has a great combination of elements and the marketing advantage of being a King story. Films + television, or just television, I could see it doing very well.

  5. Still not giving up, hey Ron?! ;)

  6. What will come first dark tower or a james cameron battle angel?

    • I’d guess a del Toro “At The Mountains Of Madness” adaption.

  7. anson mount from Hell On Wheels
    Watch it, I think he would be great.

  8. I’m sure Ben Affleck will get the part.

  9. Im convinced this will take a collaboration of directors. You need so many skill sets to adapt this that honestly no one man in the movie industry has the talent. I would be happy if say Ron Howard did The Wizard and Glass. I believe his dedication thus far would be enough to do the fourth book in he series justice plus that book revolves around his set of skills as a director more so than any of the other novels. The problem really is The Gunslinger.*Spoiler Alert* How the hell do you start off this series and do the book justice. This cant be an adaptation unless this is truly Rolands last quest to the Tower. If that’s the case they can do what ever they want to in terms of how to pace it. Not sure if Stephen King would allow it though.

    Back to my original point though. I want to point out that this series wont do justice to the books with just one set of writers and the same director. Its like honestly asking Stephen King back in the day to finish the entire series after he finished the Gunslinger. We just simply wouldn’t of had the series we love if it happened that way. I say sign a collaboration of directors and writers to do there own books each and stick with the same director/writers for the last two books. I don’t see Ron Howard dedicating the next 7-10 years adapting this series. He is a very busy and albeit talented man but he just does way to much to do this whole thing. There is a reason JJ Abrams turned the project down, both men have similar schedules. Thank you for reading if anyone makes it this far….

  10. i could see 4 films, and 4 seasons [13-15 episodes each] out of this.make the 1st,3rd,5th, and 7th books the films, and the others the shows. whatever happens, it will be a massive undertaking for sure.

    it would also seem like the whole thing could work on AMC. look at Walking Dead. i think that would be the best place for it, if it could get a decent budget.

    • I think if they are going to do this series right for a TV show it needs to be on HBO, Showtime, or Starz. The series would need a big budget to do it right and I just don’t see AMC providing that kind of budget

  11. reminds me of elric of melnibone !

  12. Man, I am both so excited to see this post and unbelievably wary. I want to be excited for this so badly, but for the last few years, Hollywood has broken my heart over and over again with blockbuster cinema. Is there hope for this?

  13. It’s rather quite simple. Make it a 7 season show like Game of Thrones. Each book will be a season. Do 10 episodes a season. Having it released in a theater is lame anyway and is quickly becoming a dead medium. Television is the way to go especially for niche properties. They need to time to grow, expand and develop characters that people care about. One 2-hour movie for the first book is not going to cut it and will likely be a box office failure. If I’m HBO, Showtime, Netflix or Amazon, I’d go back up the truck of money to get this thing made and have another potential juggernaut.

    • Some of the seasons like Wizard and Glass and book 7 would have to be much longer than 10 episodes. I love the original back and forth idea for movies and tv series but I dont see it getting done. The Jake Chambers character alone would be extremely challenging because one way or the other its gonna take several years to complete yet he never ages from a little boy in the books. The only way this gets done is if it gets privately funded by some billionaire backer or billionaires club and they are gonna want a quick turn around with it being every one involveds main deal for several years from writers directors down to the cast and no one will do that.

      • And most of the King stuff where hes a character just needs to be cut.

        • The entire last three need to be cut, and all the flashback taken out of the fourth.
          Drunk King is awesome, sober King is not.

          He started of with a character based on Eastwoods man with no name, and was telling us a high school love story by the fourth book.

          First three books, present tense parts of the fourth only, and then make the rest up as you go!

          • Whoa the old western aspects of the flashbacks was one of my favorite things about the series. And the Wolves of the Calla was awesome.