Javier Bardem Locked In For ‘Dark Tower’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:30 pm,

At the beginning of the year it was announced that Universal Pictures had tapped actor Javier Bardem to star in the adaptation of The Dark Tower, the 7-novel sci-fi/fantasy/western series by acclaimed author Stephen King.

Since that initial announcement, we’ve seen Bardem slowly circling the massive and ambitious project, with producer Brian Grazer promising us just last month that the actor was “psychologically locked” for the role, and would soon sign on the dotted line.

Well, today Deadline is reporting that Bardem’s commitment to Dark Tower has gone from psychological to contractual; the Oscar-winning actor is in final negotiations to play Roland Deschain, the last living member of a “knightly order of gunslingers” who must save his world by journeying to find the titular Dark Tower. King’s novel series blended elements of westerns, sci-fi and fantasy genres, and has become something of a cult-hit amongst readers.

If you’re wondering why this deal with Bardem has been so long in the making – it’s because the actor has a lot to consider before agreeing to the massive commitment that this franchise will require of him. Universal has plans to spread King’s epic adventure out over three films, with limited-run Dark Tower TV series premiering in between each film. Bardem would be required to play Roland on both the big and small screens, over the course of the next few years (if not a half decade).

Obviously for an actor as talented as Bardem – who recently received his third Oscar nomination for Biutiful, might play the villain in the next James Bond film, and snagged a role in the next Terrence Malick film – this is no small commitment. But according to Deadline, the money is on the table to help sway him.

The first Dark Tower movie goes into production in September. Ron Howard will direct the film, based on a script by writer/producer/director Akiva Goldsman (Fringe, I Am Legend). Howard and Goldsman will also direct and write the first TV series, respectively.

RolandDeschain Javier Bardem Locked In For Dark Tower

Roland Deschain in ‘The Dark Tower’.

Bardem was always a good choice to play Roland (as evidenced by his No Country For Old Men performance) and I’m glad they were able to lure him to the franchise. The scope of what’s being attempted with this project is unprecedented: the powers behind it actually care about building a cinematic universe that retains its continuity and quality across multiple platforms.

That’s a bold move in an age where multi-platform projects often consist of questionable films first, and then second-rate TV spinoffs, books and or video games (TRON, looking at you…). For now, it looks like The Dark Tower franchise will be attempting to set a new standard about how cross-platform franchise are done. Here’s hoping it turns out well.

We’ll keep you updated, as more casting and production updates about The Dark Tower are likely to come soon.

Source: Deadline

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  1. Meh, I always thought someone like Viggo Mortensen or Daniel Craig would have been a better choice. I’ll probably still see it. This does most likely mean Bardem is out of contention for Bond 23 and IMO that is a good thing.

    • Dude, why hate?

      • It’s not hate. I have nothing against him as an actor at all, I just didnt want to see him in a Bond film and I think there were better choices for Roland. Notice, that I did say, “I’ll probably still see it”

      • See”?! He poo-poos everything!

        ;) j/k

        Javier would be great!

  2. Cool, but I wish Viggo Mortensen got the role, Javier Bardem is great also

  3. Ijust had a geek-gasim!!! :D

  4. I love The Dark Tower Series. One of my favorite sci-fi/fantasy series of all time. I am unsure however, how well it will translate to the screen. In my mind, the dialogue of the series would not cross over well. I hope the they rely on King for some advise. I hope it turns out well.

    • I don’t know about that… bringing King himself in. I mean, he’s an awesome author and its just about impossible for me to put one of his books down once I’ve started earnestly into it but, and this is important, screenplays of his works are extremely hit and miss imo.
      I hope that they managed the tightrope walk too, Talby16. I really do. :-S

  5. A little worried about the writer since the job done to I Am Legend was horrible. But completely excited for Javier. These books are amazing and I can’t wait to see this universe unfold. Gotta get through the rest of the series. 2.5 books down…. 9 years to go.

    • SteveE

      Do the auido books. They’re a life send and you fly through them. I used to have a 2 hour commute everyday and would listen on the drive. I also listened before bed, while exercising, doing the dishes… basically anytime I didn’t need my ears for anything else. :) They’re so addicting!!!

      You should check them out.

      • I only joke taking 9 years since the series is so damn long. I am going through it at a 1 book in 1 month pace. I enjoy reading and think hearing it may ruin it a bit for me.

      • I have listened to this series about 5 times now. I am in fact, listening to them now. I get to listen at work so I have 8 hrs a day to do so. I love this series and hope that they do a good job of bringing Rolands world to life. The only thing I don’t like about Bardem is his eyes. But, That is what contacts are for.

  6. Bardem is a great actor and definitely has the chops to play Roland,but looks nothing like how King describes the last gunslinger. That kinda ruins it for me. My choices were Daniel Day Lewis or Viggo Mortensen.

  7. Well this is just the final nail in the coffin for me. Wrong choice IMO. This and the fact that its gonna be split into two different medias, just wrong. I cannot, and will not support this.

  8. His accent is going to spoil it, unless he can get it under control. Roland wasn’t Spanish. Javier Bardem is a magnificent actor, but he is very very wrong for this role.

    I will not see it. I very rarely, if ever, care, how a book is translated into film (except Lord of the Rings, but Jackson did a phenomenal job) but The Dark Tower is epic and something very special – not just “another cool high concept money grab” that Hollywood seems to think it is.

    If I hear Stephen King come out and champion Javier Bardem, I may change my mind. Really, I’d just love King to weigh in. At this point, I don’t care to see it with Bardem, at all.

    • I feel the same way about the franchise. I’d be more than happy if they left it alone as a book series. I just feel like it can only go downhill on the big screen (though naturally I’ll have to hope otherwise, since they’re actually doing it).

      But I’m not altogether against the idea of Bardem playing Roland. In my mind, Roland appears somewhat like John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. And considering there are a ton of Hispanic roots referenced throughout the series (many words in Spanish, people wearing sombreros, things of that nature), I feel like through the years many of the characters have Hispanic blood. So Bardem fits my vision of Roland in that respect. So as long as they don’t make Roland completely Portuguese/Spanish/Mexican/[insert Hispanic culture], which I’m sure they won’t, then I think Bardem will be blending the High Speech with Spanish roots well enough.

      That’s MY take.

      • Then again, like said elsewhere, Roland has (and highly emphasized) bright blue eyes that go with his dark hair, so I don’t know what to do about that one.

      • Have you forgotten that Roland doesn’t actually speak modern English very well?

        I know its disguised in the books by the pejorative writing style of Mr King but its also blankly stated that Roland has a problem with English.. so, with only slight modification, Bardem’s accent could serve to assist in his creation of a believable Roland.

        Just my 2p worth :-/

    • if you are waiting for Stephen King to give his seal of approval, just remember that he is the same guy who approved Jamie Sheriden to play Randal Flagg, easily one of the worst casting choices in cinematic history.

  9. wonderful actor.
    wonderful story.
    wonderful director.
    im sold.

  10. Viggo was my first choice since i first read the first book years ago. But lately i thought that Liam Neeson would be another excelent choice, he is a terrific actor, very tall, and that tough guy face he has, and the age is perfect. But, whatever, there is nothing we can do now. I hope that Bardem will make a great Roland, but most important is that Howard compromise to this project and do what the fans want him to do……

    There is another thing, that im worried about…Roland has bright blue eyes….Bardem doesnt….lets hope that his eyes doesnt look like Jessica Alba´s Susan Storm….

  11. All Tron haters will burn in hell.

    • Peevie,

      Really. For disliking a movie.

      I have one word for you: perspective.


    • Is it hot in here, or do I just hate Tron?

  12. Absolutely brilliant! Though I agree with some that Bardem is not quite how I envisioned the Gunslinger Roland. How could anyone disagree he doesn’t have the ability to pull it off? NCfOM was nothing short of a masterpiece. Anton Chigurh is one of, if not the, baddest villians of the last decade. Now, as long as King is closely overseeing the project, which I am sure he will be, I am on board 100%. It is King’s magnum opus and he knows better than anyone what happens to his work when he is not involved. I think Howard and Bardem could really pull off something special here. Now how about some supporting cast?

    • wow really do you know anything about King, lol all of his movies except 2 had no input by King and the 2 he was involved in people hated, lol.

      • Wow really what R U talking about? King, himself, has written the screenplays for almost a dozen of the movies based on his work. Including Christine, Children of the Corn, Cats Eye, Pet Sematary, Creepshow ect. Boy, people sure really hated those. Huh? And he has had his seal of approval on every movie that has “Stephen King’s” before the title. Maybe you weren’t born yet when the whole Lawnmower Man lawsuit thing went down. Look it up. Really you should know what you are talking about before you criticise someone, it just makes you look stupid…lol

  13. Reading the 1st. book now (loving it so far), Bardem will play Roland perfect imo. The only thing I’m worried about is Howard. His movies can get very cheesy and these books are epic and not some popcorn movie material.

    • Howards movies get cheesy? I’ll Bite like what? I mean besides Willow I think most of his films have had a pretty serious tone to them
      Howard is the least of my worries on this project.

      • The De Vinci Code, and Angles & Demons were all cheesy, sub par movies based on books by Howard. Which makes me think Howard’s book translation is weak

        • lol, wow Howard wrote those books, lol, don’t read much do you cause it pretty well known that Dan Brown wrote those books……

          • My bad. I ment to say books by Dan Brown. I know he wrote The De Vinci Code & Angles and Demons. Simple typo

            • Typo? lol that’s something of an understatement…

              • Haha… My bad

        • ok, that whole thing looked like a typ-o to me. Ron Howard has directed a lot of movies, and they run the gambit from Splash and cocoon, to later works like Backdraft, apollo 13, frost/nixon, and A Beautiful mind. So if you just beamed in from 1985, yeah, his movies might seem a little cheesy. If you are basing Howards cinematic cheese on the Dan Brown adaptations, Ron didn’t write those, unless you think the actual directing style is cheesy. If so Id love to hear more about what constitutes cheesy directing. My point is, I’m not worried about Howard, and I’m not even worried about Bordem (mainly because they can do some pretty amazing stuff in hollywood these days, and because back in 2000 everybody was scratching their head when Viggo got the role of Aragorn, because before that I think his most recent work was playing a degenerate, paraplegic, Cuban snitch in Carlitos Way.) What worries me is Goldsmen(screenwriter)(he blows), and the ridiculously over reaching scope of the project in general. Ron Howard might be the only good thing about this project so far, and thats kinda sad.

          • I was born in 90 so, Howard’s movies have always seemed lacking in substance. Maybe I should blame Brown source material and Goldsman writing (only thing I liked that he did was I am Legend) for the cheese that was Da Vinci Code and Angles & Demons. I think Bardem will kill this roll. Dealing w/ The Dark Tower books,the scope has to be huge (like Lord of the Rings). Personally I would have liked David Fincher to do this film.His style of directing suites the books more imo.

            • David Fincher, hell yeah! I do agree that this is a huge project, even larger than LOTR. What I meant by over reaching scope, is the hopscotch from movie to tv and back. Harry Potter got one movie for each book, and it worked fine. Way easier, and far less confusing. Also, there is, and should be, a fair amount of profanity in the series, not to mention at least two key scenes of demon humping. I really hope they don’t go PG-13, but if they do have an R rating (they better!), are they going to just stop cursing for the TV parts? I really don’t want to see all the Italian gangsters in the New York scenes calling people ‘Turkey’ and ‘jerk-wad’, like watching the Sopranos on A&E. Thats what worries me…

              • I have a feeling the tv series won’t cone to pass. I don’t think the studio will risk ppl missing major plot points in the series and being confused in the theater

  14. Cool. I know some people are on the fence or just flat out against Bardem, but I think he could pull it off. I’m sure they wouldn’t cast him if he couldn’t hide his accent. Really if he’s got King’s approval that’s what really matters.

    • Sulls, this is one time where i strongly disagree. Plus King has lost his mind since his accident years ago lol.

  15. What I think sucks is that universal is doing this movie, which means we wont be seeing all the cool toys like the Light saber and the snitch from harry potter, i also hope they do have King play himself in the movie, anything but that would be just dumb

    • It would be cool to see King Play himself. Unfortunately, hes in his 70s nowadays, and the time frame in the books visits him first in his late 30s. and then in his 50s? I might be off a bit on that, but my point is, I think he’s way too old to be aged down on the screen, unlike Tom Cruise who is pushing 50, and still looks about 35.

      • incidentally, not many people know that King had himself a little cameo in season 3 of Sons of Anarchy, he played a biker who specializes in corpse disposal. He only has three or four lines, but its the most acting I’ve ever seen from him, and he kinda kicked ass. He didn’t overplay it, or underplay it, but gave it just the right amount of creepy. mostly it was just cool to see him walk around in a biker jacket swigging a beer and talking like a hard ass.

  16. This is what King Had to say about the Movie…http://www.darktowermovies.com/20100912/stephen-king-on-ron-howards-adaptation/

    • Link doesn’t work. Repost?

      • copy/paste works fine :)

        • Not on a mobile device :). But I figured it out.

  17. Sounds like this is going to be a great movie, Ron Howard and Javier Bardem….see you at the midnight showing.

  18. Javier Bardem and Stephen King? Color me interested.

  19. All I got to say is I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

  20. I say that all these writers get movie adaptions for their books but what about David Gemmel, he was the King of Heroic fantasy! With a multitude of book both independent and trilogys. FML come on hollywood open your eyes to greatness its on the shelves of every library! You got morals, character develpment everything! Far out you just have to cut and paste the plot basicly. Enough ranting now haha

  21. Javier Bardem is a great actor, but he is NOT Roland of Gilead.

  22. Where are the pictures in the article from? If they are what Roland is supposed to look like Javier Bardem was cast perfectly.

  23. And whatabout his eyes then?

    Not a good choice at all.

    • They can digitally change that or even use contacts, not a big deal I don’t think.

  24. i love javier but not for this role sorry

    • The question should be can he accuratly portray the character and I think he can.

  25. oh no. i am not a decades-long Dark Tower fan, i only read the first book 2 months ago but have been reading them ever since; am now on Song of Susannah; but NOT Javier Bardem. TERRIBLE call. i was hoping for Stephen Moyer (Bill in True Blood) or someone with that look. this guy is probably a great actor, but he is not Roland. i’m already disappointed. sadface.

  26. For me, no other Roland more than Viggo. Viggo Mortensen fits perfectly into the shoes of the great gunslinger Roland Deschain. He is the best choice…

  27. Thank goodness its not Russell crow