Ron Howard’s ‘The Dark Tower’ Adaptation Still Alive

Published 2 years ago by

DarkTower3 Ron Howards The Dark Tower Adaptation Still Alive

It suddenly seems like Stephen King adaptations are everywhere. The Carrie remake and the TV adaptation of Under The Dome are on the way; Bad Robot might adapt the time travel novel 11/22/63 for TV; we’re getting not just King’s own sequel to The Shining, but a possible movie prequel as well; and finally, the film adaptation of King’s (not quite a) zombie novel Cell now has a director.

Still, there is one major looming property still waiting on the sidelines: director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman’s wildly ambitious film/TV adaptation of the seven-novel series The Dark Tower.

Having been in and out of development hell for years now, Deadline reports that the project has been pared down from its original size.

Russell Crowe in The Dark Tower Ron Howards The Dark Tower Adaptation Still Alive

Initially envisioned as a film trilogy (with each film likely topping three hours – these are big books) augmented by a TV series between each film, Media Rights Capital has taken on the project as a standalone film starring Russell Crowe as The Gungslinger (the title of the first novel), with other installments to follow based on the success of the first.

Still, while it has been reported that MRC is “committed” to this plan, Grazer also mentioned “a Silicon Valley investor” who might be willing to fund the initial cross-platform plan.

In the past year or so, first Universal and then Warner Bros. passed on the project. Big names like Javier Bardem (who had signed on at one point) and Crowe have been willing to play the lead role of Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger in a world full of magic, doorways to parallel dimensions and psychotically sentient monorails trains, but one big star is clearly not enough to inspire much studio confidence in a production of this scale.

As expensive franchise attempts such as John Carter and Green Lantern have lost been flops, it’s not a shock to see financiers – as intrigued by the premise and built-in fanbase as they may be – wanting to take this saga one step at a time.

DarkTower2 Ron Howards The Dark Tower Adaptation Still Alive

Die-hard Dark Tower fans could barely contain themselves between each book (with Stephen King deciding to write the last three of the series in a row, just to have it finished within his lifetime), and have clamored for this adaptation for a long time.

Howard and Grazer’s grand vision for this would certainly do the story justice, since King has called it his “Jupiter.” The Dark Tower saga seems to contain much of King’s other fiction; story threads cross over into over a dozen other novels, novellas and short story collections, include The Stand and ‘Salem’s Lot. The time-and-dimension-spanning scope of The Dark Tower redefines the word epic. 

The hesitation of the big studios, while understandable, may in fact present a failure to see the big, long-term picture within Howard and Grazer’s idea. The potential for spin-offs, across a variety of different media, is truly exciting.

The Dark Tower is a Western, a fantasy adventure, a romance, an epic quest for redemption, a time travel story, and on and on. It takes place in various different versions of New York City and across America, as well as in a fantastic realm called Mid-World which has “moved on,” and yet remains a dark, almost perverse reflection of our own world.

dark tower adaptation Ron Howards The Dark Tower Adaptation Still Alive

Beyond a film trilogy and limited-run TV series, there is the potential for even an Arrested Development-like VOD model, wherein multiple standalone stories taking place in this universe could premiere at once, all while the main story progresses on a different platform.

It is heartening to see that this project still has a pulse. If Howard and Grazer could pull this off, (and while Howard’s one Western entry, 2003′s The Missing, had its flaws, he nailed the right tone for at least the first entry in The Dark Tower series), they could a game-changer on the level of Game of Thrones: an epic tale that would please hardcore fans while capturing the imagination of all new ones. Still, focusing on just the first chapter would force the filmmakers to focus on perfecting their introduction to the story before expanding too soon.


Stay tuned for more news on The Dark Tower saga as details emerge. In the meantime, Under the Dome will begin its 13-episode run on CBS on June 24th, 2013 and Carrie opens in theaters on October 18th, 2013.

Source: Deadline

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I read these books and loved them I personally
    Think Brad Pitt could play Roland and as far as TV series that would f*** up everything, HBO would be the only justice king would receive l feel the same way about IT, HBO mother f*****s or let Zack Snyder have mid world.

  2. No way, not Russell Crowe. He is all wrong for Roland!! Who on earth would even cast him?? Obviously someone who has never read the books. What a disappointing choice he would be. I can’t imagine what his pay would do to what would have to be a huge budget anyway. Now I have to say, I wouldn’t have thought of him but Viggo Mortensen would make a fantastic Roland!! What an interesting choice. I think he would fit the role perfectly. I can even hear his voice saying “Thankee Sai” I can certainly picture him as Roland Deschain. Josh Holloway would be a great choice as well.I could picture him and I really think he would fit the bill quite nicely. Even Dylan McDermott or Daniel Craig could be interesting.Actually I just thought of someone that would be really good as Roland, that would be Jim Caviezel he would be a great wild card pick and would give the role some depth.However, I’m just not crazy about Javier Bardem at all.He just doesn’t fit my picture of Roland. I never thought of Roland as Spanish.With all of the actors I have just listed that I think could be a good fit, I just can’t even fathom where anyone who read the same books that I did came up With Russell Crowe!! Maybe since Russell’s such a hefty guy, he could play Blaine the Monorail or something. :))

  3. Russell Crowe is considerable. Brad Pitt is a horrible idea. He’s a great actor, but he isn’t Roland worthy. I wish Clint Eastwood could do it.Viggo Mortensen would actually be pretty close to Roland’s external features.I know the movie has potential to make millions. I can see Jake and Oy becoming favorites by the younger audience. This series has so much potential. I just hope someone sees that, and makes it one of the greatest films of all time.

  4. Please god dont let them put russell crowe as Roland…

    The ONLY way these films would be good is for them to cast unknown, or relatively unknown, actors. Maybe a few famous faces thrown in for good bit parts, i can easily imagine Morgan Freeman playing Moses Carver for example. I think throwing a big name in the lead of these films would just kill it, especially Russel Crowe, he simply does NOT fit the bill.

  5. I gotta agree with these guys. When I read the tales, I only could see Eastwood. Too bad hes not 20years younger, huh? As for Viggo Mortenson, I think thats an excellent idea! Neither Crowe or Bardem are Roland type. Id rather wait another 20yrs than see it ruined by a lack of charismatic and dedicated actors that,coyld take us all back again. Tv series sounds like a joke to us fans. We are ka-tet, and one of many.

  6. And the guy that played “the trashcan man” in The Stand can be Basher. Lol

  7. ‘The Dark Tower’ would make a fantastic movie franchise (especially if they follow through on their reported plans of interspersing material via intermittent television series to run between the theatrical releases – as this is one story which needs more than your run-of-the-mill trilogy format in which to tell the story in its approximate entirety).

    What ample opportunity abounds here for an eclectic & talented ensemble cast to be put together? Roland Deschain (Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale), Susannah/Detta Walker (Zoe Saldana, Kerry Washington), Eddie Dean (Casey Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg), Jake (Asa Butterfield), The Man in Black (Samuel L. Jackson), Cuthbert, Jamie Red-Hand, Oy (albeit, CGI-generated), Susan Delgado, Tick-Tock Man, Gasher, Blaine the Mono (voice-over) – the list is ridiculously long and could be filled with an absurdly-potent mix of veteran actors/actresses and emerging-talents.

    The cross-genre elements (Western, SciFi, Horror, Action/Adventure, etc.) open the door to a much wider audience base, and the built-in core readership makes for great social/viral marketing opportunities as well.

    However, I can’t help but feel that Ron Howard as the director is a terrible, terrible choice.

    He is, in my opinion, far too lackluster in his directorial style, with a boring and severely ‘vanilla’ eye towards even the elements in a screenplay which are meant to be fantastical in nature and scope. In my mind, he tends to turn every scene into a emotionally-divorced conversation between a long-married couple over black coffee and dry white toast. This is the director, lest we forget, who turned the Indiana Jones-esque character of Robert Langdon (‘Davinci Code’ & ‘Angels & Demons’) into a soft, aging, pudgy, curly-headed high school Humanities teacher-looking sex-appeal orphan by casting Tom Hanks to play the lead role. An all-out bestselling book (‘Davinci Code’) which took the world by controversial storm, and which was then turned into a movie that even the most die-hard of devotees to the literary form did their best to immediately forget. From my point of view, it was only after Mr. Howard’s ‘film abortion’ was released (to generally yawning reviews) that much of the fervor surrounding the book, the author, and the ideas espoused therein began to wither from public consciousness – and with a vengeance.

    A much better choice would be Zach Snyder (‘Man Of Steel’, ‘Sucker Punch’, ‘Watchmen’, ’300′, ‘Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga-Hoole’) – who can bring out moving & nuanced performances from the actors in his employ all while producing visually exciting material with trademarked (unique and memorable – beautiful, even) panache.

    Of course, you could also look at other directors with success at handling blockbuster material and grand ‘dreamscapes’ like the Wachowskis (‘Cloud Atlas’, ‘Matrix’), Guillermo Del Toro (‘Hell Boy’, ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’), Alfonso Cuaron (‘Children of Men’, ‘Gravity’), J.J. Abrams (‘Super 8′, ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’), Joss Whedon (‘Avengers’, ‘Serenity’), and Peter Jackson (‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy, ‘King Kong’) coming ever-so-quickly to mind.

    Here’s a chance to finally take one of Mr. King’s best works and make it a celebration of both his storytelling ability and the endlessly-inventive & self-refreshing medium of movie-making.

    • Roland- Viggo Mortensen, Jake- Ty Simpkins… those are two most important roles for the first movie… Vigo played in The Road, most of the movie with child actor… they made good father son chemistry, and u have similiar situation in Gunslinger…