Ron Howard ‘Can’t Stop Thinking’ About The Dark Tower

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

the dark tower stephen king movie Ron Howard Cant Stop Thinking About The Dark Tower

Stephen King is an incredibly prolific author, having written over 150 novels, short stories, screenplays and graphic novels over the course of his life. From brilliant horror literature like The Shining to poignant coming-of-age tales like Stand by Me (written as The Body), it sometimes boggles the mind to consider just how many important cultural touchstones King has delivered during his career.

The works that speak to King’s imagination best must certainly be the books in the author’s epic sci-fi/fantasy series, The Dark Tower. Not only does the series span seven novels (with an eighth on the way), but it also touches on many of King’s other books and stories, serving as a linchpin to the entire universe King has created through his body of work. (There’s even a whole Wikipedia article dedicated to the connections between The Dark Tower and other Stephen King books.)

When you factor in the graphic novel series, and the upcoming Dark Tower movie and TV series, it’s easy to see that this franchise is King’s greatest (or at least biggest) achievement. It’s no wonder then that director Ron Howard stays up at nights wondering exactly how he’s going to make it all work.

Late last week in an article for the Los Angeles Times, Howard spoke about the challenges of bringing King’s epic work to the big screen and then to the small screen and then to the big screen again. The lengthy article gives an update on the progress of the production of the film and TV series, but we covered that in our Weekend Wrap-Up already. What was more interesting was hearing Howard’s reverence for the material.

Acknowledging the challenge, he and producer Akiva Goldsman (pictured above right) have in bringing the series to life on the big screen, Howard said he “can’t stop thinking” about the project.

“We’ve been meeting and talking and I’ve been reading and researching and just kind of living with it. I’ve been constantly going through stuff and I’ve just been re-listening to it [on audio books] on my iPod and we’ve been sending e-mails back and forth, ‘What about this approach? What do you think of this idea?’ We’re finding the shape of it. We’re moving quickly now, as quickly as we can, and I feel challenged in the most exciting ways.”

Howard also revealed that, despite his success in bringing other massively popular novels to the big screen (the Dan Brown thrillers The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons), the sheer scope of The Dark Tower‘s mythology makes this different.

“[The Da Vinci Code] was about getting the story and the action and focusing on acting. With this, there’s this entire world and all of these references and there are the books and the graphic novels and just talking to Stephen and it’s all this ongoing conversation with the material and it’s really exciting. In all of it, he leaves a lot open to interpretation and so it gives a great deal of latitude.”

Howard said that the grandness of King’s work wouldn’t be a focus of the project however, and that they would be trying to keep it simple. Perhaps the biggest issue Howard faces is casting the lead role of Roland the Gunslinger. Howard discussed how Dark Tower fan websites want Viggo Mortensen for the role, and he also confirmed some additional rumored contenders for the part, including Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Jon Hamm (whose superlative work in Mad Men also has the actor rumored to play Superman).

The Dark Tower by Stephen King Ron Howard Cant Stop Thinking About The Dark Tower

Given that the film hasn’t even been officially green-lit, there are still a ton of pieces that need to fall into place before The Dark Tower can really start rolling toward its 2013 release date. Considering Ron Howard’s infectious enthusiasm for the project, however, it seems like the project could really break the mold in a lot of interesting ways.

I know there are a ton of Stephen King fans among Screen Rant readers (why else would a simple story about a Firestarter reboot get over 80 comments), so let’s hear what you think of Ron Howard’s approach to the material. While you’re at it, let’s figure out exactly who should play Roland. Are you on the Viggo Mortensen bandwagon too?

Source: LA Times

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  1. Part of me pity’s Howard for this task. No matter how well he does, so much of the story will need to be omitted that you know that most “Dark Tower” fans will never be completely satisfied.

    I do think the story might benefit from the process, though. I enjoyed the series, but King would have benefited from more editing, especially in the last four books. He gets too caught up in the journey sometimes.

  2. The man in black fled across the desert. And Ron Howard Followed. :) So I am a huge fan of this series. I can’t wait to see it on screen. I am really hoping that they can do this series justice. If anybody can, I believe it will be Ron Howard. As far as the casting of Roland. I like Viggo but if they are going to mix this with a TV series, I would have to say that Hamm would be the man for the Job. I really liked all of his pics with the exception of Daniel Craig. I just don’t think he really has the look for it. He only has the eyes. Hugh Jackman would work pretty well. When I was reading them I have always pictured Christian Bale or Russell Crowe. They both have the look and they are good actors. Crowe is a jerk so I would rather have Bale.
    My main problem with them making a movie with a tie in series. The casting of Jake Chambers. He is supposed to be 11 yrs old through the whole series. That means they will have to record him and green screen him through most of it or they will have several different actors playing him. That will suck.
    Howard has got his work cut out for him but I cannot wait for this series to get started.

    • Sorry, I just gotta point something out – you don’t want Crowe to play roland because he’s a jerk… so you prefer Bale? The man who assaulted his family on christmas eve or something to that nature? He has been in just as many brawls as Crowe has (makin movies making songs, fightin’ round the world!).

      I always thought of Viggo – he can play a man who is tired, modest, and deeply saddened as we saw him do with Aragorn. He also fits the physical description -Jackman, Craig, and Bale (most of the time) have very built, muscular bodies, but the books described Roland as strong but somewhat skinny and lanky. Viggo can play tough without having to really look like it.

      I agree with your comments about Jake… that’s gonna be a tough obstacle.

      • Not only did Bale assault his own mother, he also nearly killed somebody on the set of Terminator: Salvation, hah. He even admitted to not being a “nice guy” and I almost think he actually relishes in being seen as somebody not to be trifled with.

        As for Jake, they do have special effects designed to make/keep somebody young-looking. I wouldn’t think it would be a bigger challenge than de-aging a 60-year old man.

        • So, Christian Bale assaulted his family on Christmas Eve? He almost killed someone on the set of Terminator Salvation? Those are pretty serious accusations. Do you have proof beyond a reasonable doubt about charges, besides something you dug out of the National Enquirer, or some other sleazy tabloid? These statements are slanderous lies, and frankly, they disgust me.

          • They are not “slanderous lies” as you put it, as there is in fact proof. There is video of him on the Terminator set. He did not almost kill the guy, but it was bad enough. Also, as far as the thing with his family goes, he was ACTUALLY arrested for assulting his mother. It is public record. Look it all up. It’s very easy to find. And it wasn’t just in the tabloids. It was a BIG deal on every news channel. I’m amazed at how you missed it. Do your research before you attack someone.

              • thank you, yakkusa! well put – esp “I think most of us can agree that if we walked around with a microphone on, many of us would be recorded going ballistic on somebody. Does that make us all bad people?”

                glass houses and stones and all that :)

  3. I honestly can’t understand why Preacher hasn’t even been setup for any ore-production. This is a huge gamble for Howard and King. The only good adaptations from Kings work are short stories i.e. The Mist, Secret Window etc…it would be awesome if they could pull this off but wierdly enough there is too much source material. I doubt they plan to pull a Harry Potter and make 69 films!

  4. This will be an extreme challenge. Not only casting Roland, which is hard for me to imagine anyone that fits my mental image of him. But also with the casting of Jake like Tater said. He is the same age the whole series.

    Also come to mind of casting for the fourth book which is mostly Roland’s back story when he was a young gunslinger.

    So many hills to climb in making this as great as the novels.

  5. well in my opinion roland has always been based off clint eastwoods the man with no name. blondie. it needs to bee somone with that silence and intimidation and honestly i cant think of anyone with those qualities.

  6. This could work. Howard was able to make cinematic sense of “A Beautiful Mind”.

    This story has the same type of challenges just from a narrative standpoint when the viewer starts flipping between worlds/time frames.

    I like Viggo for the casting of Roland or if they could do a cgi Steve McQueen that looked believable, I would be down for that too. Reading the books, for some reason I pictured McQueen since, like Eastwood, he had the ability to convey so much while speaking so little.

  7. I’m sort of tired of Hugh Jackman, even though he did remind me of a young Clint Eastwood in the first X-Men movie, but, I’m actually hoping it’ll be somebody else. I’d much prefer Viggo Mortensen.

    No real problem with Ron Howard directing. A man can surprise. And since they do have Mr. Stephen King as consultant, I won’t gripe about whatever they take out.

  8. after watching Clive Owen in Sin city i thought he had that weathered hard look with the eyes of a gunslinger. Could be a fun fit.

  9. How about a lesser known, yet high quality actor. Instead of the typical A list actors. All good actors, but over used.

  10. I actually hadn’t considered Viggo before. Although the more I consider it, the more it makes sense. I think he’s an excellent choice.

  11. Sorry but the sheer epicness of this series can’t be portrayed in any way other than a readers imagination. I hate it when really good books are turned into poor films. You can never really rediscover the way you imagined it once you’ve seen someone else’s interpretation.

  12. Viggo Mortensen

  13. I’m from Turkey and one of the biggest fan of stephen king. its to late to be Roland for Viggo Mortensen after Lotr. I prefer Jon Hamm or Hugh Jackman. And Evan Rachel Wood must play as Susan Delgado- i even cant imagine someone else.

  14. I would be extremely upset with with any of those choices. I do not want to see Aragorn running around, I’ve never seen a Jackman movie where he plays a character that remotely fits this bill, the other two are laughable, and Crowe and Bale have become too clichè it seems. No, there is only one that could pull it off and pull it off perfectly and that’s Daniel Day-Lewis.