Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer's ambitious project, The Dark Tower - which called for Stephen King's best-selling mythological saga to be adapted into a film trilogy and television series - collapsed this past summer, due primarily to Universal's concerns about the costs of the duo's cinematic endeavor.
However, just like Disney's Lone Ranger movie returned from the dead recently, Dark Tower could be back on its feet for similar reasons - namely, the producers/creative minds behind the latter project have found a way to significantly lower the budget and address certain "creative concerns."
Two of the main Dark Tower players moved on to other big projects after the King adaptation fell into development limbo: Ron Howard is currently shooting Rush and star Javier Bardem is set to begin work on the 23rd James Bond movie next month. All the same, Grazer is indicating that there's been significant progress made on lowering the Dark Tower's costs - and revising some thematic issues that involve the (seemingly, ultimate) conclusion to the franchise.
“We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget [for 'The Dark Tower'] without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending. In the $140 million draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying. Now, we’ve got $45 million, $50 million out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.”
For those not familiar with King's Dark Tower saga: The author began writing his fantastical allegorical saga back in 1982 (starting with the first book, subtitled "The Gunslinger") and has averaged releasing a new installment every five years since - with an eighth entry due out next year.
Here is a semi-official synopsis for the first of King's Dark Tower novels:
"The Gunslinger" introduces protagonist Roland [Deschain] as he pursues the Man in Black through bleak and tired landscapes in a world that has "moved on." Roland believes that the Man in Black knows and can be made to reveal the secrets of the Dark Tower, which is the ultimate goal of Roland's quest. The Waste Lands sees Roland and his fellow travelers continuing the quest for the Dark Tower. They journey through imaginative landscapes, over astounding obstacles, and meet with and confront a unique and fully drawn cast of characters, both human and nonhuman.
The Dark Tower is certainly the sort of vast-reaching epic that could be brought to life in fittingly grand form via a big-budget studio production - with a powerhouse actor like Bardem (who remains attached to play a somewhat older version of Roland Deschain) in the lead. However, seeing how King's original literature hasn't actually reached a true conclusion yet, there might be mixed feelings about Grazer's promise of a new "satisfying ending" being devised for the movie/TV adaptation.
If the budget has indeed been lowered as much as Grazer says, then we'll probably be seeing at least one Dark Tower movie come to fruition. From thereon out, it'll depend largely on how well that film does at the box office - and how receptive fans are to the final product - before it becomes safe to say that more films (and a television series) are definitely also on the way.
We will continue to keep you updated on the status of The Dark Tower.
Source: The Playlist