The sprawling western-fantasy world of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower – the first book, The Gunslinger, was written in 1982 – has faced a long walk to the cinema. Over half a decade ago, Ron Howard and Brian Glazer sought to create a multimedia series, spanning films and TV, based on King’s saga. After running through a string of interested studios, the tale of Roland Deschain’s lineage finally found a home at Sony/MCR for the first of possibly many Dark Tower-related movies.
Recent developments brought scripters Akiva Goldsman (I Am Legend) and Jeff Pinker (Amazing Spider-Man 2) and a director (Nikolaj Arcel) into the folds of the project. Picking up momentum (and a rewrite by Arcel and Danish director Anders Thomas Jensen), The Dark Tower currently has a January 2017 release date. At one point, Javier Bardem and Aaron Paul were rumored to be circling the project. Most recently, though, Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba were reportedly in talks with Sony. And now, word of mouth from the author himself says the project is moving forward.
Speaking with Rolling Stone yesterday, prolific novelist Stephen King indicated that the Dark Tower adaption – and potential sequels – is moving forward. “It looks to me like it's more likely than not it'll happen at this point,” King says, cautiously optimistic, in the interview. He also notes the possibility of Elba and McConaughey in the upcoming project:
“I can't say with any certainty. I know that they're trying to make deals with these actors [and] with Sony, and that's the extent of my knowledge.”
King also dropped another nugget for fans of the book series – which last modified in 2012 with The Wind Through the Keyhole, a fable occurring between the fourth (Wizard and Glass) and fifth (Wolves of the Calla) books in the series. He’s claimed before that his saga is unending; at least to the degree it has so many potential worlds built into its multidimensional storyline. And in that way, he may continue to work on the series indefinitely, at least on the back burner. King reveals about his epic series:
“By the time I got to the fifth or sixth book, I'm thinking to myself, 'This is really all one novel.' It drives me crazy. The thing is to try to find the time to rewrite them. There's a missing element – a big battle at a place called Jericho Hill. And that whole thing should be written; I've thought about it several times, and I don't know how to get into it.”
Both the continuation in the book series and the forward momentum on the series come as good news for the film. The legend King unspooled in the Dark Tower series consist of a richly developed world filled with dark, spaghetti western tropes, Tolkien-inspired fantasy, disjointed temporal landscapes, and even a modified language in ‘High Speech.’ Its heroes and villains were iconic and yet relatable, having that wonderfully nuanced grayness which King’s characters are usually endowed with. His willingness to potentially continue with his saga, combined with Hollywood’s lust for the next expansive cinematic project, could unleash a vast cinematic landscape, even opening up a possible shared familial universe.
Unfortunately, although he pulls a lot of weight, Stephen King is merely running alongside the film adaption at this point. Sony and MCR may very well alter the release date, choose to hire different leads, and even shelve the entire project – although they’d be foolish to do so now. Since Elba and McConaughey would be excellent choices for in their respective roles of gunslinger Deschain and villain Randall Flagg, hopefully King’s gut is right on this one. Fans of The Dark Tower have waited a long time for it to burst onto the big screen (or any screen).
The Dark Tower is currently scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on January 13th, 2017. We'll let you know if (when?) that changes.
Source: Rolling Stone