In January we learned that Javier Bardem was the hot favorite to take the lead in Ron Howard’s screen adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. The Spanish Oscar-winner still hasn’t signed on (he's also mulling over a villain role in the next James Bond film) but the producer of epic undertaking, Brian Grazer, says that Bardem is “locked in psychologically” for the film and its follow-ups.
Bardem’s fellow Oscar winners, Christian Bale and Viggo Mortensen, were also in contention for the role of Roland Deschain, but Bardem came out as an early front-runner. Now it looks like the only thing that may stop the No Country For Old Men actor from taking the role is scheduling (and possibly salary negotiations). When Grazer was asked by MTV about The Dark Tower he said:
“Dark Tower, Javier Bardem, that's what we're hoping. We're in the process of trying to put that together.”
When he was probed if Bardem had signed onto the project he replied:
"He's locked in psychologically. He really wants to do it, so we're absolutely rooting for him to do it."
Then asked if they were thinking about any other actors for the role, the veteran producer said:
"We're really just focused on Javier right now.”
The plan to bring King’s seven-part novel series to the screen is an epic undertaking, and Grazer commented on the plan by saying:
“It’s going to go across all platforms- a movie, then a TV series, then a movie and TV series then a game to fill in all the pieces. It’s probably challenging just to capture all of it, the density of it."
Grazer went on to say that he was excited by the metaphors of the novel and bringing them to the screen in the first film – The Gunslinger.
King’s first book in The Dark Tower series was published in 1982, and the final volume came out in 2004. The series - which has a mix of inspirations including Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns (with Clint Eastwood) and The Lord of the Rings - has a devout following who want the adaptations to be done right. Howard, when on form, can deliver the goods in a variety of genres – fantasy (Willow), action (Backdraft, Ransom) and science fiction (Cocoon). However, he can also be too slavish to source material (see: his adaptation of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code) so it will be interesting to see if the Oscar-winning director will be firing on all cylinders when he tackles King's complex work.
It appears that no stone will be left unturned to not only make The Dark Tower a big screen spectacle, but also an event which television viewers and gamers can also participate in. The Dark Tower could be a industry “game changer” in terms of its multimedia scope, but we will have to wait until after 2013 to see if it really does change the way that we view entertainment.