Director Ron Howard’s adaptation of the Stephen King book series The Dark Tower has had an incredibly rough development process. Given the sprawling nature of the book series, Howard, producer Brian Grazer, and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman planned an ambitious adaptation that would play out over three feature films and two limited seasons of a TV series. Howard first set the project up at Universal with Javier Bardem in talks to take on the lead role of Roland Deschain, but as development progressed and the budget swelled, Universal got cold feet and pushed the production start date back just a few months before filming was poised to begin.
Though Howard, Grazer, and Goldsman worked to try and make the budget for The Dark Tower manageable, Universal ultimately decided to drop the project altogether. Warner Bros. flirted with the idea of producing the project before passing as well, and last we heard Media Rights Capital was in “serious talks” to finance the project. While we haven’t heard much about The Dark Tower in the meantime, Netflix Chief Creative Offficer Ted Sarandos recently revealed that he has had discussions with Howard about The Dark Tower on Netflix. Hit the jump for more.
It was a little more than two weeks ago that we brought you the sobering news that Imagine’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series had a go/no-go deadline looming. That deadline has now come and gone and it looks as if Warner Bros. has passed. This comes as yet another setback to the project, which has seen its share of woes: being let go by Universal, several budgetary concerns and difficulty landing a lead. The latest iteration of the script from Akiva Goldsman had Russell Crowe showing an interest if the project were to be greenlit. Sadly, that did not happen at Warner Bros. But there may yet be hope for Roland Deschain and director/producer Ron Howard. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: Deadline reports that Media Rights Capital is in "serious talks" to finance the project, in part because MRC executive Modi Wiczyk is apparently a big fan of the books. The original story follows after the jump.]
When last we reported on the beleaguered adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, it was to tell you that the property had moved from Universal to Warner Bros. and that principal actor Javier Bardem may have been lost in the transition. Now we have word that Russell Crowe is in talks to star as the gunslinger, Roland Deschain. There’s no deal currently inked out, but the studio will be factoring Crowe’s involvement with the picture into their decision on whether or not to greenlight the film at all. Here’s the rub: the yay or nay will come within the next two weeks. Much more on the latest developments surrounding The Dark Tower after the jump.
Fans of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic epic The Dark Tower will be happy to hear that the troubled film adaptation has some new life at a new studio. We have reports that Warner Bros. is close to a deal that would give the go-ahead on the project with Ron Howard directing at least the first film. Javier Bardem has also been mentioned as possibly starring as gunslinger Roland Deschain. After Universal passed on Howard’s script last summer, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and producer Brian Grazer toyed with the idea of turning the property into a television series and made significant budget cuts to get the project moving. With the TV series set up at HBO, it was up to Howard and Grazer to find a home for the feature. It looks like that’s got some legs now, as Warner Bros. is paying Goldsman to do a polish on his script. While Bardem was previously attached when the picture was at Universal, his involvement going forward will depend on his availability. Projections have the film slated to begin production in early 2013. Hit the jump for more on The Dark Tower.
Ron Howard is currently at work on the Formula One racing drama Rush. The movie is based on the true story of the 1970s rivalry between Austrian driver Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Brühl) and British driver James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Howard recently spoke about how he’s going to try to sell Formula One to an American audience, which prefers NASCAR. My pitch would be, “Hey! Do you want to see what happens when the cars don’t have to go in a circle for ten hours? Do you want to see racing that’s far more dangerous? Then come see Rush!” Howard has a slightly more sophisticated approach and it’s one that I find slightly encouraging.
Hit the jump for what Howard had to say about Rush as well as an update on his epic adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower.
Just a couple days ago we got word from producer Brian Grazer that $45-50 million had been cut from the budget for the adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower to make it more appealing to studios. While Grazer and director Ron Howard are still looking for a place to set up the film portion of the adaptation, we can’t forget that the ambitious project also calls for a couple seasons of television between three planned films. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like that side of the deal has been hard to set up as Grazer recently spoke with MTV and said, “We’re going to do [The Dark Tower] with HBO. We’ll do the TV with HBO, and we’ll do the movie with… to be determined. We’ll do it right.” Seems like the best home for material like this, that way there aren’t any restrictions as to the violence, language, etc. No details as were offered as to just how long each season will be or anything like that, but it sounds like we might get some solid information sooner than later so stay tuned.
If you’re unfamiliar with The Dark Tower, hit the jump for a synopsis.
This past summer, Universal passed on Ron Howard‘s ambitious adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower. Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and producer Brian Grazer planned to turn the series of novels into a trilogy tied together with a TV series. Javier Bardem was attached to star in the movies and the second season of the television series (the first season would have been flashbacks and a younger actor would play Bardem’s character, Roland Deschain). The studio and the creative team wrangled with the budget all summer. In June, Grazer and Howard were optimistic that they had lowered the budget to a point where the movie and TV series could go into production. However, Universal continued to balk at the price-tag.
Grazer now says they’ve shaved off $45-50 million, gotten a better ending as a result, and is confident that the movie will get made. Hit the jump for more.
It may have been too good to be true. After first committing to an incredibly ambitious adaptation of Stephen King’s series The Dark Tower that spanned three films and two seasons of a TV show, Universal put the brakes on the project asking director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman to scale the project down to make for a more feasible budget. The summer start date was pushed back to early next year while everyone involved worked to bring the budget down.
Well now it looks like the new version of the adaptation wasn’t scaled-down enough, as Universal has passed on financing the ambitious undertaking. Hit the jump for the details.
To say Ron Howard’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is ambitious is a bit of an understatement. When the project was first announced, it was hard to believe that something like that could get made in this budget-conscious age. Howard and producer Brian Grazer’s plan for The Dark Tower was to make three films and two seasons of a TV show, with the TV components bridging the gap between the larger-scale films. When it actually looked like this crazy concoction might happen, Universal pulled the production start-date (which was supposed to be this fall) and was working with Howard and co. to bring the budget down.
While some fans were concerned that the whole project may be waylaid, Howard and Grazer recently sat down to talk about the adaptation and they seem quite optimistic, stating that screenwriter Akiva Goldsman is now at work rewriting his screenplays to bring the budget down. Hit the jump to see what else the producing duo had to say about The Dark Tower.
As co-executive producer/writer on the alien invasion drama Falling Skies, Mark Verheiden certainly has the sci-fi background and credibility to bring the highly-anticipated series to life, having served as a writer/co-executive producer for three seasons on Battlestar Galactica, a consulting producer/writer for Seasons 3 and 4 of Heroes, and a writer/co-executive producer for the first three seasons of Smallville, along with writing the feature film screenplays for Timecop and The Mask, and various graphic novels. Stepping in for Graham Yost, who had to return to the FX series Justified after the pilot had been shot, Verheiden used the great template that had been established and set out to continue from there, exploring a story about finding hope in the humanity within yourself, while recovering from this terrible event that has changed their lives and civilization forever.
At the press day for the new TV series, Collider sat down with Mark Verheiden for this interview, in which he talked about his vision for the show, intentionally layering Falling Skies in such a way that it can appeal to people who are not typically sci-fi fans while still making those fans happy, how the aliens’ plan will gradually be revealed over the course of the series, the challenge of giving it a feature film feel on a TV show budget, and how stories are already being figured out for a possible Season 2. And, even though he couldn’t say anything concrete about the status of The Dark Tower, for which he is working as a writer/producer on the TV portion of the project, he did comment on how cool it was, how huge the project is, and that he hopes it will eventually go into production. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
I admire Ron Howard’s for his incredible ambition in trying to adapt Steven King’s The Dark Tower series into a trilogy of films with a TV series as the connective tissue between movies. I don’t think he’ll be able to pull it off because he’s a bland director who thoughts that The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons needed to be humorless messes that retained all of the stupidity of the novels.
But earlier in May, Universal considered pulling out of The Dark Tower due to budget concerns. The following week, we reported that Universal was working to bring down the budget and had pushed back the film’s start date. Howard has now provided an update on the project’s status. According to Howard, they’re now eyeing a spring 2012 start date but they’re stilling waiting for the green light. Hit the jump for the full quote from Howard where he also casts doubt on the involvement of Javier Bardem.
Maybe it really was just too good to be true. Last week, we reported that Universal was reconsidering their commitment to Ron Howard’s insanely ambitious adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, which would span three feature films and two seasons of a TV show. Now THR reports that the project will remain at Universal, but Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have regrouped and are attempting to bring what most certainly has to be a mammoth budget down to something more feasible.
The fall production start date has now been shelved, with no replacement date announced, but it’s rumored that they may be ready to go sometime early next year. However, what this means for star Javier Bardem’s involvement is unclear. His deal requires a great deal of his time be blocked out for the series, but pushing the start date back may interfere with other projects the actor has lined up. Howard will be directing at least the first film and first episode of the TV series. For now, we can be thankful that the project wasn’t shelved altogether. To catch up on all our coverage of The Dark Tower so far, click here.
Every time I had the opportunity to write about the developing adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, I wrote with awe at the ambition. Three movies and two seasons of television! I still can’t believe the studio is actually pulling this together. Well, you see, here’s the thing…
Variety hears Universal is rethinking the original plan. After encountering budgetary complications, the studio executives are expected to meet soon to decide whether to put the project into turnaround, at which point Imagine Entertainment heads Ron Howard and Brian Grazer could shop it to another studio. If this happens, Universal could still co-finance or partner with the new home studio.
Variety stresses that, as of this writing, Universal has no plans to halt the development process. Akiva Goldsman will write the screenplay, with Howard committed to direct at least the first movie. Javier Bardem is on board as Roland Deschain, and the filmmakers are casting the supporting roles around him. At the very least, though, this news casts a shadow of doubt on the planned May 17, 2013 debut. More, including a synopsis of the series, after the jump.
Universal Pictures and sister company NBC Universal Television Entertainment have massive plans to adapt The Dark Tower, the sprawling series of horror-fantasy novels by Stephen King. Up first is a Dark Tower feature film, the first in a planned trilogy. Ron Howard will direct, Javier Bardem will play Roland Deschain. Then NBC will premiere a Dark Tower television series to bridge the gaps between films. Deadline reports Mark Verheiden has signed on to co-write and executive produce the series with Akiva Goldsman (Fringe).
Prior reports suggest the first TV season serves as a prequel. After the release of the second film, Bardem will take over the role for the second season. Verheiden’s resume is steeped in genre fare: Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Caprica. More recently, Verheiden was co-executive producer on the alien invasion series Falling Skies, which premieres June 19 on TNT.
Read a synopsis for the Dark Tower series after the break.
We are going to track every damn step of Javier Bardem’s road to portray Roland Deschain in Universal’s adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Under consideration. Offered the role. Producer Brian Grazer even created a new stage: “locked in psychologically“ (whatever that means). Tonight, Deadline reports Bardem is “close to sealing his deal.” Director Ron Howard is confident in his commitment, and has initiated meetings with other actors to build up a supporting cast around Bardem.
Universal is launching both a feature film trilogy and two seasons of a television based on The Dark Tower mythology, which introduces several layers of complexity to the negotiation. The contract signs Bardem for the first film and one season of television with options on the two movie sequels to score his highest salary to date. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the Dark Tower series.