Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER to Become a Film Trilogy and TV Series; Ron Howard to Direct First Film

     September 8, 2010

Universal has announced plans to make a film trilogy and television series out of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower book series with Ron Howard set to direct the first film.  An adaptation of The Dark Tower has long been in the works with J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindeloff attempting to tackle the project for a few years before giving up last year. A few months passed before we got news that Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman had gotten the rights from King and were either planning a trilogy of films or a film that would be followed by a TV series.

Now, we have news of what exactly the plan is going to be.  Hit the jump for the full details along with the press release.

The plan is that the first film in the trilogy will be immediately followed by a television series that will bridge the second film.  After the second film, another television series will begin that will then lead into the third and final film.  The films and TV series will be filmed back-to-back to save money of production and the stars of the films will also be acting in the TV series.

As of right now, Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of television.  Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman will be writing the first film and season as well while Brian Grazer will be on board as a producer.  It’s still unclear if Howard and Goldsman will be the duo behind the other films and TV seasons, but I imagine that they will be heavily involved with everything.

For those of you that haven’t read the book series, The Dark Tower tells the story of a gunslinger named Roland and his quest to find the fabled “dark tower”, which is said to be the nexus of all universes.  Stephen King took decades to write the 7 books which a lot of his fans consider to be his masterwork.  The series has been frequently described as being “unfilmable” due to its scope, length, and overall craziness.

Ron Howard seems to know just how hard it’s going to be do the series justice when he says:

“By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels.  It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

Having read the first 3 books in the series, I’m happy to see that quote since it does show that Howard understands just how huge and dense the world that King created really is and how hard it’s going to be to bring to the screen (both big and small).  Having said that, I can’t help but feel that Howard and Goldsman are terrible choices for this project and I’m very worried that they are going to screw it up.  In my opinion, Howard is too bland and unexciting to make the film and TV series truly epic and fun.  Meanwhile, some of Goldsman’s past screenwriting credits (Batman & Robin, Lost in Space, The Da Vinci Code) make me feel that he might not be the best choice either.

Either way, I’m very excited to see what is going to happen.  This has potential to be something huge, but it could also backfire horribly.  It’s definitely going to be very intersecting to see how this all plays out.

UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND NBC UNIVERSAL TELEVISION ENTERTAINMENT TO MAKE FILM TRILOGY AND TELEVISION SERIES BASED ON STEPHEN KING’S EPIC SERIES OF NOVELS THE DARK TOWER

Academy Award® Winners Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer Will Produce the Three Films and the TV Series Based on The Dark Tower

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, September 8, 2010 – Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley—along with Jeff Gaspin, Chairman, NBC Universal Television Entertainment and Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime Entertainment, NBC & Universal Media Studios—today announced that Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have acquired the rights to produce three films and a television series based on the seven epic novels, short stories and comic books from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of television, which will be written by Goldsman.  Goldsman will produce the film through his Weed Road Pictures with Howard and Grazer for Imagine Entertainment.  Howard, Grazer and Goldsman will executive produce the television series for Universal Media Studios.  Kerry

Foster will executive produce the first film for Weed Road Pictures along with Todd Hallowell and Erica Huggins for Imagine Entertainment.

“I’ve been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world,” said King.  “Ron, Akiva, Brian along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for theThe Dark Tower series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in The Dark Tower that fans have come to love.”

The Dark Tower is Stephen King’s opus of seven bestselling novels with, to date, more than 30 million copies sold in 40 countries.  The novels incorporate themes from multiple genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror and adventure.  After the series was completed, a prequel of comic books based on one of the characters was also published.

“Building a franchise home for The Dark Tower is an exciting opportunity for this studio, and we’re thrilled that Stephen has entrusted us to bring his beloved novels to the big screen,” said Fogelson.

“Stephen King is a brilliant storyteller who creates imaginary worlds that resonate with the broadest audiences across ages and demographics,” said Gaspin.  “We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues in the film division and Brian, Ron and Akiva to bring Stephen’s vision to the largest audience possible through this innovative multi-platform collaboration.”

Howard, Grazer and Goldsman are planning for the first film in the trilogy to be immediately followed by a television series that will bridge the second film.  After the second film, the television series will pick up allowing viewers to explore the adventures of the protagonist as a young man as a bridge to the third film and beyond.

“We are excited to have found partners at Universal who understand and embrace our approach to King’s remarkable epic,” said Howard.  “By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels.  It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

“The worlds of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series are richly detailed, inter-locking and deeply connected,” said Goldsman.  “By telling this story across media platforms and over multiple hours—and with a view to telling it completely—we have our best chance of translating Roland’s quest to reach The Dark Tower onto screen.  We are proceeding with tremendous excitement, fidelity to the source material and, quite frankly, no small amount of awe at this opportunity.”

“King has created the most visually enthralling places and characters in The Dark Tower,” said Grazer.  “The synergy created across all the media divisions of our partners at NBC Universal to tell this remarkable story is ground-breaking and invigorating.  This project will be one of the most exciting and challenging that I will have ever worked on and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

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