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.
During the press rounds for Tower Heist, Grazer told The Playlist:
“We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending,” Grazer said, suggesting a heavily re-worked approach. “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.”
I’ve never read The Dark Tower so I don’t know if it requires a larger budget or what a “satisfying ending” would be (or even how many books it would encompass since there have been seven novels so far and the eighth is expected to arrive next year). Also, Grazer didn’t specify if this budget refers only to the first movie, the whole trilogy, the TV series or all of the above. However, Bardem is still attached to star and Howard will still direct although he’s currently working on the racing drama Rush. Keep in mind that Grazer was optimistic in June, but we’ll see if these new cuts will give The Dark Tower a greenlight.
Here’s a synopsis for The Dark Tower:
In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, his world’s analogue of King Arthur. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. While the magical aspects are largely gone from Mid-World, some vestiges of them remain, along with the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society.
Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on”, and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams as mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Even the Sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland’s motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries. [Wikipedia]