Just as production on the Dark Tower finally gets underway, all our hopes could once again be dashed. There’s a rumor doing the rounds that Universal Studios is about to drop the whole project due to budget concerns!
Although Universal and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment are denying the rumor, Mike Fleming (Deadline) believes there’s truth behind it as all the pre-production staff have been told to stop work. Talk between all parties is ongoing but only time will tell if they’ll work out how to proceed. With all tools downed it’s hard to believe the September start will go ahead as planned, regardless of what happens next.
As we know, the Dark Tower is a very ambitious project, perhaps even more so than the Lord of the Ring trilogy. Production is set to be three feature length films, sandwiching two TV miniseries. Ron Howard is to be at the helm and Javier Bardem has been chosen to play the lead role of Roland Deschain.
There’s still hope though as Fleming believes that if Universal does pull out, the whole production could be put on turnaround and be taken on by “Warner Bros, where [Akiva] Goldsman’s Weed Road has its deal” — ‘turnaround’ is where the producer (Imagine Entertainment) can shop it to another studio, either in its entirety or in partnership with Universal Studios.
The path to the Dark Tower was never going to be an easy one, but let’s hope one of the studios has enough faith in Stephen King’s imagination to take it through to the end.
UPDATE: the latest news is that Universal are now pushing back the start of filming to February 2012, and are also wanting to reduce production costs. We have to presume they’ll go ahead with this only if they’re able to get the costs down.
I am a little worried that the reduction in costs will also mean a reduction in detail and coverage Ron Howard will be able to bring to the adaptation. Only time will tell.
If Universal do wish to be part of this project they’ll need to get a move on; they only have until July, that’s just 6 weeks away, to give this the “green light”. If they haven’t done so by then, the rights will revert back to the filmmakers and Stephen King. Chop chop, guys, the world is moving on.