Dark Tower – Yep, we’re still waiting

The year has turned over and we’re but a handfull of days into the new one. I’ve been snoozing here in my cozy little crib dreaming other-worldly dreams and in general, taking things pretty darn easy. That is, until I got the latest round of emails and comments asking, nay, demanding some news! I only wish I could have something to report for you, but life is not being particularly cooperative at the moment.

Still, as I’m awake now, we might as well take stock of where we are with the Dark Tower movie saga.

The last we heard, Universal had pulled out of the running and the movies were left high and dry. Ron Howard is currently traveling around Europe, researching material for his new F1 project, Rush – a film about the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt in the ’70s. He’ll start shooting in February, with a release planned for the end of the year.

Brian Grazer told MTV News that the TV series would be done by HBO, “We’re going to do [‘The Dark Tower’] with HBO,” Grazer told us. “We’ll do the TV with HBO, and we’ll do the movie with…to be determined. We’ll do it right” but quite frankly, I’m not taking this seriously. Once a studio is onboard that decision could very well be changed. Continue reading Dark Tower – Yep, we’re still waiting

Universal Quits The Dark Tower

In yet another spin on the adventure that is our filmic journey to the Dark Tower, Universal has decided to throw in the towel on the movie trilogy/TV series. Yeah okay, no real surprise here.

A number of reports have come in over the last couple of days telling that financial constraints are the reason and that Universal were only prepared to go ahead with a one movie project. It’s also been pointed out that Universal is currently backing a couple of $200+ million projects (Battleship and 47 Ronin) so they obviously feel that they’re stretching their pockets a bit too much with the Dark Tower.

According to rogue reporter Mike Fleming, neither Ron Howard nor Universal wishes to come out and explain the whys, but no doubt the reasons will come to light in the coming days.

So where does this leave the project?

Up a creek with no paddle, some would say. However, I like to think of myself as a glass-half-full type of guy so I’m going with the hope that the previous Warner Bros speculation will come to fruition, and considering (as Fleming points out in his post)  WB are financing Peter Jackson’s two-part Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, they certainly seem open to backing epic tales.

One thing is for certain, it’s time to hunker down – we’re in for a long wait.

Dark Tower Movie is Not Dead

A few days back we heard a rumor that Ron Howard may walk from the Dark Tower project but in a recent interview, he says nothing of the sort.

The interview is mostly about Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s 25 year partnership as Imagine Entertainment, but about half-way in there’s a small conversation about the movies and where things stand. In short, production still looks to be going ahead (in March) and with Howard at the helm.

Ron Howard still retains his earlier enthusiasm for Stephen King’s DT universe and justifies his involvement saying, “if you’re not out there taking some risks, if you’re just coasting along with your wins, then you’re not really trying.”

But it’s these risks, and that Howard was trying a “bold attempt to fast track” the start date (due to weather concerns – whatever that means), that forced Universal to be cautious and want to tighten up on the budget. Howard wouldn’t provide any hard numbers on what cuts he was asked for but did say, “Without putting a number on it, the cuts aren’t that deep or that radical.” Continue reading Dark Tower Movie is Not Dead

Ron Howard may walk from Dark Tower Project

The latest news/rumor surrounding the Dark Tower movie adaptation is that Ron Howard is jumping ship and Universal may pull the plug altogether!

Currently, Universal is pushing a rewrite of the script – the previous plan was to have 3 Movies and a couple of TV seasons – but the Hollywood Reporter is telling us that Ron Howard may actually walk away from the project. Apparently, sources close to him say that Tom Hanks wants Howard to join him on the Scott Rudin Somali Pirate project, as they’ve worked together on five previous movies.

Universal is naturally denying this but considering that previous rumors turned out to be true, things are looking pretty grim for a Dark Tower movie appearing anytime soon.

To my mind it does seems a little strange that Howard would jump so easily, especially when we consider how enthusiastic he was;

“We worked on it for a year before we even met with [Stephen King]…I really can’t stop thinking about it. We’ve been meeting and talking and I’ve been reading and researching and just kind of living with it…and I feel challenged in the most exciting ways.”

Was he being completely sincere, or was he only interested in the money and reputation to be gained from this type of project?

Universal puts Dark Tower production on hold

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.

Continue reading Universal puts Dark Tower production on hold

Mark Verheiden joins the Dark Tower Ranks

Together with Akiva Goldsman, the ex-Battlestar Galactic writer and co-executive producer, Mark Verheiden, has been brought in to co-write the Dark Tower TV series. Along with his writing duties, Verheiden will also take the helm as executive producer on the TV series (two seasons expected). Ron Howard will be directing the first movie and TV season, yet has still to confirm if he will also direct the second and third movies.

The move to bring in Verheiden seems promising especially as Battlestar Galactica was a dark, gritty and very real experience…even if the last season labored on somewhat. As well as being a script writer and producer, Verheiden has written a number of stories for DC Comics, which includes works such as The American, Aliens and Superman.

All this lends great depth to Verheiden, which I hope will transfer well to the Dark Tower universe.

Everything is now starting to fall into place for the DT movies and it’s great to finally see things moving along more quickly.

Source: Deadline

Javier Bardem: Gunslinger – deal almost done

After a couple of month’s uncertainty it’s looking more and more likely that we finally have our Gunslinger. The reports are coming in that the WME Agency (William Morris Endeavor) are “putting the finishing touches on the deal” for Javier Bardem to take the lead role in the 3-movie + TV series Dark Tower adaptation. They’re so close to finalizing that Ron Howard has now started courting other actors for the remaining lead roles – alas, no word yet on who they might be.

Since the announcement back in January we’ve had hundreds of comments from DT fans and there’s a split between those who think Bardem is right for the role Roland Deschain and those who think he’s not. One common reason for peoples’ dislike is due to his Hispanic looks, stating that Stephen King always portrayed the gunslinger as a Clint Eastwood type figure. Perhaps so, but many of the illustrations that have accompanied the Dark Tower books and those of the comics have imagined the gunslinger in several different ways, and these are official illustrations. We must also remember that King, as with all authors, has to describe how his lead characters look – this is good story telling – but how Roland looks it not actually central to the story.

For what it’s worth, I’d rather have a good actor who will do justice to the part, than one who gets it just because of his looks, and I think Bardem will give an outstanding performance.

With Ron Howard at the helm and a lead of Bardem’s capabilities, I have confidence that the Dark Tower movies will be a solid effort, perhaps even a classic and on a par with Lord of the Rings.

New Dark Tower Book due for 2012 Release

A few months back Stephen King announced he was embarking on a new Dark Tower novel, but that he’d probably only start writing in summer 2010. Well, it looks like he’s been a busy guy as an announcement was made on his official website yesterday that he’d now finished writing the book!

In a letter to fans, King writes that the story takes place between the time when Roland Deschain and his ka-tet leave the Emerald City (Wizard and Glass) and when we pick them up again on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis, at the beginning of Wolves of the Calla. This new story won’t add anything major to the story arc we already know, but will provide us with more depth and knowledge of past and present Mid-World.

I, like any ardent DT fan, am eager to hear more about the Gunslinger’s journey, especially anything related to his past life and the world he lives in – of course, all this extra detail won’t hurt Ron Howard’s filmic journey to the Dark Tower.

King’s original working title was The Wind through the Keyhole, and this has been retained for the final release. Dark Tower 4.5 is  due in 2012.

UPDATE: you can now pre-order the new book from Amazon.com.

A little history on Ron Howard

We’ve written previously that Ron Howard will be directing the forthcoming film version of Steven King’s Dark Tower series, but for this post I want to give a little taste of who he is and talk about his previous projects.

Ron Howard was born on 1 March 1954 to a family of actors. He began his career as a child actor, starring in the Andy Griffith Show , Happy Days, and in films such as The Music Man. Today, Howard is known as the director of numerous Hollywood blockbusters, among them Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, for which Howard won the 2001 Oscar for Best Picture and Best Director.

Unlike many actors and directors, Howard received his “big break” when he was only six years old. Since his break-through role on the Andy Griffith Show, Howard has continuously been involved with the film and television industry. His personal life is also dissimilar to the notorious lives of many Hollywood stars. He was married at the age of 21 to his wife, Cheryl, and has led the life of a family man ever since. In a 2006 interview, Howard described his “greatest achievement” as follows: “48 consecutive years of steady employment in television and film, while preserving a rich family life.” Continue reading A little history on Ron Howard

Javier Bardem Offered Role of Gunslinger

Spanish actor Javier Bardem has been offered the pivotal role of the gunslinger Roland Deschain in the upcoming movie version of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series. Director Ron Howard plans to condense the seven novels into three feature-length films. Universal Pictures and NBC also plan a television series to accompany the films, although it’s not yet known if Bardem will portray Roland on television as well.

Born in 1969, the actor has been in films since childhood in his native Spain. He didn’t receive international acclaim until his nomination for an Academy award for 2000’s Before Night Falls in which he played Cuban novelist and dissident Reinaldo Arenas. In 2007, he won an Academy award for his role in the film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men. His most recent Oscar for his starring role in the Spanish-language film Biutiful in 2010.

It almost seems to be the actor’s ka to play the role. He’s no stranger either to film adaptations of literature or to the arid western landscape that predominates throughout King’s novels. His craggy, slightly asymmetrical good looks are right for the part, although the actor’s brown eyes are quite different from the piercing blue ones that King has set in Roland Deschain’s weathered face. He has the physical presence that the part requires.

Continue reading Javier Bardem Offered Role of Gunslinger