The Dark Tower moves on
So the deal with J.J. Abrams and Stephen King has lapsed, although we had heard already that Abrams had turned it down, and it has passed on with The Dark Tower returning to Stephen King. Except it hasn't, not quite yet, for someone else is interested in turning the iconic book series into a film.
Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman are teaming up to bring the book, and I hope series, to life. The fantasy western story that mixes King's fantasy horror with the traditional ideas of a western, of travel across multiple universes and of fate, looks like it's going to get another chance at the big screen.
Right now though it's at the discussion phase, although to be fair the idea of Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman in discussions for this project is far more exciting than the prospect of J.J. Abrams. No offence to him, but those three are some killer talents right there and you've got three top producers, an amazing writer, and a top class director. This could be the kind of team that could get it made.
The comment over at The Hollywood Reporter Heat Vision is that Universal would team up with Imagine, the Howard company, and make this film should the deal go ahead with Howard directing and Goldsman writing, we could end up with something magical.
The story of the Dark Tower novels (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) sees a long gunslinger on an epic quest to reach a fabled tower and to find a man who has been responsible for the death and ruin of many of his friends. On the way his understanding of his quest grows and he meets key characters who will join his quest, train to be gunslingers of his world and help him reach his goal. All the while they will flip from universe to universe, and their story spans some seven books.
I can't tell you what a profound effect The Dark Tower series had on me. I had grown tired of Stephen King some time before, feeling his books carried the same ideas and character progression, I had just moved on.
I think my mother bought me The Dark Tower by accident, I read it, and was hooked, and from then on each book was bought as soon as I could get it. After following him on his writing journey from 1982 to 2005, I wept at the end of the last book, genuinely because my journey was over. I've never felt like that before.
It's for that reason that I'm extremely wary of what a film version would bring to the story, and if they would do something to taint my memory of it, or worse for the film version just never live up to the original.
There are only a few ways they can do it, and we have to wait and see how it goes, but to second guess them they can:
Adapt the series book by book, hoping each is a success to move onto make the rest. I don't think even fans would be upset about the shortening of various books within the series, but there are key novels that really need to be adapted and some extremely key story-lines. I think it's at least four or five films.
They could turn it into a mini-series, although that never turns out as great as everyone hopes. However for something so long and typically from Stephen King, it's a distinct possibility.
The final option is just to rip the series apart and go for one film, leaving the opening there to make two or three maximum, but doing enough for it to be a self-contained film.
I don't know how fans of The Dark Tower feel about those options, but I do think there's going to have to be a huge compromise in there somewhere, there's no way the studio would go for seven films.