Is the Dark Tower in trouble?
I have to say it was a dream come true to hear that Stephen King's The Dark Tower series was coming to screens, not just that it was being made but that the series of seven novels, some very weighty ones, was going to be adapted into three films with three accompanying television series.
That, and the fact that Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman were behind it had many a fan desperately excited, then the news that Javier Bardem could well be the man to play Roland Deschain, it all seemed like it was coming to life.
Now that looks like it could be in jeopardy. Were we too foolish to really believe a studio could come through with such an ambitious and long reaching series when television series are culled within episodes and franchises live and die on three days of ticket sales?
Let's kick back with some good and positive positioning news first of all though, the news so far is that everything is going ahead. There is no official word from the studio and "sources", who were probably busy sweeping the back lot at the time, have said that they are progressing as if the project was moving forward.
That statement in itself is worrying.
The rest of the article has more "sources" telling Variety that the project has - and this is the huge surprise bit that no one would have expected to rear its ugly head I'm sure (read sarcasm there) - run into budgetary problems.
Wow, did no one forsee that? Do they not have planners and staff who have read the books, looked at the names involved, and added up the cost of a three film, three television series fantasy epic with this talent involved? It's clear that it would cost a bomb, isn't it?
The article says that Universal are, no wait while I get this right, that "insiders" are saying that Universal are expected to meet in the next few days and discuss whether or not to put the project into turnaround, and that's a mighty huge thing to be saying.
However that's not all bad, that doesn't mean it would die a death, that means the production company would then be off looking for a new studio or someone to partner with Universal.
Okay, so the normal "insider" and "sources" warnings apply, you know the score I say it all the time, this could be the tea lady speaking about three words overheard in a four hour conversation about something totally different by people not involved in the project. Or it could genuinely be from someone involved and the idea is to drum up early interest in the partnership idea as well as get the public to show support for the project and persuade the studio, who knows.
What we do know, and it would be insane to think the studio didn't, is that this would cost a lot of money, take a lot of time, and require a lot of involvement, and if those involved bailed out and the project started churning out average fair halfway through, I doubt fans would ever forgive them.
So will The Dark Tower project get made? I think so. We're going to see a partnership be born from this debate or we'll see Universal commit to one film with the option for a series if the film performs well and taking each film and series one at a time.
Mind you, the question then is will the studio allow the film to go for an 'R' rating in America, or will they want a teen friendly version? The Dark Tower series is definitely more than a teenage series of books, but to maximise the return will they compromise the work?
It looks like everything's still up in the air for Deschain.