Ron Howard talks about Dark Tower delays
Ron Howard has been talking about The Dark Tower project and the seemingly insane idea to turn it into three films separated by television mini-series. I say insane but I really want to see it happen and happen well, and yet it's going to be so hard to get this made, especially in a conveyor belt Hollywood intent on delivering lower cost, higher return films, or when they do go for a big budget, sure things.
While the rumours of delays and budget problems probably weren't really a surprise, they were worrying enough for fans who believed they were about to see the start of an epic take on the epic series of novels from Stephen King.
Ron Howard directing, Akiva Goldsman writing, Brian Grazer producing and Javier Bardem starring - while I wasn't convinced about the actor likeness to the character I had imagined, this was proving a big and well backed line-up and the project looked like it was going to happen for real.
Then came the stories of delays and rumours of budget concerns from the studio, they were denied but now Howard himself has spoken out about them. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly through Empire he says:
"We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward...We're thinking of starting in early spring now."
Doesn't seem so bad, especially when we consider every film has its budget problems, from small to big and even on the huge blockbusters. I'm sure even Michael Bay was having budget discussions for the latest Transformers film even though it was a safe bet, studios are businesses and they want to save money.
So while they are looking at costs it seems that they may not have been looking so closely at a lead as Howard also reveals that they haven't picked the lead yet.
"I can't really say who'll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We'll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid."
So Bardem is not yet Roland, and while I'm happy because he doesn't fit the image of the Gunslinger that I have in my head, I know they would have sold me on the character within minutes of the film starting, that's not really a problem. However the casting could still be open.
Howard also talks about the reason for the film television split and what that can bring us, and again for those concerned that the films would cut down the story - think about those huge books being squashed into films for Harry Potter - this could be a welcome comment from the director:
"There are elements of the Dark Towersaga that are more personal and can be best dealt with on television...TV allows you to roll out details of the characters in a more methodical way."
While each will progress the story and have dramatic elements as well as characterisation, the television series will be stronger on the characters and relationships, which is a core theme of the books, while the films will be more about the story and those all important big dramatic moments on screen.
I'm still bought into The Dark Tower from Howard and Goldsman, and I hope you are too. The more we get behind this the more chance we're going to see it get made, and I think this is the best chance it's had so far.
Remember what a great author once said when questioned about his books being tarnished by the second rate films that they were being turned into. He turned to his bookshelf and nodded at them, "they're all still there".