Ron Howard On The Status Of THE DARK TOWER

Has Rush director Ron Howard given up on his ambitious multi-motion picture and tie-in television series plans for an adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series? Howard himself answers the question.

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By Mark Julian - 9/17/2013
Stephen King DArk Tower Ron Howard

The development on the adaptation of the Stephen King Dark Tower novel series has been long and tumultuous to say the least. Three years and counting, the project doesn't appear to be any further along in the development stage and there haven't been any updates in quite a bit. So does that mean Ron Howard has officially dropped the project? Not so! "The Dark Tower is something that we’re still working on," revealed the Rush director. He continued, "We’ve all taken a vow of silence about the progress, the headway, what we think our timetable is, because I don’t think I realized how much media interest there was in the title and how much excitement there was."

Howard also added, "[The Dark Tower’s] a fascinating, powerful possibility and even Stephen King acknowledges it’s a tricky adaptation, but to be honest, from a financing side, it’s not a straightforward, four-quadrant, sunny Superhero story – it’s dark, it’s horror. That edge is what appeals to me, the complexities of those characters is what appeals to all of us. And I think Stephen King really respects that, with [regular screenwriting collaborator] Akiva Goldsman and myself, that that’s what we love about it, and that’s what we want to try to get to the screen."

So what exactly is the status of the project at this very moment? Howard states, "So my answer is: it got delayed, it’s never gone away. We’re working on it, and Stephen is very patient with us, and Akiva’s just gone off and directed a movie [an adaptation of Mark Helprin’s novel, Winter’s Tale, starring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly and Will Smith], I’m continuing to work, but the Dark Tower dreams – fever dreams, rather – are still there, but we’re not going to give it a timetable."

And will Stephen King himself appear in The Dark Tower film and/or television series as he does in the novel and has Howard thought about how to handle that leap from fiction to reality? "Yes. And I will admit Stephen has said, ‘I don’t have to be in this.’ But that’s not to say that he won’t be," revealed Howard.


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Back in 2009, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof were attached to a planned adaptation that was set to begin once Lost ended. However, later that year the duo announced they were backing off the project for undisclosed reasons. In 2010, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer secured film rights and announced their ambitious plan with Universal Pictures for several films and a television show that would bridge the gap between each film. A release date was set for 2013. Later that year Javier Bardem, Christian Bale and Viggo Mortensen were announced as the frontrunners for the lead role of Roland Deschain, with Javier Bardem eventually winning out. Naomie Harris was also rumored for the role of Susannah Dean. But that was never confirmed. In 2011, Universal put the project on hold due to cost concerns. Later in 2011, the project landed at HBO but only the tv portion. Howard and Grazer were still searching for a home for the film component. In 2012, Warner Bros. expressed interest but with Russell Crowe in the lead, not Javier Bardem. But later in 2012, Warner Bros. dropped out just like Universal. However Media Rights Capital quickly stepped in and expressed strong interest in producing a film. Earlier in 2013, Netflix expressed interest in assuming the television portion of Howard and Grazer's plans and confirmed that more serious talks would occur once Arrested Development finished filming.
Source: Empire Magazine
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Superzero - 9/17/2013, 5:09 AM
I could go on and on about this forever. There is no way that they should even try to make this in movie form. At all. They should BEG HBO to option this as a series, it could be done ala "Game of Thrones" using the book-per-season formula. Hell, you could get 2 seasons out of book 7. And even add an extra season if they use "Wind through the keyhole" more if they adapt some of the comics. Give this story the time it needs to be told, if done properly it could be even better than GOT. It's horror, fantasy, drama, science fiction...it's got a little bit of something for everyone. I have such a love for the stories and characters and I would rather see nothing then see something that is sub-par or chopped up so bad that it hardly resembles the source material. I'm looking at YOU "Under The Dome" Oh, and Joe Hill as young Stephen King.
KrazyForKomix - 9/17/2013, 5:13 AM
With the success of The Dome, hopefully this will hurry things along.

@Superzero
I've been singing that tune for a while now. I agree 100%!
MarkJulian - 9/17/2013, 5:14 AM
@Superzero Well the plan is to do a movie, continue that story in a tv series, do another movie, then another tv season and so and so forth.
GodzillaKart - 9/17/2013, 5:29 AM
I like many of King's other books, but have never read these. I assume them to be kind of interdimensional fantasy, which never appealed to me.

So, has anyone read them? Are they any good?
marvel72 - 9/17/2013, 5:31 AM
i've never read the books or comic books,but i've only heard good things about them.

so bring on the movies & tv show.
DropAload - 9/17/2013, 5:32 AM
Didn't futurama finally get canceled ?
SoundWave - 9/17/2013, 5:33 AM
The ending is awfull. This franchise not deserve a chanse to live on movieverse. King can't end it right way, but screenwriters could change the ending...

AlSimmons - 9/17/2013, 5:36 AM
@YouHappy It's not one book, you ignorant dunce.
SoundWave - 9/17/2013, 5:39 AM
Ron Howard must film Dan Brown's stories. His next project after "Rush" MUST BE "INFERNO"!!!!!
subzero1077 - 9/17/2013, 5:53 AM
I want this movie to happen so badly. If Harry Potter can have 8 movies, surely The Dark Tower can be told properly on the big screen. Make it happen Ron!
JediPhilosopher - 9/17/2013, 5:54 AM
LOST spoiler. The island is a cork. What? Not enough explanation? Oh, okay then, "It's a cork on the evil." What? No, that's all you're getting! You only watched the show for 6 years to find out what the island is. 6 years only buys you that much explanation! If you want more, you must be greedy.
Sorry, my LOST rant was triggered by mention of LOST. :D
GodzillaKart - 9/17/2013, 5:57 AM
@JediPhilosopher: I'm with you. Damon Lindelof should be tried for crimes against humanity.
JediPhilosopher - 9/17/2013, 6:00 AM
I have a similar rant about The Matrix trilogy, but I'll keep that to myself for the moment. :P
frankjaeger - 9/17/2013, 6:01 AM
HBO needs to do the follwing: The Dark Tower, Preacher, Batman, 30 Days of Night. Should all be series and they would all be very successful in my opinion
cdpacheco89 - 9/17/2013, 6:01 AM
I think it should be a television series
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 6:01 AM
@MarkJulian

Yeah, I've been following the progress of this for a while now and that formula they are going for makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. At all. It just seems to risky. What happens if the movie "bombs"? The tv parts were going to be on HBO anyway...I would rather see a full series with lesser known actors that would have staying power then cram Russell Crowe (a decent choice for tall, dark and ugly btw) into three or 4 movies? If you really want to get down to it, this is a show that could go for at LEAST 10 seasons...and after it wraps up they could always take the versions of young Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert from what I presume would be sason 4 (wizard and glass) and do adaptations of "The Long Road Home" and "The Battle of Jericho Hill". I hope they keep the meta aspects of the book, connections to "Salem's Lot", King as "Gan" etc...just because it's pretty damn crazy in the first place. This is a bit of fan craziness but how awesome would it be if the actor they choose to play Flagg in the new version of "The Stand" plays Flagg/Marten/Man in Black in "The Dark Tower"....

@Soundwave
It's not awful, the "end" is exactly what it should have been: A snake eating it's own tail. A cycle. You always could have stopped on page 1011 when King said it was done...lol

@Godzillafart
yes. yes it is. and yes, yes you should. Why don't you just stop whatever you are doing right now and just go out and buy them.

I have been watching "Under The Dome" and even though I have MAJOR issues with it, I do like the idea of making limited run televison series based off of King's books. It's a formula that works out fairly well, his stories are packed with so much detail that the movies rarely do them justice, with the exceptions of maybe "The Mist" "Stand By Me" and "The Shawshank Redemption" even those were different in their own ways. I would just have a nerd stroke if they decided to make a tv series based off of "The Running Man" which is my absolute favorite of King's work and which is absolutely NOTHING like the movie that came out in the 80's.
Archangel82 - 9/17/2013, 6:02 AM
The dark Tower is one of Stephen Kings best works! The best way to describe the series is its a spaghetti western(the good the bad and the ugly) with a science fiction fantasy back drop with elements of horror. The Dark Tower is such a rich universe that they would have to incorporate a tv series with the films in order to tell the whole story. Adapting the Dark Tower is not going to be easy. One of the most difficult tasks is going to be finding the right tone for this project. If the tone is wrong then the whole movie/tv series will suffer. I just hope Ron Howard has the right people with him working on this project. All we can do is wait and see.
preacher - 9/17/2013, 6:02 AM
I tried reading these several years ago, couldn't get into them and have just recently picked them back up. Just finished Wizard and Glass and so far, I'm LOVING them!!

Christian Bale for Roland!!!
preacher - 9/17/2013, 6:04 AM
Russell Crowe from what he looked like in Man of Steele, looks NOTHING like Roland.
MegatronLP9 - 9/17/2013, 6:06 AM
It has been a long time since I heard of this..
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 6:15 AM
@Preacher

Bale is lacking the age and gravitas that Roland needs. My personal choice would be Hugh Jackman or Thomas Jane...he needs to be older, tired, dusty, worn. If Bale were about 15 years younger he would make a fantastic Eddie though. If you want to see Bale in a King adaptation pick up "The Running Man"...he's Ben Richards all the way, in fact I couldn't really see anyone else playing Richards other than Bale. IDK why I think he wouldn't be a good Roland, I just can't see it. There is something written into Roland that Bale lacks. I'm not saying he is a bad actor because of course, he isn't it's just that he doesn't seem right as Roland. It's just an opinion though....say thankya.
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 6:16 AM
Aside from this article I do remember reading somewhere that Netflix was circiling the idea of making this their next original series. That could go a few ways if you ask me...
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:34 AM
I read all the books except the newest one and they are all awesome. The first 3 are by far the best but they're all good. I like how they critique other works of KINGs and bring them to this same universe. JACKMAN for ROLAND I've been saying that for the best decade glad some people agree including my other DARK TOWER friend who read all the novels as well.
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:36 AM
Like IT, THE STAND, INSOMNIA, EYES OF THE DRAGON, etc. almost all of his work connects here. I love it. It's very MARVEL movie PHASES, everything connects
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:37 AM
The 5th wolves of calla was def my least favorite but they were all cool
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:38 AM
Last decade^
preacher - 9/17/2013, 6:40 AM
@Superzero...I've read "The Running Man", one my FAV King stories (LOATHED the film)! And I agree, he WOULD make a perfect Richards! As far as Roland goes...I cry your pardon but still, I don't know, Bale can play world-weary and when I saw his performance in TDKR, that's when it struck me that he would be an excellent choice. Another reason is that he can pull off the gaunt look (The Drawing of the Three) has the build (maybe not as tall as Roland should be)and, in my mind, from reading the books, he seems to be the right age. Everyone was howling for Viggo Mortensen, a great choice, and Bale can pull off that look as well. BUT...Crowe? No. The guy from No Country for Old Men? No. I've even heard folks go on about Benicio Del Toro?! No. Just no. Whomever it is, they're going to have to be willing to sign on for several years worth of this!
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 6:50 AM
@dellamorte1872
I would flip to see an interconnected King-verse...and the "Dark Tower" aren't his only books that crossover either. Pennywise shows up in quite a few books, as does Ace Merril, George Bannerman, Paul Sheldon, and a few of the kid's from "It" as well, if only briefly in many of his other novels Hell, the symbol on the "box" in "Under the Dome" is the same symbol on the wall in Chud's layer in "It" and in the ship in "Tommyknockers"...now I'm not saying every single movie/show should be connected but maybe in the ones where characters do crossover they could make arrangements with other actors? To keep a certain continuity...how cool would it be to see Keiffer Sutherland reprise his role as Ace Merril in a new (better) version of "Needful Things"?? He's the right age now...lol. And yeah, "Wolves of the Calla" was my favorite too.
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:51 AM
No ROLAND can't have LATIN decent he is not part of the MAJI
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:52 AM
ARTHUR ELD was not Latin that's where the DESCHAIN lineage traces back to
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:54 AM
Kieffer wasn't in that it was Ed Harris.
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:55 AM
I said it was my least favorite I liked the first 3 the best despite the open ending of 3
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 6:59 AM
King Books that could make GREAT limited Tv shows:

11/22/63
Tommyknockers
Insomnia (hell this could be tacked on to the Dark Tower)
Needful Things
The Long Walk
The Runningman

OR

Make a show called "Stephen King Presents:" and do an hour long anthology series made up from his short stories which, imo, can be better than his novels. "Grey Matter" would make on HELL of a creepy episode. Same with "Dolan's Cadillac" or "The Monkey" and "Special Delivery" Stephen King + Zombies = WIN


dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 6:59 AM
ROLAND is all [frick]ed up and poisoned in 2 and I could not then or now think of anyone who could pull off that surreal ness than JACKMAN. Look at LES MISERABLES, he deserves to play ROLAND
dellamorte1872 - 9/17/2013, 7:00 AM
He has this presence of a beaten down trodden man
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 7:01 AM
LEAST? Damn. Sorry. In the book "Needful Things" one of the main bad guys is an older Ace Merril who was the main bad guy in "The Body" who was played by Keiffer Sutherland in "Stand By Me".
inkslinger616 - 9/17/2013, 7:03 AM
With what they did to Under the Dome I really hope this never happens. I mean like sacrifice my eyesight hope this doesn't happen.
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 7:04 AM
Yeah, Jackman really would do it Justice. I can't NOT refer to asprin as "Astin" or tuna fish as "Tooterfish". In fact I'm all set to get started on a Dark Tower tattoo sleeve on my leg next week...
inkslinger616 - 9/17/2013, 7:06 AM
No we do not need an expanded and self-contained Stephen King universe
Superzero - 9/17/2013, 7:15 AM
I'm not saying we NEED it but his characters show up in other books and have been for YEARS...when it MAKES SENSE to futher THE STORY I see no problem in it, and I feel the same way about CBM's too, if that particular character has something to lend to the story to carry it further, why not? I'm not saying that every single movie or series MUST have another character from another story show up to simply be like: "Hi, we exsist in the same world!" I mean that if it furthers along the story, as many of King's inter story character cameos do, then it should happen. Characters are introduced in one book,SPOILER SPOILER(??) George Bannerman in "The Dead Zone" and die in another George Bannerman in "Cujo" or like I mentioned about Ace, he's a teenage greaser bully in "The Body" and a sleazy coke addicted ex-con in "Needful Things"...Trust me, cameos and a "shared universe" is a double edged sword and it can be good AND bad, so far Marvel has done a decent job without shoving it down our throats too much, and I guess we will have to wait until '15 to see how DC handles it but IMHO it is something that can be fun...as long as it does not clog up the flow of the actual story.
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