First Look: Ron Howard's Adaptation Of Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER (Cancelled)

First Look: Ron Howard's Adaptation Of Stephen King's THE DARK TOWER (Cancelled)

Conceptual illustrator, Gregory Hill ("The Amazing Spider-Man 2"), has updated his website with concept art that he created for Universal's cancelled film adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, which Ron Howard ("Rush") was set to direct.

Over the years there have been several attempts to adapt Stephen King's epic Dark Tower series for the big and small screen. The closest attempt, and the most ambitious attempt, was Ron Howard's adaptation, with Universal set to produce. Howard planned to make three movies, but there also be a television mini-series in between each film. The financial risk became too much for Universal to bare, so they passed. Howard then took it to Warner Bros. but they too passed due to financial concerns. Last year, Howard said he is still hoping to move forward with the project but would keep mum until there was more concrete news to report. The screenplay was written by Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind") and it would've been produced by Brian Grazer, Goldsman and Stephen King.

Below, are the first pieces of concept art to surface. These are designs of various sets: Devar Toi, Tull, The Dogan, The Manni Village, A Harrier Near The Speaking Ring, The Thinny, Tull, and The Speaking Ring. There's also two videos featuring a look at the town of Tull.
The Dark Tower series tells the story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, who is traveling southeast across Mid-World’s post-apocalyptic landscape, searching for the powerful but elusive magical edifice known as The Dark Tower. Located in the fey region of End-World, amid a sea of singing red roses, the Dark Tower is the nexus point of the time-space continuum. It is the heart of all worlds, but it is also under threat. Someone, or something, is using the evil technology of the Great Old Ones to destroy it.

In Roland’s where and when, the world has already begun to move on. Time and direction are in drift, and the fabric of reality is fraying. However, things are about to get much worse. The six invisible magnetic Beams, which maintain the alignment of time, space, size, and dimension, are weakening. Because of this, the Tower itself is foundering. Unless Roland can find a way to save the Beams and stabilize the Tower, all of reality will blink out of existence.

Inspired in equal parts by Robert Browning’s poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western classics, The Dark Tower series is an epic of Arthurian proportions. It is Stephen King’s magnum opus, and is the center of his amazing creative universe.
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Member Since 7/12/2010
Filed Under "Sci-Fi" 6/25/2014 Source: Gregory Hill
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ckal - 6/25/2014, 4:39 PM
HBO pls.

I'm about to finish the third book.

Would be an incredible series.
englandlover77 - 6/25/2014, 4:40 PM
ckal - 6/25/2014, 4:43 PM
Well damn. Were they planning on Susannah having legs in this adaptation or am I witnessing a spoiler in a future book?

Lol... :p
KilledHal9000 - 6/25/2014, 4:44 PM
Been obsessed, & only just finished the 3rd book and all the Marvel Comics. This is cool.
JillyMcBeam - 6/25/2014, 4:44 PM
Instead, Universal will give us Ted 2..., Pitch Perfect 2..., Another Grinch Film..., and Dracula Untold...
TheLokey1 - 6/25/2014, 4:45 PM
These look fairly terrible. Kind of glad it's not happening.
Jollem - 6/25/2014, 4:47 PM
m-o-o-n. that spells "nice work"
TheDesertGorilla - 6/25/2014, 4:47 PM
Such exaggerated sets.
Jollem - 6/25/2014, 4:48 PM
fairly terrible? wow
KilledHal9000 - 6/25/2014, 4:49 PM
...not at all how I imagined Tull. & yeah she has...legs?
KilledHal9000 - 6/25/2014, 4:51 PM
The only way to do it would be 5 films or 3 with a 10 episode tv series in between each movie.
Jollem - 6/25/2014, 4:57 PM 32-hour long movie!!!

do it
CorndogBurglar - 6/25/2014, 5:00 PM
Thank god.

I'm a huge Dark Tower fan and I can honestly say that there is no possible way to adapt this while still being respectful to the source.

There are just too many moving parts with the story, and too many characters.

Would they have had Stephen King play himself in the film? Any DT fan knows how important a part he plays in the story.

How would have had all those other important characters from King's other books show up? No one would have had any idea who those characters were, or why they were important, because they certainly don't explain it. You have to read the other books to fully know.

It just would have been a mess. One gigantic mess.

Not to mention, Clint Eastwood and Viggo Mortensen are too old to play Roland now, and everyone knows they are the best choices.

I would rather have no films made than some weak attempt that doesn't do it any justice.
CorndogBurglar - 6/25/2014, 5:04 PM
@ nailbiter

yeah. If it was 32 hours i would have to get up and go to the bathroom during the movie. I hate doing that. 30 would be fine though.
Jollem - 6/25/2014, 5:07 PM
true, true. that extra 2 hours IS kinda pushin' it :)
grif - 6/25/2014, 5:38 PM
of course its cancelled. this will never get made.
Abary - 6/25/2014, 5:49 PM
I really want this to happen, but then again, I don't want it forced. If they did it Harry Potter-style and gave us 5-8 movies, I think it would work out great! Unfortunetely, I don't think this could be done properly. There's just so much potential, and I'd be all for a great adaptation, but I don't want someone just 'giving it a try.'
DeusExSponge - 6/25/2014, 5:50 PM
I can see HBO moving to this AFTER Game of Thrones finish.
scapegoatjones - 6/25/2014, 6:10 PM
brolin or bale for Roland plz.
split in 3 parts. make the shittiest book, the wiz and glass a tv miniseries.
3 diff directors all using same actors and unify the look with the same cinematography team.

tarantino books 1,2&3
? book 4
abrams books 5-8

scapegoatjones - 6/25/2014, 6:13 PM
abrams lives in ME literally 40 min from King now as it is anyway.
King bought the land in northern Maine near Gilead that part of the book takes place in.
hell actually the "man in black' (welliver) from Abrams's LOST (which was mostly based on the DT)
is from the next town over from Abrams. King pretty much ghost wrote through the expansion of LOST from 3-5 seasons when ABC wanted more....
scapegoatjones - 6/25/2014, 6:14 PM
tarantino + shoot out in the Drawing of the Three would be E P I C
KilledHal9000 - 6/25/2014, 6:28 PM
Tarantino wouldn't do it. Abrams already passed. The comparisons to LOST are... there. I think 3, 4, 5 or 6 movies would work but i would be interested in a movie/tv series idea. Its never really been done before and it could help stretch out story elements. I think The Gunslinger & The Drawing of the Three should film back to back and come out a year or (even better) 6 months apart. The Wastelands would make a perfect 10 episode HBO series.
Cwazola - 6/25/2014, 6:35 PM
Taking this to a Premium channel seems like a no-brainer to me. No movie(s), just a several season series. With the success and quality of Game Of Thrones (among some other HBOesque series), it shows those networks are willing to spend the money to deliver said qaulity. Hell, even Netflix would be a solid choice.

And forget Viggo or Clint or - the worst choice IMO, Crowe.. you want Roland to really BE Roland, not an actor PLAYING Roland. I think using an unknown - or at least not-as-well-known actor would be better, so there is no pre-conceived notion of who this guy is. Then maybe fill the other roles with more recognizable talent; I still love the idea of Aaron Paul as Eddie, for instance.

This could be done, and done well. They just need to stop with the movie talk. The first book isn't that long, so a 4 episode mini-series for "The Gunslinger" to kick it off, then expand the series from there.

Oh, and as far as Stephen King playing himself... use his son, Joe Hill. Problem solved.
Zuriel - 6/25/2014, 6:49 PM
Ok, in answer to the series incorporating other books, how about this? A The Stand series that directly ties into a The Dark Tower series?
CorndogBurglar - 6/25/2014, 8:04 PM
@ zuriel

Sure The Stand is important. But what about Callahan from Salem's Lot? The kid that could draw pictures from Insomnia that ends up being extremely important? The Low Men in Yellow Coats that get explained in other books? The Breakers that get explained in one of the short stories in a compilation book? The little statues that turn out to be important that were explained in Desperation?

Are we really expecting all of these important things and characters to be explained in the movie? Or are they going to make tv shows of all these other stories to explain them? You can't just throw them into the films without any explanatiin because then the General Audience would be totally lost.

Its just too big. If they arw going to stay faithful in any way shape or form, all of those things need to be addressed. Otherwise we get things a characters showing up with no explanation of their importance.

Its just too much. The Dark Tower series incorporates way more into the story than just the things that happen in the main 8 books. Most of King's books have some sort of connection to the Dark Tower. Even books that aren't necessarily considered "dark tower related", have little references that only DT fans would recognize.

Like I said, its just too big.
Dusk - 6/25/2014, 8:07 PM
Josh Holloway or Liam Neeson for Roland Deschain
CorndogBurglar - 6/25/2014, 8:13 PM
@ cwazola

Are you saying that they should get King's son to play Stephen King in the movie? Because who plays King isn't what I was talking about.

What I meant was, do you even include Stephen King at all in the plot? Its pretty important to the story, so if they don't, they would have to change what is basically the turning point of the entire Dark Tower series. But at the same time, Stephen King showing up in the books and being so important to everything is what turned a lot of readers off from the story. Would they take that risk in the film? I'm not so sure.
BlackIceJoe - 6/25/2014, 9:16 PM
I so want this to end up on a channel like HBO. A movie wouldn't do the book Justice.
scapegoatjones - 6/25/2014, 9:23 PM
Abrams only passed on it at the time because it felt reiterative after LOST. It's been awhile.
I sense the sarcasm in your mentioning LOST/DT 'comparisons', but they are obvious, numerous, and acknowledged.
given the acquisition of the No. Maine land near Gilead, ME, Abrams moving to ME roughly a year later, it would be hard to believe that they're not looking at it as a potential backup plan. King wants this made in his lifetime.

a few comparisons:

locke and jack were meant to be the two opposing sides of Roland's personality in conflict
Charlie Pace's story trajectory is almost an extended mimicry of Eddie
'the man in black'
both utilize the same twinner time travel premise
both Jack and Sawyer borrow their name from character Jack Sawyer of Talisman/Black House a DT parallel offshoot
the underlying theme that the journey is the destination
"it only ends one, everything else is progress"
the end of LOST is the exact same as the 'hot chocolate' ending in the DT that no one needs to read

MightyZeus - 6/25/2014, 10:05 PM
Hopefully some one will pick this up an adapt it to television rather than film. Scared for HBO to do it but i think another studio is suited to adapt The Dark Tower to television.
Mankzin2 - 6/25/2014, 10:16 PM
Never watch Lost and I heard it was confusing from others as well, I don't think many people would notice any similarities between the two since both have completely different settings.
As for other characters from other books, I have only read the Dark Tower series and understood that these other characters came from other Stephen King’s books. Of course I saw some of the movies so I wasn’t completely in the dark.
I think a Premium Channel or Netflix would do it justice. Netflix especially since they order a whole season at a time and most people now a days go through a whole season in a few days.
I hope it gets made, but I agree that the Television route would be better suited to this series, since there is so many little things that should not be left out.
BlindJustice - 6/25/2014, 10:36 PM
The Dark Tower is such an awesome series. I'm surprised with all the fantasy and sci-fi going on right now that no studio wants to take this on. Still, HBO or A&E would really do this justice as well. Although HBO would probably drag it out for 10 years. >_<
monkeyjoe70 - 6/25/2014, 11:11 PM
this hurts me because of the fact that this movie could have been awesome
loki668 - 6/25/2014, 11:22 PM
This would be a difficult story to translate. There are SO many connections to the other books King has written. As much as I would love to see this done, I just don't know if CAN be done. Too bad. I'm going to re-read the series now.
Nubase - 6/26/2014, 3:55 AM
when game of thrones is finshed on HBO, this will be the next project they will take on
case - 6/26/2014, 5:03 AM
I struggled through the first book and didn't get much out of it. Is it really worth continuing on?
KilledHal9000 - 6/26/2014, 5:09 AM
@case- Yes.
WillyGsus - 6/26/2014, 6:50 AM
I'm on book four(again) and just seeing anything with DT in the headline gets my heart beating faster. Movies+HBO would be the tits.
RockNRollFrankenstein - 6/26/2014, 8:56 AM
@CorndogBurgler, Viggo wouldn't be too old.
taheen74 - 6/26/2014, 9:33 AM
I think one very important detail people are forgetting is this: Jake. In the novels, it's assumed he does not age between the time of his Drawing and the time of his (you know). They would literally have to film this within maybe a 2 year time period just to avoid him looking too old for the part (i.e. consistency).

Also, Joe Hill can easily play the younger version of his father. Have some of you NOT seen pictures of him? He's a spitting image (twinner almost, do ya) of his dad.

As for the Eastwood comments: yes, he's too old for Roland now: but not too old to play Callahan (which is honestly who I picture when it comes to Callahan). Viggo really isn't too old for Roland- considering we really don't know how old Roland is (anywhere between 45-58 would be my guess).
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