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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Mystery of the On-Screen Release of the Dark Tower Series--A Guest Post

Oh, Stephen King, you are such a mysterious man. 

Or perhaps, just behind on your PR. 

On Mr. King’s Website, his response to the FAQ, “Are you going to do a Dark Tower movie?” is as follows:
“A deal has been negotiated with Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman, Brian Grazer, and Universal/NBC to do a Dark Tower adaptation set for release on May 17th 2013…”

I have to admit that I’m pouting as I write this because this information is seriously outdated, and it seriously got my hopes up. 

Last year, Universal eased away from the Dark Tower project after drumming up excitement about a trilogy and a television series. Citing budget constraints, they scaled the original plan down to one movie before dropping the project completely. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, King made a humorous jab at the production company, saying “As a rule, they’ve been about smaller and less risky pix; maybe they feel it would be better to stick with those fast and furious racing boys.”

Well played, Mr. King. 

However cheesy the F&F movies may be, they have made money – $1.5 billion to be exact – and a large-scale projects (such as covering a saga of 8 books) costs a lot of money. There’s also no doubting that The Dark Tower books are a bit kooky, which is a selling point for Mr. King’s fans, but not so much for a commercial audience. The last major cultural stir Mr. King caused on the screen was when 1408 was released in 2007, which was well-received, but not as impactful as Shawshank Redemption or The Shining.

Stephen King is one of the great storytellers of our time, and though he’s found an audience for his dramas and horror stories, is there an audience for his magnum opus? My fingers are crossed, but I’m not holding my breath. The titanic scale of the project would be a risky undertaking for any studio.
After Universal walked away, Howard and producer Brian Grazer admitted defeat, but in March, Warner Bros. showed some interest, and the series and movies are back up for discussion. 

And last month, Ron Howard sent out a tweet that got my hopes up, yet again.
“Spent day today in a story session on ...Dark Tower :-) Terrific meeting w/ Akiva Goldsman & Erica Huggins No timetables but very positive” -- @RealRonHoward

Javier Bardem has been listed as a candidate for the lead role of Roland, and after his gunslinging performance in No Country for Old Men, there’s no doubt he would be a fantastic fit for the role.  Since HBO is owned by Time Warner, the expectation is that this is where the series would air.
HBO seems like the perfect fit for a series, offering plenty of creative licensure for the gritty language, violence and sexuality that are staples of King’s work.  

One problem I foresee in the casting of Javier Bardem is the amount of commitment, and risk, involved in absorbing a character with such enormity. If the show fails, he could lose credibility. If the show succeeds, he could lose himself in an archetype, much like Sarah Jessica Parker after Sex and the City.
Damian Lewis, who is currently the star of Showtime’s, Homeland would be my casting for Roland. With one Stephen King movie (Dreamcatcher) under his belt and his familiarity with the gun-toting archetype role (Homeland and Band of Brothers), a dye job is the only thing he needs. 

Regardless of the challenges, I hope to see the project unfold onscreen in some way. If not in the next few years – at least before I die. 

-          The Dark Tower series includes graphic content, and is only suitable for mature audiences, such as college-aged adults and up.

Aniya Wells is a freelance blogger whose primary focus is writing.  He also enjoys investigating trends in other niches, notably technology, traditional higher education, health, and small business. Aniya welcomes reader questions and comments at aniyawells@gmail.com.

Thanks Aniya for your guest post.  I am not endorsing or recommending online degree programs but I do agree to let guest posters do a link for their guest post.

This book may have been received free of charge from a publisher or a publicist. That will NEVER have a bearing on my recommendations.


  1. I simultaneously excited and terrified about the prospect of a Dark Tower adaptation. If done well, it could be truly epic . . . if not, it could be an utter disaster. I really can't see how they'll fit that scope onto the screen, and I have to wonder what kind of licensing rights there would be with all the crossover appearances from King's universe. Without those meta references, the story really loses something.

  2. Epic would be nice, utter disaster more likely, take Starship Troopers and how it was turned into a farce. Entertaining but hardly worthy of Heinlein.