Dark Tower Adaptation Lands Unprecedented Film & TV Deal
Those of you who have been anxious to see a Dark Tower adaptation for years should be foaming at the mouth at this good news today. Though Stephen King's books were once going to be adapted into a TV series by J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production banner, we found out back in April that the rights had since left their hands and ended up with Ron Howard and Akiva Goldman at their Imagine Entertainment/Weed Road Productions banners. Now Deadline has official word on the once hazy deal that involves an unprecedented fusion of film and TV at Universal/NBC. As Vice President Joe Biden might say, "This is a big fuckin' deal."
For those unfamiliar with Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, the story follows Roland Deschain, the last living member of a knightly order of gunslingers, and humanity’s last hope to save a civilization that will crumble unless he finds the Dark Tower. Universal has picked up the comprehensive deal which includes an initial feature film directed by Ron Howard followed closely by one season of a corresponding TV series written by Akiva Goldsman (of Angels & Demons and I Am Legend most recently, who will also write the first film). That TV series will act as a bridge to a film sequel and then back to another season of television, but this time with a prequel storyline following a younger Deschain (which itself will be informed by a comic book that King helped plot). Then the final film returns to an older Deschain as his journey comes to an end.
As good as Scott Pilgrim vs the World was, it sounds like this is truly the epic of epic epicness that Universal needs. Howard himself is truly excited about the project and he knows that they're walking into uncharted territory with this deal. He compares the venture to Peter Jackson's undertaking of a back-to-back Lord of the Rings trilogy and elaborates about their vision for the comprehensive project with some new quotes:
"What Peter did was a feat, cinematic history. The approach we’re taking also stands on its own, but it’s driven by the material. With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there’s the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you’d deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television. We’ve put some real time and deep thought into this, and a lot of conversations and analysis from a business standpoint, to get people to believe in this and take this leap with us. I hope audiences respond to it in a way that compels us to keep going after the first year or two of work. It’s fresh territory for me, as a filmmaker. This is going to be an amazing life experience for us, trying to do justice to the story and the universe."
Because of the connection between the films and TV series, the actors involved will be committed to doing both. Goldsman says of the cooperation between the two media: "Some of the shooting will likely encompass both platforms, and that has never been done before. It's thrilling, we feel like kids in a candy story." This is something that will end up coming together quickly, too, as both Goldsman and Howard have cleared their schedules to focus on this next. Howard says, "I'm finishing The Dilemma, and then I don't have anything scheduled and I plan to work hard on this with Akiva and Brian [Grazer]. We will refine our take on the feature and TV shows. We have a clear view of what we want to do, and we're lucky to have a company with the nerve to back us up on this venture." Wow. This is just awesome. What do you guys think of this?