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Dark Tower Adaptation Lands Unprecedented Film & TV Deal

by
September 8, 2010
Source: Deadline

Akiva Goldsman / Dark Tower/ Ron Howard

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?

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  • Hattori Hanzo
    Absolutely speechless .. In an amazing way!
  • quazzimotto
    Goldman butchered I Am Legend, and Angels wasn't much better. I have respect for Howard as a filmmaker, but I'd like to see them nail this, like John Hillcoat did with his adaptation of The Road. Wary of the TV scenario also. Excellent idea shooting that alongside the films. I don't think I can handle another westernized Harper's Island without killing somebody.
  • Cracky
    This will be a saga for the ages. Here's hoping that they hit it out of the ball park.
  • ObiWop
    I gotta say that when Ron Howard butchered Angels and Demons and The Davinci Code I was pretty Pissed. I Am Legend Sucked bad. It was another remake that fell short. So lets give one of Stephen Kings' greatest sagas to those two guys. I'm not very hopeful. They would be better off giving it to the guy with the best track record for adapting King, Frank Darabont. He know what he's doing. Shawshank, Green Mile and The Mist. He should be bringing Roland to life, noone else........
  • McWilly
    Loved this series just glad to see it get it's chance on the big screen!!! Bring it!
  • mgazo
    i've read all the books, and all the graphic novels. i read the gunslinger when i was 10. i really hope they pull this off. #4 is right, he has done a hell of a job w/ kings work.
  • Stevo
    I'm excited for the idea. Not for the people helming it.
  • Vet4Peace
    The ultimate gunslinger is coming to life! I loved this series. I don't know how anyone could possibly tackle this material, but I hope this approach does justice to King's greatest creation.
  • carlos
    Would be 10x better if it was still in the hands of Bad Robot.
  • http://movies.iconocritic.com peloquin
    Though I'm excited for this all I heard was blah blah blah "I'm finishing The Dilemma, and then I don't have anything scheduled." ...R.I.P. Arrested Development Movie
  • John
    Casting and Content control is maybe the biggest thing. The cast has to be perfect. Roland is going to be as big as Frodo or Harry Potter. Iconic for ages. He needs to be well cast and acted out well. The script needs to be made perfect. The next thing is showing the right content. There is brutal rape, murder, gore, and language. Is TV the right medium for this mature masterpiece? I think If it choses the right parts it's okay.
  • Outlaw
    Shouldn't it be 1 movie, then 2 seasons of TV, then a 2nd movie, then 2 more seasons of TV, and then a final 3rd movie? I mean, it's 7 books, right? The TV should definitely be on cable. NBC can't handle the Dark Tower. They'll "Heroes" it. Then again, you've got one of my least favorite directors (Howard - all of his films have a dreamy quality that seems to lull the action to a crawl) and one of my least favorite writers (Goldsman - what he did to "Batman & Robin" still really stings) making it, so from the track records of everyone involved, it doesn't look very promising. Of course...Peter Jackson's track record included "Meet the Feebles" before he tore it up with "Lord of the Rings." Here's hoping this can be the LOTR of their careers. This material certainly deserves to be.
  • Mark
    My favourite bit from the Dark Towers series has to be when Roland was required to duel his teacher, and he threw his bird straight at his face - didn't see that coming bro! Think that's how it went :)
  • http://luna.typepad.com John Moon
    based on Akiva Goldsman's work on Fringe, I'm more excited for the tv show.
  • wm
    i thought King wasn't too keen on making this into film. I may be wrong here.
  • Ben
    Nah they should either concentrate on films or tv... a cross-over is a horrible idea.
  • Shige
    What is here to get excited over ? A bunch of people who have been doing some mediocre teenage crap over last years get involved in a project to milk as much cash as possible ? Dark tower should be a HARD R trilogy of films or television equivalent. Now they will probably make a half hearted flick with severals seasons of dragging out of story. Wont get surprised if it will get some PG-13 rating or lower so they can milk it for a while.
  • Voice of Reason
    It's about a killer robot driving instructor, who travels back in time for some reason, and this robot, he's got a heart-breaking decision to make about whether his best friend lives—or dies......his best friend's a talking pie! (subtext: Booooo, Ron Howard!)
  • Link1983
    Did anyone else notice the movie poster Thomas Jane's character was painting in 'The Mist'? I am incredibly interested but like others on here I had hoped it would be a Frank Darabont production.
  • Jedi
    "(Goldsman - what he did to "Batman & Robin" still really stings)" Was the story for Batman & Robin really that bad? I thought that the cheesy acting, campy costumes, and horrid directing is really what killed it. There was the whole Batgirl thing too.... but let's skip that discussion for now. In all honesty I think that Goldsman has written for a lot better projects. I Am Legend, A Time To Kill, A Beautiful Mind, The DaVinci Code, I, Robot. Not to mention his work on the TV show Fringe. With Stephen King's source material, and hopefully his involvement in developing the films/TV shows, I don't think that Goldsman is a bad choice at all.
  • Allen Newby
    My main concern is this... These books would take at least two movies each (okay, maybe not "The Gunslinger) There is "SO" much information that needs to be brought out, and I hope that they don't leave the best parts on the cutting room floor... Also, the cast is going to be huge!! Does everybody remember "The Stand" (Made for Effing TV)? Oye Vey.. This could be bad.. I agree that the series should be on Cable (HBO?) Due to the material being nothing under an "R" rating. Anywho.. I haven’t been truly excited for a series like this before.. Yes LOTR totally rocked, and this is defiantly Mr. Kings dream.. And to #15.. Stephen King has "Always" wanted to bring these characters to life.. He was just wanting the right people to do this..
  • JKnaak
    I hope that Ron Howard does not ruin this like he did Angels & Demons. I wish I could say I am excited about this, but I think I am more apprehensive. I like what they have to say about their passion for the project. I just don't think that broadcast TV and a movie that is likely turned PG-13 can do it justice. Give me an HBO cable TV series or an R-rated movie with GDT directing and I would be in heaven!
  • blasphemer
    Ron Howard - Yes!!! JJ the F*&^ing Hack - NO!!!!!!! this story is going to be a BITCH to bring to the screen as is...please dont let Abrams anywhere near it lest it wind up another love story between a bunch of twenty-something gay boys...
  • http://www.twitter.com/lenny_ray Lenny
    No. No, no, no, no and no. I am NOT looking forward to this at all. Network TV?? HOW are they going to handle the violence of Roland's youth on NETWORK TV? As for Howard-Goldsman, they've had brilliance like Cinderella and Beautiful Mind, and then tanked awfully with the likes of I Am Legend. So who knows. The fact remains, I was hoping this one would NEVER make it to screen. In scope and imagination it is far too large for even a production as expansive as this. And if it had to, as far as I'm concerned nobody BUT Frank Darabont should be allowed to touch King's stuff. His have been the only adaptations, IMO, that have really been worthy of their source material. I think I shall allow Roland and the ka-tet to come to life only in my head, TYVM.
  • Angela
    I have my fingers crossed that this will be made with all of us fans in mind, they know how much they can't ruin this fo us don't they????, this may very well be the debauchery that makes me throw out my television
  • betterchill
    "the epic of epic epicness"? are you fucking kidding me. "The Dark Tower" series is great, but that quote is really lame.

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