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Ron Howard Talks a Bit About That Massive 'Dark Tower' Project

by
December 18, 2010
Source: Hero Complex

Dark Tower

Back in September we got confirmation that director Ron Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman are tackling an unprecedented adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series that will alternate between film & TV. For those unfamiliar, series of novels follow 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. Aside from the unheard of collaboration between film and TV for one singular story, this project has plenty of uncharted territory for Ron Howard as he ventures into a couple of genres which he hasn't worked in before.

Here's what Howard told Hero Complex about the tone and style of the films and the difficulty of capturing King's work on the page and transferring it to the big screen:

“Filmically, there are tones in this that I have never used before, tones of fantasy menace and elements of horror and real fear. And there’s the burden, on the characters, of this journey that is really palpable. That’s what we need to get on the screen. I think there’s something about [the Frank Darabont films] ‘Green Mile’ or a ‘Shawshank Redemption,’ the complexity and the ballast of them, those are two [of the Stephen King adaptations] where you do get the horror and suspense that’s there on the page. We’re charging ourselves with the responsibility of getting a real understanding of the material and utilizing many of the best aspects of the books and graphic novels."

If you don't recall how this process of adapting the Dark Tower series is going to work, here's a little refresher. Ron Howard will direct the first film which will be followed closely by a season of television written by Akiva Goldsman (who is also writing the first film as of now). That season will act as a bridge to a film sequel and then it's back to another series of television, but this time with a prequel storyline. Then the final film goes back to the future (so to speak) to conclude Deschain's journey. Howard talks about how this unprecedented project compares to his previous work:

“It’s different than anything I’ve ever done and in really interesting ways. With [‘Da Vinci Code’] the mandate was different. That was about getting the story and the action and focusing on acting. With this, there’s this entire world and all of these references and there are the books and the graphic novels and just talking to Stephen and it’s all this ongoing conversation with the material and it’s really exciting. In all of it, he leaves a lot open to interpretation and so it gives a great deal of latitude.”

While there's not much detail in his words, Howard does note that they are still just getting started on this hefty endeavor, and there's plenty of work to be done. This will be a huge undertaking for Howard and Goldsman, but the talent who ends up in front of the camera will have their work cut out for them too. This project is shaping up to be a five year commitment (possible more), and whoever snags the role of Roland Deschain will be very busy. Here's hoping the project lands on its feet once it takes off or all this work will have been for naught. What do you guys think?

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  • dustin fuston
    I will be the first to say I have waited my whole adult life for the experience of seeing Jake, Eddie, Oy, Roland, and Susannah brought to life, I hope it is faithful to the books, and I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code, so here's hoping that this dream of mine finally comes true......or nightmare ;)
  • jebstuart
    i just hope ron howard can handle something like this....i dont know
  • Tom Tom
    What??! A movie, then a tv series followed by another movie then continued by a tv series then another movie???!! WTF?? It makes no sense! I know the story is really detailed, vast yada ,yada yada but is this really necessary? Why can't they give a couple of decent movies just like all other adaptions? And I am pretty sure the tv series (if all of this sees the light of day) will end up on some obscure cable channel no one has!
  • Jericho
    @3 'Tom Tom' don't you remember the original 'V'?
  • Level1Alt
    @2 He couldn't handle simple Dan Brown novels, let alone this. /skip
  • jebstuart
    @5 good point
  • Chrisbo
    Davinci was a decent popcorn book turned into a snooze fest film. What can happen to one of the greatest series ever written is frightening. We'll see what HBO does with another great series, A Game of Thrones this coming Spring. Howard is scary though, his next movie coming out is called 'The Dilemma.' Scary enough. Not so happy this is in his vision. And Roland....Eastwood seemed to fit the character a decade ago, but nowadays....hmmmmm?
  • Cody w
    Yeah #5 nailed it, I have very low expectations for this.
  • Scott North
    Cant wait for this! I would have agreed with comment 3 normally. But after watching the pacific this year, i'm now confident that if enough money and the right people are thrown at this, then it could be EPIC!!!
  • loser
    Wish someone would do the same with the Temeraire series, Conn Igguldens Emperor series and his Conqueror series
  • Astroboy3000
    CLINT HOWARD as Roland!!!!!!!!!!
  • quazzimotto
    I hope I'm wrong, but if this fails everyone shouldn't slam Howard too hard. He was hand picked by Stephen King and Howard is already, admittedly, out of his element in the horror genre. With a Trilogy epic and a 2 part mini-series deal spanning 5 years on the table, only one person seems to fit the bill for this job. After watching the AMC series "The Walking Dead" and knowing how talented and attention to detail oriented Frank Darabont is behind the wheel, I can't help but think that King really shot himself in the foot by not giving this material to his most reliable movie source. Howard's done some good things, Ransom and Apollo 13 come to mind, but his films of late are not exactly confidence boosters going into this. How much do you bet that Dallas plays Susannah?
  • SuicidalOptimist
    I'm scared. As much as I'd love to see these beloved characters on the big screen, especially the storyline about Susan and Roland's old Ka-Tet, I am way too afraid that it's get ruined. These books have so many side stories, countless characters, time skips and all, not to mention how absolutely crucial the perfect casting will be. Everything will stand and fall with the actor they choose for Roland. Like I said, I'm scared.
  • Chris
    I love the grand planning and audicity behind something like this mix of media to tell a story. Bravo to Howard and Company to try to do something nobody else ever has.
  • uberman
    There is one Dull and one Great and one Good DARK TOWER books, and those are the 1st Three in that order. The 4th is simply a overly sappy Harliquin Romance dressed up as King, and then they are just kinda embarasing. Ron Howard is a very good filmaker and I expect that his DT movies will be better than the books by a...GREEN MILE!
    • Cavan1991
      Even though everybody is entitled to their own opinion i completely disagree. They were ALL extraordinary novels especially "The Gunslinger." I have Never seen a film adaptation that even came close to being better than the replicated publication excluding Peter Jackson's rendition of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
  • Bee
    Sawyer from LOST as Roland?
  • Jeannie C
    Oh! Can't wait! And in my opinion, as a die-hard Stephen King fan, ALLL the books were a vital part of the entire story. And oh yeah, casting is vital. Ohhhhh be careful! What a huge under-taking! DO wish they'd do it like the Star-Wars, or whatever - in a series instead of mixing it all up with TV. Lots of us aren't gonna get to see all of it.
  • sumonesumtime
    Of all Stephen King movies it's strange how he uses "The Green Mile" and "Shawshank Redemption" as examples of horror and suspense.
  • DoomCanoe
    #18 I just picture Ron Howard curled up under the covers because his greatest fear is HUGE black men and prison. this movies dooomed! but ill fallow its every step
  • Edward
    nothing new in this site? 4 days with tron and roger ebert....
  • JKnaak
    This gets me very excited and very worried at the same time. I like Ron Howard, but he has also been somewhat responsible for some awful novel adaptations (Angels & Demons). I really, really hope this is going to be good. The Dark Tower novels are fantastic and the films really need to be made on that same level. And "he leaves a lot open to interpretation and so it gives a great deal of latitude" does NOT make me feel more comfortable.
  • Patrick
    I bet Howard brings The Lost Symbol to screen before anyone in the Dark Tower endeavor is even cast. If they do get to film the series it will be tough to think the translation will be memorable. Howard is not really an innovator. His films are more like cozy memories you thought you'd lost. This series needs a self-destructing devotion to bring the vision to the screen, large or small. Howard just has too many irons in the fire to be that force.
  • A5J4DX
    thumbs up #5
  • Nicc
    Tom Hardy for Roland...He'd knock that out of the park...
  • YK
    I adored the series and can't wait to see it brought to the big (and little) screen. If the rendition is even 10% accurate, it can't not be awesome.
  • ceviche
    We all know that when Abrams walked away from this project, we lost any hope of seeing the version of this epic adventure that REAL FANS crave to see and that the story deserves. With Howard, we'll be treated to a beautiful recreation of many of our favorite DT moments, but ultimately, it will only be a translation. Only a real Dark Tower fan can understand, and then venture to capture the core of what makes this series so great. Howard isn't a fan. He's a director for hire. To that, Blaine the Train says: HELLZ NO, GUNSLINGER.
  • ceviche
    quazzimotto---100% correct. Darabont is the man for the job.

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