Warner Bros Also Passes on Epic Film & TV Take on 'The Dark Tower'
Earlier this month it sounded like Warner Bros. might finally be the studio to get the epic film and TV adaptation of Stephen King's seven-book series The Dark Tower off the ground. Ron Howard was still attached to direct for his own production banner Imagine Entertainment, and he and producing partner Brian Grazer had rounded up their A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe to take the role of Roland Deschain. However, it sounds like the project is heading back into development hell as Variety has learned that Warner Bros. has followed in the footsteps of Universal Pictures and passed on the ambitious project.
Imagine is now able to take the project to other studios, but Variety notes that many insiders believed Warner Bros was the best chance at getting the project off the ground, if only because of their HBO connection allowing for one hell of an uncensored TV series between films. Without that kind of pairing, the TV part of the project is more difficult to negotiate. This is a crushing blow to fans who have been waiting for this series for a while. The journey of this film to the big screen is becoming almost as hard to endure as Deschain's quest to reach The Dark Tower itself. Now the project goes back into development hell, and there's no telling if this will ever get in front of a camera.
Frankly, I understand the hesitation behind this kind of endeavor. It's very risky assuming that viewers will follow this story from the big screen, to TV and back again twice over, especially if the first film isn't a hit. When Univesal passed, there was a lot to be upset about because it was another instance of the studio giving up on a promising but risky project (see Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness). With Warner Bros, I can't say I'm surprised, but I'm just disappointed. They made all that bank off The Hangover Part II, from a recycled story almost exactly the same as the first film, and they can't inject it into this inspiring, ambitious project? Maybe they're still reeling from Green Lantern, but with a team like Howard, Grazer and Crowe together, who received multiple Oscar accolades, this seems like a no brainer. Disappointed?
UPDATE: Deadline has word that Media Rights Capital, the company who just recently produced Seth MacFarlane's Ted, is now in "serious talks" to pick up the rights to the three film, two season limited run TV series proposed to adapt The Dark Tower.. Apparently Modi Wiczyk at MRC is a big fan of the series and is eager to continue the success they found with Ted and hopefully will have with Neill Bolmkamp's Elysium starring Matt Damon. Of course, just because they land the rights, doesn't mean the project will actually get off the ground. Stay tuned.