It was exciting when Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television announced in September 2010 that they would back the Ron Howard-Brian Grazer-Akiva Goldsmith adaptation of Stephen King’s sprawling and highly “meta” The Dark Tower series. That deal was also highly ambitious, consisting of a feature film trilogy spanned by a network television series. Nothing of the scale has ever been attempted which, of course, meant endless dickering over the initial deal and the budget. Eventually, Universal passed on the project altogether. Howard and company maintained that they would continue revising and shopping the project around, but it seemed fairly dead in the water. That might not be so, though. There’s talk that Warner Bros is considering bringing The Dark Tower adaptation back from the ashes.
There is no official word, but it looks like Warner Bros has bought Akiva Goldsman’s script for the first proposed feature film and is having him work it over a bit. There is talk of Ron Howard beginning production on the film in early 2013, with Goldsman, Brian Grazer, and Stephen King producing. Javier Bardem was “firmly attached” to play the central figure of wandering gunslinger Roland Deschain when the project was at Universal, but that casting has been uncertain since Universal bucked the project.
It’s interesting that the project might end up back with Warner Bros, who originally vied with Universal for The Dark Tower adaptation. Until an official announcement is released by Warner Bros we won’t know for sure how much of the deal with Universal will be preserved and whether the adaptation will be helped or hindered by jumping studios. Will it still be three movies and two television series? What will its budget look like? Hopefully, we’ll get an official announcement soon, followed by plenty of casting news certain to set fans of King’s opus arguing.