Earlier this year Universal started having second thoughts about The Dark Tower, their adaptation of Stephen King’s epic book series with Ron Howard attached to direct. The intention was to make a trilogy of films with a TV miniseries in-between each film, however budget concerns caused the planned shoot later this year to be delayed while screenwriter Akiva Goldsman re-wrote the script.
Now Universal has decided against making The Dark Tower altogether, and the only way it will move forward now is if it finds a new home at another studio.
Universal has passed on going forward with the project, dealing a huge blow in the plan for Ron Howard to direct Akiva Goldsman’s script, with Brian Grazer, Goldsman and the autor producing and Javier Bardem starring as gunslinger Roland Deschain. Now, the filmmakers will have to find a new backer of what might well be the most ambitious movie project since Bob Shaye allowed Peter Jackson to shoot three installments of The Lord of the Rings back to back.
I’d heard back in May that Warner Bros–where Goldsman’s Weed Road is based and which is fully financing two installments of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit–was a possible landing place for the adaptation of King’s 7-novel epic that is that author’s answer to Tolkien’s LOTR novels.
This is the second potentially huge (but risky) project Universal have passed on this year. Back in March the studio decided against making Guillermo del Toro’s movie adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s horror novella At the Mountains of Madness with Tom Cruise.
Fans of The Dark Tower may be disappointed, although some will think they’ve dodged a bullet. The book follows a gunslinger called Roland Deschain who is the last living member of a knightly order of gunslingers, and humanity’s last hope to save a civilization that will fall unless he finds the Dark Tower.