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Ron Howard & Brian Grazer Provide Further Updates On ‘The Dark Tower’

Written by on June 21, 2011 

Despite production being delayed until Spring of 2012 because of financial concerns that Universal is feeling, Ron Howard seems pretty confident in the future of his film and TV adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. The topic of this endeavor inevitably came up in an interview that he and producer Brian Grazer did with Deadline, where both of them wanted to make clear that movement is still happening on the project. Additionally, they tried to point out that the studio’s budget cuts won’t have a huge impact on the end result, and that their desired actor could still star.

The director explained his desire to adapt the seven book series by saying that if he’s not “out there taking some risks,” he would simply be “coasting along” with past wins. Expanding upon this thought, he added that it “seemed like such a good idea to both of us that it became impossible not to try it.” When asked why it would be tried with a trilogy of films and two miniseries’ for TV, Howard said the following:

“The universe Steve King created is so dimensional and creative. It blends scope, sweep, and adventure with some very personal compelling stories. We could have tried to force all of it into one or two or three movies. It became clear to me that the medium of TV has become so bold and cool, we could use it to our advantage creatively and really fulfill the possibilities of this universe of characters King gave us to work with. We can use the intimacy of television when that’s appropriate, and the scope and scale of the big screen with the bigger fantasy ideas. We discovered elements that would probably never have a home either on the big screen or on TV, but would make fantastic narrative gaming opportunities that won’t rehash the movies or TV, but have its own material borne out of the books and graphic novels. We’ve got gaming designers and there is enthusiasm for that. It’s a way to use all the mediums at our disposal to try to fulfill what’s possible. Universal sees this as an asset that can benefit the company in a lot of different ways.”

As for why it’s taken so long for it all to get off the ground, and how this delay will change things up for them, the director said:

“The first version represented a bold attempt to fast track, because of weather concerns. It was a little more dramatic to people on the outside than to us. We’d have liked to move forward on that fast track, but it was always Phase One.  There was an understanding that if we couldn’t answer all the questions in a way that made sense to all the partners involved, then we would operate on a slightly more traditional timetable. Even if we go in March, that’s still moving quickly for something of this scale.”

Relating to that, there’s the issue of how much is being compromised with a smaller budget than they originally planned to have. Grazer didn’t seem too concerned about that, saying that Akiva Goldsman’s script was written “to be sensitive to cost,” and that he’s “rewriting it to be more so.” I hope that he’s being truthful when he says that “the cuts aren’t that deep or that radical,” because this is a series that needs a lot of money behind it to fully capture the scope of the series; they seemed intent on doing that when they decided to tell the story across different mediums, so them still taking that path could be taken as a good sign.

One of the other big questions is if Javier Bardem is still going to play our lead, Roland Deschain. He was apparently ready to join back in April, but the delay means that he might have to move on to other projects before this can begin shooting – for an actor, several extra months is a big gap in their schedule. Howard already said that they won’t know until “by the end of the summer,” and his new answer to the same question remains somewhat ambiguous. As he put it:

“Nobody is pay or play but he has said he wants to do it. We’ve spent a lot of time together. He’s fascinated by the character and has great instincts for Roland. I’m hoping when we go, he’s available and will join us.”

Make of that what you will, but there are too many factors out there right now that permit anybody outside the production from making a real guess. I know I’m not holding my breath on learning anything concrete for the time being, and I think most people would be better off doing the same.

Do you think The Dark Tower will come together as envisioned by its creative team? Is Javier Bardem still a real candidate for the part of Roland?

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