Stephen King fans have been waiting with bated breath while details surrounding Ron Howard’s planned transmedia treatment of The Dark Tower series slowly surface. Its been a roller coaster for the planned film trilogy/TV series/video game project, which has repeatedly shown signs of falling apart, likely due to its far-ranging ambition.
But in a lengthy interview with Deadline alongside his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer, Howard insists The Dark Tower adaptation is still very much happening. The project was originally announced as something that would be moving forward very quickly, but those plans have since been set back to accommodate the broad scope necessary for adapting King’s lengthy series.
“The universe Steve King created is so dimensional and creative. It blends scope, sweep, and adventure with some very personal compelling stories,” Howard said. “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 [also] 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,” Howard continued. “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.”
He went on to say that earlier rumors that the project might be let go by Universal were inaccurate, and based largely on the studio’s hesitation over fast tracking something that represents a large, multi-year, multi-platform investment. Akiva Goldsman is rewriting his script with more of an eye toward keeping the budget in check, but Howard confirms that “the cuts aren’t that deep or radical.”
As for earlier talk that Javier Bardem was wanted for the lead role of Roland Deschains, that was, and still is, very much the case. Nothing will be confirmed until there’s an actual production schedule — they’re still in the development phase — but the plan is for Bardem.
“Nobody is pay or play but he has said he wants to do it,” Howard said. “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.”