Bardem Closes In On <i>Dark Tower</i>

Javier Bardem, whom producer Brian Grazer said last month was "locked in psychologically" to the role of Roland Deschain, is reportedly closing a deal to star in Ron Howard's adaptation of The Dark Tower.

The Academy Award-winning actor, best known in the United States for his unnerving performance in No Country for Old Men, was offered the part of Stephen King's gunslinger back in January, but negotiations had dragged on -- presumably because the ambitious, perhaps even unprecedented, nature of the adaptation. The plan by Universal Pictures, NBC Universal and Imagine Entertainment calls for a film trilogy and a television series, a major commitment for an actor.

But now Deadline reports Bardem's representatives are putting the finishing touches on an agreement that "will add up to a career-best payday" for the actor. The deal is apparently so close that Howard, who will direct the first film and the first season of the TV series, has begun meeting with other actors for the supporting roles. Production on the first film is expected to begin in September.

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