Ron Howard Talks <i>Dark Tower</i>, Suggests Bardem Isn't Locked In

Following last week's news that Universal Pictures will delay The Dark Tower while  it attempts to trim the budget, director Ron Howard remains confident production will begin on the ambitious adaptation early next year. However, Javier Bardem's starring turn as Stephen King's gunslinger is beginning to look a little less certain.

“We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward,” Howard tells Entertainment Weekly. “We’re thinking of starting in early spring now. I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid.”

The involvement of the Academy Award-winning actor seemed all but certain in April, when Howard was reportedly comfortable enough to begin meeting with other potential cast members for the perhaps-unprecedented project, which calls for a movie trilogy and two interlocking television series. However, now it appears Bardem is no longer locked down, but has merely "shown a great deal of interest." Did those earlier reports overestimate the status of negotiations, or have the "budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues" led the actor to cool on the role of Roland Deschain?

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