Ron Howard's Troubled <i>Dark Tower</i> Crumbles At Universal Pictures

Although Ron Howard insisted just last month that, despite rumors to the contrary, Universal Pictures would push forward with his ambitious adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, Deadline now reports the studio has passed on the project, which includes plans for a movie trilogy and two television miniseries.

That leaves Imagine Entertainment to find a new studio for the fantasy epic, which seemed on the fast track until "budgetary complications" in May led Universal to delay production on the first film while it worked to whittle down costs. However, Deadline contends that once executives reviewed Akiva Goldsman's script for the first film and the first part of the TV series, they would only commit to a single movie.

No Country for Old Men star Javier Bardem had been targeted to play gunslinger Roland Deschain in the adaptation -- he wasn't locked into the role, though -- but it's obviously unknown how this blow will affect his involvement or interest.

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