This will be the third attempt to bring Stephen King’s Dark Tower series to the big screen and it looks like things are just right for the project to finally come to fruition. Joining together for the project, Sony Pictures and MRC will co-finance the feature film adaptation of The Dark Tower, the first book in a fantasy/horror series written by Stephen King.
Also committed to the big screen treatment of Stephen King’s Dark Tower story are Imagine’s Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Erica Huggins. Although previous scripts are available — leftover from the first two proposals — Sony Entertainment has commissioned a completely new script, stressing that the project should be completely revamped with a stronger emphasis on the book’s fantasy and horror themes. Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinker are already working on the new script, which will focus on the lead characters from Mr. King’s first Dark Tower book, Roland and Jake.
It has been said that Stephen King fully supports this current adaptation and to witness him speak so passionately about the Dark Tower project puts a measure of faith in King’s fans.
“I’m excited that The Dark Tower is finally going to appear on the screen. Those who have traveled with Roland and his friends in their search for the Dark Tower are going to have their long-held hopes fully realized. This is a brilliant and creative approach to my books.”
The first attempt to realize Mr. King’s vision of bringing The Dark Tower series to the screen was declined by Universal Pictures, when Ron Howard proposed an ambitious three-movie and two-season television miniseries adaptation of Stephen’s seven part genre-crossing tale. Howard’s Imagine held onto the rights, still hoping to find backing for the project.
Next, Howard went knocking on Warner Bros.’ door and initially found their receptive reaction to the Dark Tower proposal encouraging. Unfortunately, a change in opinion came when, like an savvy shopper, Warner Bros checked the price tag. The studio, like Ron Howard’s home studio of Universal, decided that the Dark Tower project was too ambitious and too costly to take the chance in committing to it.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in getting approval for the Dark Tower project has to do with content as well as cost. Remaining faithful to the Stephen King books would mean assuring theatrical releases with good, solid R-ratings, which, in turn, would cut out a fair hunk of the market — mainly the under 18 crowds that flocked to epics like The Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games. Watering down the Dark Tower series to slip in with a PG-13 rating would require a significant change to aspects of the tale that would, in all likelihood, alienate Stephen King fans, another big share of the customer base.
It seems Howard and company have found allies in the Dark Tower project with Sony Pictures and MRC and the latest adaptation of a Stephen King novel (not excluding It) can now move forward with the hunt for the right director.