Stephen King is a name that commands respect among book readers and film goers alike, but, while the famous author is happy to bring his literary works to television and movie theaters for his fans, it can’t be said that King has ever “gone Hollywood” in the traditional sense. Sure, Stephen knows how to negotiate for a fair deal with even the most savvy studio executives, and has even taken active roles in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes, but, for all of that, Mr. King has remained a dedicated Maine resident with a grounded view of what’s fair, what’s possible, and what’s flat out ridiculous. Now, Stephen King applies those views to The Dark Tower and what it takes to bring one of his books to the big screen.
Stephen King Calls The Shots On The Dark Tower Film Adaptation
As has been the case with many of the film adaptations of his novels, Stephen King has taken an active interest in the development of The Dark Tower feature film and a new interview reveals that King is involved down to the most minute details. New details about the film reveals that Stephen’s demands place the project in a conflicting light, because The Dark Tower author says the first line of the first film will begin with the first line of The Gunslinger, yet that film will not necessarily be based on that particular part of The Dark Tower series.
“It should start that way. I’ve been pretty insistent about that,” says Mr. King. “For those who don’t know the line, it goes: ‘The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.'”
It has been revealed by director Nicolas Arcel that The Dark Tower begins in our present time, hinting that this first film may not actually be based on The Gunslinger, despite the film’s inclusion of that book’s first line. Mr. King seems to confirm as much with his own thoughts on the matter.
“[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they’ll get behind it, because it is the story,” Stephen says of the first Dark Tower film.
Adding more confusion to plot and placement of the film in The Dark Tower series is the news that Michael Barbieri (Little Men) has been cast as Timmy, a character whose appearance doesn’t occur until the third book in series, The Wasteland.
In more recent casting news, Katheryn Winnick (Vikings) has been cast to star in The Dark Tower as well, though her exact role is being kept under wraps.
Looking Back On Producing Pet Sematary For The Big Screen
The film Pet Sematary recently celebrated an anniversary, having been released on April 21 in 1989, so it seems only fitting that the Stephen King based film should be revisited this month. Delving deep into the film’s history, a recent look reveals little known pieces of trivia that might even challenge King himself. For instance, some of the events which have made the book and subsequent film famous are based on true events. One such incident occurred when King’s own son, Owen, had a near death experience on a busy highway. Fans know that the real life incident made it into King’s book and would ultimately lead to Louis Creed burying his son, Gage, in Pet Sematary.
Another little known bit of trivia is that Pet Sematary began a trend to have King’s film adaptations shot on location in Maine. While many previous films do take place in Maine, there were not actually shot there and Stephen pushed for this to change, beginning with Pet Sematary. King felt that shooting on location in Maine would allow for the film to remain true to the story, while also generating revenue for his home state. This may have also contributed to Paramount’s willingness to produce another King film so soon, as the studio executives were facing a WGA strike that would have severely limited their release calendar.
Stephen King was a proponent of gender equality in Hollywood long before actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Lena Dunham began bringing it to the public’s attention. When Pet Sematary first went into pre-production, King brought Mary Lambert in to direct the project. Making this move so bold and risky was the fact that, up to that point, Lambert’s directing experience was limited. Mary had just one feature film to her directing credits, 1987’s Siesta. Otherwise, the Pet Sematary director’s only experience was in directing music videos for artists such as Sting and Janet Jackson. It was this experience that really drew King’s attention. King was attracted to Lambert’s eye for visual beauty, which he saw in her work for another well known artist, Madonna. Lambert had directed the videos for Madonna’s hits “Like a Virgin,” “Material Girl,” and “Borderline”.
The Dark Tower is scheduled for a February 17, 2017 theatrical release.
[Image by Donald Bowers/Getty Images For Fox Atomic]