I keep thinking that the idea that J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof would be adapting Stephen King‘s epic Dark Tower series was commonly understood as a dead deal. The last time Lindelof spoke about the project, in October, seemed pretty definitive: “My guess is they will get made because they’re so incredible. But not by me.” Now J.J. Abrams has weighed in on the subject with his own statement that is sure to crush the hearts of hopeful King fans everywhere.
MTV spoke to Abrams, who said “The Dark Tower thing is tricky. It’s such an important piece of writing. The truth is that Damon and I are not looking at that right now.”
I’ll take issue with ‘important’, but ‘tricky’ is definitely right. This is a story that very much lives on the page, and to put it on screen would have required an insane commitment, either to make multiple films or a long television show. I would have been intrigued to see how that worked out — I’m always fascinated by super-ambitious adaptations — but not all that optimistic. Creating a successful movie or television series on the scale The Dark Tower, even with King’s large readership to (possibly) rely on, seems like a real long shot.
This whole thing is amusing, because even when the project seemed like a theoretical possibility Lindelof was hedging his comments. Reading between the lines of comments he made a year ago, it seems like there was no real idea of how to make the thing work.
Almost makes you wonder if King sold the option to these guys just so it would be off the table for everyone else and he could get a break from hearing bogus pie in the sky offers. Unlikely, I know, but that’s the sort of thing I’d expect someone to do if they knew a project was basically hopeless from the start.