The writing has been on the wall for a little while now, but here’s the final word: Universal doesn’t want to risk coin on three movies and two connecting TV arcs based on Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower. Imagine Entertainment wants a commitment for more than one film, which is all Universal was willing to sign off on. So the Universal chapter of this story is over. The studio has passed on the project, leaving Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman and Brian Grazer holding a script, the possible lingering willingness of Javier Bardem to play the lead role, and some big hopes. Read More »


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Ron Howard Attached to Direct ‘Spy Vs. Spy’

Is The Dark Tower in danger of dying? It looked like that might be the case not long ago, but Universal asked for some script changes and budget cuts, which director Ron Howard recently said were not terribly deep or radical. The project looked like it might be able to shoot next spring.

But last night we heard that Ron Howard was attached to direct the Formula One movie Rush that hopes to shoot this year. That didn’t have to mean The Dark Tower was dead, as he could (conceivably, if not easily) make that film while Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman prepped the Stephen King adaptation this fall.

But now Ron Howard is also attached to a film version of the classic Mad Magazine strip Spy Vs. Spy, and his name is also being thrown around in conjunction to a version of Frankenstein that Max Landis is writing for Fox, which reportedly tells the story from Igor’s point of view. It looks like Frankenstein is not a film that he’ll direct, but the talk in general seems to imply that The Dark Tower might fall. Read More »

Whatever you think of the grand career sweep of the creative team, Imagine Entertainment and, in particular, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman are trying something pretty outrageous with their adaptation of Stephen King‘s novel series The Dark Tower. Set to span three films and two limited TV series, with an offshoot game or two to add additional flavor, there’s nothing quite like it on the drawing boards anywhere else.

Javier Bardem is provisionally cast as the Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, but Universal wanted a bit of a budget reduction, and the schedule was pushed back. We’re still waiting to see the studio flash the green light for The Dark Tower, but in the meantime Ron Howard and Brian Grazer clarify where the project stands. Read More »

The Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman and Brian Grazer adaptation of Stephen King‘s sprawling novel series The Dark Tower quickly became an equally sprawling film and television project. Three movies are planned, with short television series linking them, and Javier Bardem possibly starring as lead character Roland Deschain. But the project is at Universal and as the studio reconsiders its plans in the wake of several underperforming films, the budgetary scope of The Dark Tower has been reduced. That means a rewrite is in order, and to accomodate these changes plans to begin shooting the first film this fall were pushed back.

Now Ron Howard says he’s hoping to begin The Dark Tower in spring 2012. But what of Javier Bardem? Read More »

Universal won’t pass on the massive Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman adaptation of Stephen King‘s series The Dark Tower, but the studio is making some changes before it writes a check. We recently heard that the project, which is mean to come to life as three feature films and a couple of TV arcs, might be shelved at Universal and offered up to other studio homes. Universal doesn’t want to let it go — understandable, as there is nothing execs like less than seeing projects they pass over do well somewhere else — but is asking for a new look at the budget, and has pushed the start date for the first film back from this fall to some time next year. Will that mean The Dark Tower loses Javier Bardem as the lead? Read More »

UPDATE: Bad news. Deadline is now reporting that pre-production staff on The Dark Tower has been put on hiatus as the budget issues are worked out. Read more after the jump.

Just when things seemed too good to be true for fans of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower, that just might be the case. Last year, Universal announced an ambitious plan to adapt the popular series of novels beginning with a film version directed by Ron Howard and followed by multiple theatrical sequels and television events covering the seven current books. The series tells the sprawling and epic tale of Roland Deschain, the last in a mythic order of men called The Gunslingers, who is on a quest through a magical western world to find the Dark Tower, where all answers will be revealed. Brian Grazer was set to produce, Akiva Goldsmith was writing the script and Oscar-winner Javier Bardem was all but set to play Deschain. Things were looking good.

Now Variety reports that Universal is beginning to have second thoughts on the epic production and, in the coming days, could decide to put it in turnaround. That could result in another studio taking over or the project dying a slow death. Read More »

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Mark Verheiden is a name that has been known in geek circles for years. I first ran across his stuff when he was scripting comics like the Aliens series for Dark Horse over twenty years ago. Since then he has become a steady scriptwriter for television, with many episodes of Battlestar Galacitca, Smallville and Heroes under his belt, among others. He’s a co-exec producer on the upcoming Falling Skies, and now he’s been tapped to work with Akiva Goldsman as co-writer and exec producer on The Dark Tower. Read More »

Update from Editor Peter Sciretta: Deadline is now reporting that Javier Bardem is in final discussions to play gunslinger Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower. According to the report, the deal is so close to done that “Howard has begun meeting with other actors to cast the roles around Bardem.” Since there aren’t any new details to add, we have Russ’ original story (published March 2nd 2011) after the jump.

Read More »

Javier Bardem Offered Lead in ‘The Dark Tower’

It was just earlier today that we heard Christian Bale might be on the wishlist for the role of Roland Deschain in Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman‘s film and TV adaptation of Stephen King‘s series The Dark Tower. It seemed odd, given that Mr. Bale will soon have his hands full being Batman for a third and possibly final time. But the source was the same one that had pegged Javier Bardem and Viggo Mortensen as being serious contenders, and that info turned out to be on the money.

In fact, that info was very on the money as Deadline now reports that Javier Bardem has been offered the role. This is step one, and the site says that negotiations haven’t begun, but “there’s a high level of enthusiasm internally that they’ve got their cowboy.” Read More »