'Dark Tower' Not Dead Yet?

According to Deadline , Ron Howard’s ambitious version of Steven King’s THE DARK TOWER darktower_Coverbook series might very well still have life in it.
The site says that Warner Brother’s is  “very close to a deal”  that would give Howard the means to make the first feature film he planned in adapting the saga. 
Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman’s script would be used, and Goldsman would produce with Brian Grazer and Steven King. Warner Bros. has purchased Goldsman’s existing script (done for Universal), and he is now doing a polish on the screenplay for the studio. 
 Javier Bardem was previously tentatively attached as the anti-hero lead  Roland Deschain, last of the “Gunslingers” — in the Dark Tower world a kind of Western-themed Knight-Errant.  
javier-bardem_1Bardem’s continued participation is dependent on when the film, still to be directed by Ron Howard, is scheduled. This might be the beginning of 2013.
Right now, Javier Bardeem is playing the villian in SKYFALL , the new James Bond film, currently shooting in the UK. 
The production’s resurrection is a bit of a surprize to many, as Universal Studios backed off the plan to make three feature films and two TV mini-series out of the allegorical dark fantasy novels.
Apparently, HBO may pick up the project as a mini-series, if Warner Brothers Pictures ultimately greenlights the film.

Universal Cancels 'The Dark Tower'

darktower_CoverBeen waiting for further confirmation, but it seems Deadline’s  report of  Universal Studios cancellation of Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman’s adaption of Steven King’s THE DARK TOWER is correct.
There have been no detailed announcements as the the reasons, but it seems that the studio just couldn’t justify the budgets for the three planned feature films, supported by a seperate TV series to bring King’s epic horror/western fantasy to the screen.
It’s speculated that Universal might have been willing to greenlight one film at a reduced, but still substantial budget, but not the massive commitment the producers were demanding.
The project is not dead, Howard and Goldsman are free to shop it around to other studios, but the feature and mini-series approach might well remain a stumbling block.

Horror Film Ratings & Conversations with Michael Cricthon: CFQ Round Table Podcast 2:24.3

Carmen Electra is about to lose a breast implant in this scene from the R-rated SCARY MOVIE.
Carmen Electra is about to lose a breast implant in this scene from the R-rated SCARY MOVIE.

This time out, the Cinefantastique Round Table Podcast – the podcast of horror, fantasy, and science fiction films – devotes itself to two in-depth conversations. The first focuses on the subject of the MPAA ratings system and how it impacts horror movies, with their depictions of graphic violence. The second, inspired by the new book, Conversations with Michael Cricthon, takes a look at the best selling author’s contribution to the science fiction genre in literature on on film. CFQ editor Steve Biodrowski (whose interview with Crichton regarding JURASSIC PARK is in the book) is joined by San Francisco correspondent Lawrence French and New York correspondent Dan Persons.
Also this week: Farewell to James Arness; James Cameron on the AVATAR sequels (not a trilogy); Pierce Brosnan in Stephen King’s BAG OF BONES; and Ron Howard on THE DARK TOWER.

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'Dark Tower' Going Forward?

darktower_CoverIn an wide-ranging interview with Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer about the 25-year producing partnership, Deadline broached some questions about their planned adaption of Steven King’s The Dark Tower at Universal Studios.
An epic undertaking, the project would encompass three movies AND two TV mini-series. Whay take on such a massive production?
Ron Howard answered that the project may be even more ambitious.

“The universe Steve King created is so dimensional and creative. It blends scope, sweep, and adventure with some very personal compelling stories. We could have tried to force all of it into one or two or three movies.
It became clear to me that the medium of TV has become so bold and cool, we could use it to our advantage creatively, and really fulfill the possibilities of this universe of characters King gave us to work with. We can use the intimacy of television when that’s appropriate, and the scope and scale of the big screen with the bigger fantasy ideas.
We discovered elements that would probably never have a home either on the big screen or on TV, but would make fantastic narrative gaming opportunities that won’t rehash the movies or TV, but have its own material borne out of the books and graphic novels. We’ve got gaming designers and there is enthusiasm for that. It’s a way to use all the mediums at our disposal to try to fulfill what’s possible. Universal sees this as an asset that can benefit the company in a lot of different ways.”

The site mentioned rumors that Universal might be getting cold feet about the undertaking, and the fact that the start of  production has been delayed until 2012.

A multi-media franchise?
A multi-media franchise?

Howard replied that the original start date was part of a “fast track” plan that in the end went back to a “more traditional timetable”.
Asked about the studio’s desire to reduce the budget, Brian Grazer replied that writer and co-producer Akiva Goldsman is is “sensitive to cost”  and re-writing the script to reduce the expense, insisting that “the cuts aren’t that deep or radical.”
Questioned if  Javier Bardem is signed to play the lead Roland Deschains, Ron Howard said that Bardem does want to play the role and that he hoped that would be the case, but implied no one is “pay or play” at this point.