After years upon years of false starts, the feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is finally in the can and will soon enter our lives, which kind of seems like a miracle of fairly epic proportions. We honestly thought it was never going to happen, and we cannot wait to check it out.
Speaking with Deadline, producer Ron Howard spoke about how it all went down.
“Akiva Goldsman first pitched it to me while we were making A Beautiful Mind and the rights weren’t available,” said Howard. “JJ Abrams was working on it at first and then Akiva told me JJ was involved in so many projects he let it go. We started talking about what it could be. I read all the novels and we broke them down. He presented this idea to Stephen King, and this is insider material you might not get, but it was about introducing the Horn of Eld into the very first story. He knew it would allow us to use elements of the novels in a new combination that would give us the latitude to be true to the essence of the novels, but also re-balance and refocus the narrative in a cinematic way. That was the jumping-off point that began this process.”
“When MRC and Modi Wiczyk became involved, that discussion deepened and we focused more on the Jake Chambers-Roland relationship at the very center of the first movie as a way of launching the universe,” he continued. “We simplified the story line, made it less expensive as a result, but we still utilized a lot of those important structural adjustments that Akiva and I had devised going back years ago. One of the things we did was put together a team of Dark Tower researchers, devotees of the books. We wanted to restructure the novels to be most cinematic and Stephen King agreed completely and understood the journey we were on immediately and supported it. We used this group to inspire our thinking and stay in the universe of Dark Tower.”
“We’ve definitely been working on it at least 10 years, but we found the perfect way to make it,” added fellow producer Brian Grazer. “It’s economical and forced us to focus on the scenes that were the heartbeat of the story. It’s still a big landscape, but the scenes are more bull’s-eye than maybe it was back then. And we have the hippest cast with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. We never had that cast.”
Howard also praised Elba and McConaughey.
“Idris brings this crucial combination of coiled danger, quiet charisma, undercurrents of complexity and nobility, and a kind of timeless cool,” he noted. “These are the elemental qualities of Roland, in my mind, and I think Idris carries it incredibly well. Then there is McConaughey. He brings that combination of diabolical amorality mixed with an intelligence and his own logic that he adheres to, relentlessly. And a kind of wry wit that kept readers and will keep the movie audience off-balance in a very entertaining way. You never know what to expect next from the Walter character. Matthew mixes that with an undercurrent of impending violence and danger, in a very watchable way.”
What’s the plan going forward? More films and a TV series!
“We’re developing the television part now,” Howard revealed. “We don’t know what platform it will be on at this point, but we’re developing the content in hopes for more movies that will cover the epic and the characters involved.”
The Dark Tower heads to theaters on February 17, 2017. Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Fran Kranz, Abbey Lee, Tom Taylor, and Katheryn Winnick co-star.
Based on the King-penned fantasy series, the film follows a wandering knight who is the last hope of the fallen land of Mid-World. He is charged with finding the Dark Tower while battling his nemesis, the Man in Black.
Nikolaj Arcel directs with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer producing under their Imagine Entertainment banner along with Stephen King and Erica Huggins.