Originally, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot company (Lost, Star Trek) had the rights to adapt The Dark Tower book series by Stephen King into a TV series. However, they ended up deciding that they would not be able to do the books justice and no longer have the rights to make it.
Now, both Heat Vision and Deadline are reporting that Imagine Entertainment and Weed Road Productions have obtained the rights, and that Ron Howard would direct with Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman producing along with Stephen King.
According to both reports, the idea is to adapt Stephen King’s The Dark Tower into a movie, followed by a TV series that would finish out the story, kind of like what happened with Stargate (which was extremely successful). However, while the two reports are consistent in that there would be a TV series after a movie, THR says there would be one movie and Deadline says a trilogy.
IF this goes through (it hasn’t yet), Universal is the most likely candidate to distribute the film, with Imagine Entertainment’s TV division producing the TV series. Warner Brothers is also trying to get their hands on the film(s) as well.
While I don’t think this team is quite as qualified as J.J. Abrams and his writers are to take on this massive undertaking (watch the entire series of Lost to understand where I’m coming from on this), I think they just might be able to pull it off. Ron Howard is responsible for A Beautiful Mind, and Brian Grazer has produced quite a bit of notable projects as well. The one thing throwing me off is Akiva Goldsman, who wrote Batman Forever, Batman and Robin, Lost in Space, The Da Vinci Code, etc. He hasn’t produced the greatest films either. To his credit, however, he did also write A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man, and also wrote some great episodes for Fringe.
In the end, none of them have taken on something quite as deep or complex as The Dark Tower, which kind of worries me. If J.J. Abrams was still behind this project I’d have more faith in it than I do now. But I think it is possible to pull off something quite good with this team of people – especially if it will become a TV series, which, from what I understand, is really the only way to do justice to The Dark Tower. From what I have been told, the scope is just too big to be adapted into a movie or even a trilogy. It sounds like they at least have the right idea on how to go about this.
If you are unfamiliar with the books, here is a synopsis from Wikipedia:
In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, his world’s analogue of King Arthur. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. While the magical aspects are largely gone from Mid-World, some vestiges of them remain, along with the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society. Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on”, and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams±—mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Even the Sun sometimes rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland’s motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries.
PCM will keep you posted on the details as they come through.