Warner Bros. Passes On THE DARK TOWER

Stephen King's fantasy epic continues to languish in development purgatory.

Warner Bros. has gone the same route as Universal, passing on Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman's planned two-platform adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. The proposal, a simultaneous multi-film and television series, is certainly ambitious, but also expensive and risky. The Dark Tower has fervent fans - I'm among them - but are there enough of us to warrant a studio spending untold amounts of money on this endeavor? Not to mention the fact that a lot of Dark Tower fans and Ron Howard fans don't overlap; a vocal contingent has been expressing hesitation about Howard and Goldsman's involvement from the beginning.

There's also the issue of the rating. To do the series justice, an R/TV MA rating would be ideal, but that's going to limit the audience considerably. Add to that equation the widespread (although certainly not unanimous) criticism of Javier Bardem's casting as Roland, and the whole thing spells untenable liability for a studio. 

Listen: make a cable TV series or nothing. Game of Thrones is the obvious parallel, a series that's bloody and sexy and fantastical and takes place in a massive universe. Fans of the books are happy; newcomers are happy; the series is making a boatload of money for HBO. Showtime, don't you want to get in on this?

For the record, as a fanperson, I think Javier Bardem would make an excellent Roland. While my first choice will always and forever be Viggo Mortensen, Bardem's a tremendous performer and he's certainly craggy enough. I don't love the idea of Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman's involvement, but Howard at least is definitely passionate enough about the project. If only he could find a studio that feels the same way.

Update: Media Rights Capital is in talks to finance The Dark Tower. MRC recently financed Ted and Elysium and executive Modi Wiczyk is apparently a big fan of the series. We'll see.

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