Universal's plan to film all the novels of Stephen King's epic, massive, completely out-of-control series "The Dark Tower" has always sounded a little crazy. To remind, "The Dark Tower" was going to be huger than even the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy: three films were planned (directed by Ron Howard), with two television series serving as a connective tissue between the movies. That had never been tried before -- we're not sure it had ever been considered -- but King's seven-book series about a post-apocalyptic cowboy (to be played by Javier Bardem) demanded that kind of treatment: Basically, you either go all the way or you don't bother at all.
Universal, perhaps smartly, has decided that it's not worth the bother at all. They're done with it.
Last night, in a not-entirely-unexpected move, the studio pulled the plug on the project. They'd lost their star, they'd lost their director and they just couldn't sink that much money into it. Even though apparently sets had already been built. Quoth Deadline:
This stunning development comes after Universal in May pushed plans to start production this summer on the first film. The studio claimed to be on track for a February [start], postponing to reduce the budget. This temporarily dispelled rumors that Universal was putting the project in turnaround, rumors that cropped up when the studio put workers on hiatus. But it was only a temporary respite. I'm told that this time, the studio reviewed Goldsman's script for the first film and the first leg of the TV series, and would only commit to the single film.
Entertainment Weekly says Howard and his buddy Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment still own the rights and plan on trying to sell them somewhere else. But one shouldn't hold one's breath. (One shouldn't do that anyway: You need air to live.) If Universal couldn't pull this together, with Howard committed to the whole thing, it's hard to see anyone else stepping up. Perhaps this will give "Lost"'s Damon Lindelof the license to try putting this together again, sometime down the line. Or maybe this'll end up being like the modern-day "Lord of the Rings" after all: It'll take about 50 years to get made. Perhaps the person who will ultimately make "The Dark Tower" hasn't been born yet. We hope they still make movies in 50 years.
Universal Nixes Stephen King's 'Dark Tower' - No Ambitious Film Trilogy Or TV Series [Deadline]
Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' adaptation reaches dead end, but all hope is not lost [Entertainment Weekly]