'The Dark Tower' Stays at Universal With a Lower Budget

Friday, 13 May 2011 12:28 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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'The Dark Tower' Stays at Universal With a Lower Budget

A week ago, news broke that Universal Studios had halted pre-production on The Dark Tower, director Ron Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman's massively ambitious adaptation of the novel series by Stephen King.  Reportedly daunted by the huge budget required for a huge fantasy western film trilogy and two limited-run television series to connect the films, the studio abandoned the planned autumn production start and was likely to put the project into turnaround, but now it looks like The Dark Tower will remain at Universal, albeit with a reduced budget.

When last we heard about the imperiled project last Friday, Universal was deliberating while Howard, Goldsman, and producer Brian Grazer attempting to persuade the studio into sticking with the project, which recently locked Javier Bardem to star as Roland Deschain, the warrior Gunslinger.  According to THR, they succeeded, but will have to make due with less money.

Goldsman is now rewriting the first film's screenplay to accommodate the new, smaller budget.  Presumably, this means much of pre-production is still on hold.  The initial plan to shoot this fall has been scrapped, which moves the epic's entire schedule back. 

If all goes according to plan, the first film will be followed by a one-season television series directed by Howard and starring Bardem.  That would lead directly into the second film, with a one-season prequel series bridging the gap between the second and third film.

While The Dark Tower will stay at Universal, it's unknown what the delay in production will mean for Javier Bardem's involvement in the first film and series.  The No Country for Old Men actor was the first choice for Roland Deschain, but he's a valued commodity these days, with a potentially busy schedule.

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