Ron Howard Talks 'The Dark Tower' Delay

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 08:32 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Ron Howard Talks 'The Dark Tower' Delay

Until a few weeks ago, Universal Studios was dauntlessly plowing ahead with The Dark Tower, an adaptation of the fantasy/western novel series by Stephen King that would consist of a film trilogy and two limited-run television series to bridge the gaps between film installments.  With production on the first film set to start in the Fall, Universal blinked and put pre-production on hold.  Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer, along with writer Akiva Goldsman, persuaded the studio to stay with the crazy ambitious, crazy expensive project, but at a reduced budget.  Howard himself has, for the first time, provided a brief update on the first film's status, including the involvement of leading man Javier Bardem.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about a competition he's involved in along with the Canon camera company, Ron Howard confirmed that the project will no longer start production this fall.  Here's what he said, compiled into one handy text-block:

"We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward.  We’re thinking of starting in early spring now. I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid.  There are elements of the Dark Tower saga that are more personal and can be best dealt with on television.  TV allows you to roll out details of the characters in a more methodical way.”

Howard, Goldsman, and Grazer unveiled their cross-platform vision for The Dark Tower last April.  This January, they decided that Oscar winning actor Javier Bardem was the man to play Roland Deschain, aka The Gunslinger, the last of an ancient warrior caste and the protagonist of the entire franchise.  For months, the No Country for Old Men and Biutiful star was in active discussions to play Deschain in all three films and the initial television component (the second will be a prequel).  In April, his deal was reportedly very close to being concluded, with Howard casting around his presumed gunslinger.  Now, though, it looks like the delay in production could potentially cost The Dark Tower its sought-after lead actor.

For the television series, Ron Howard and Co. recently hired Battlestar Galactica veteran Mark Verheiden to executive produce, as well as assist in scripting.  Howard will direct that first season, with Goldsman writing the bulk of the series.  Currently, though, Akiva Goldsman (who has penned A Beautiful Mind, Lost in Space, and Batman & Robin, among others) is hard at work on a rewrite to The Dark Tower screenplay with aim of lowering the budget enough to secure a green light from a nervous Universal.

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