Brian Grazer Says 'The Dark Tower' Will Get Made at a Smaller Price

Monday, 24 October 2011 09:05 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Brian Grazer Says 'The Dark Tower' Will Get Made at a Smaller Price

Over this past summer, Universal Pictures blinked in a game of big-budget chicken that, had the studio kept its foot on the gas, would have been a monstrously ambitious project.  In July, Universal put The Dark Tower into turnaround, leaving the adaptation of author Stephen King's fantasy series without a home, despite the involvement of director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer, screenwriter-producer Akiva Goldsman, and leading man Javier Bardem as the iconic gunslinger Roland Deschain.  We've heard very little about The Dark Tower since July, when Universal kicked it to the curb, and Howard has moved on the the Formula One racing drama Rush, but Grazer himself says that the project has shaved almost a third of its budget, and he's confident it will become a reality.

King's series consists of seven already-published novels with an eighth on the way in 2012.  To do the story of the Gunslinger and his strange western-fantasy world justice, Howard and company planned an epic feature film trilogy, with two limited-run television series, one season each, bridging the gaps between films.  Bardem would play Roland in one season, while the other would be a prequel starring another actor as a younger version of the character.

In May, preproduction hit the skids, however, with Universal halting work on the trilogy, which film more or less concurrently, making use of standing sets and whatnot.  For two months, the creative team attempted to work out a cheaper version of the trilogy that the studio would be comfortable financing, but in July, Universal walked away.  While other studios could then pick up The Dark Tower with the creative team attached, we have yet to heard of that happening.

While promoting the upcoming action-comedy Tower Heist, though, Grazer told The Playlist, “We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending."

“In the $140 million draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying," he continued.  "Now, we’ve got $45 million, $50 million out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.”

I'm guessing he's referring specifically to the first film in the trilogy, but he may be talking about the entire three-film cycle.  That's possible, but I seriously doubt that this epic fantasy trilogy would go ahead with a total budget at or around $100 million for all three films.  So if he's talking only about the first installment, where does that leave subsequent films and television series?

Javier Bardem will next star as the villain in Bond 23 for director Sam Mendes, and even if The Dark Tower does get going eventually, it may do so without the Oscar-winner.  Ron Howard is in preproduction on Rush, which will star Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, with word that he and Grazer were eager to work on a more tangible project while The Dark Tower continued developing.  The Playlist suggests that they may be looking for independent financing, in which case a studio would be necessary only for distribution. 

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