There must be a sizable contingency of Stephen King fans among the execs over at the Brothers Warner. First off, two-film big budget adaptations of It and The Stand are in the works at the studio.  Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre) is attached to direct and co-write (with Chase Palmer) the former.  Ben Affleck will direct the latter and has tapped David Kajganich to pen the script.  There’s also the recently announced prequel to The Shining that they are mulling over.  Hell, I won’t be surprised if they pick up Jonathan Demme’s intended adaptation of 11/22/63.  Things won’t end there though.

Back in March, Warner Bros. picked up the option on Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of The Dark Tower.  The project had previously been set up at Universal, but was torpedoed by the studio heads due to the budget and Howard’s ambitious plans for the project.  I’ve lay out Ron’s intentions below.  Keep in mind that the years listed are NOT official and are just place-holders to give you an idea of the timeframe that he wants/wanted to adapt the series over:

  • Summer 2014: The Dark Tower I (theatrical film)
  • Fall 2014-Spring 2015: A TV miniseries bridging the gap between films 1&2 retaining the theatrical cast.
  • Summer 2015: The Dark Tower II (theatrical film)
  • Fall 2015-Spring 2016: Another TV miniseries, this time a prequel focusing on the early years of the lead and the events that set everything in motion.
  • Summer 2016: The Dark Tower III (theatrical film)
  • ???: Potential on-going prequel TV series bridging the gap between the miniseries and the first film.

In a nutshell, that’s what Ron Howard wanted to do with the project at Universal.  A multi-platform release over the course of 2 1/2 years that would allow him to adapt the entire series.  Had Universal signed off on it, the television portions likely would have aired on NBC.  The studios heads ultimately decided against it and Howard was free to shop it around elsewhere, as he owns the rights himself.

Now, of course, the project is sitting at Warner Bros., who are currently awaiting another draft from Goldsman before deciding to move forward with the first film.  There’s no official word on whether or not Howard still wants to proceed with the same format for the project under WB, but all signs are pointing to the TV portions of the adaptation landing on HBO if they are still heading down that road.  He originally planned to basically shoot the first two films and the miniseries back-to-back, but I suspect Warners’ might want to see how Film #1 does before they agree to such a massive undertaking.

One thing that HAS definitely changed though is the lead.  Javier Bardem was attached to play Roland Deschain, the hero of this epic tale, when it was set up at Universal and remained on board until recently.  Bardem has since vacated the role and Howard regular Russell Crowe is reportedly in talks.  I can hear fans crying foul already, but I actually wouldn’t mind Tugger’s best bud strapping on the six guns and hunting down the Man in Black.  Providing he sheds a few pounds, that is.  Regardless, anyone that signs the dotted line to portray Roland and his ka-tet will be making a big commitment for the next few years.

Ron Howard is currently in post-production on his Formula 1 film, Rush.  Considering The Dark Tower seems to be a passion project for him, this could shoot sometime next year if the stars align and WB decides to go for it*.  Funny how WB has owned the DC properties for decades and are still dragging their feet with most of those characters, but are more than willing to potentially push out EIGHT big budget Stephen King films over the next four years or so.  That’s not a complaint by any means, just an observation.

Source | Deadline

* – I wonder if Ron Howard and Ben Affleck would be willing to both use the same actor for Randall Flagg now that both Warner Bros. projects?