The adaptation for Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” book series has been through a lot lately. It started out at Universal, but that studio chose to pass on the deal. Next up, it went to Warner Bros., but on August 20, they also passed. Now, a new upstart studio wants a chance on it. Media Rights Capital, the studio that brought the world “Ted,” wants to follow up that success story with an opportunity to bring the tale of Roland the Gunslinger to the big screen.
“The Dark Tower”
Stephen King began writing “The Dark Tower” franchise back in 1978, when he published a group of short stories that he ended up publishing as “The Gunslinger” in 1982. The book told the story of one of the world’s last gunslingers, a man named Roland, who was traveling in search of the mythical Dark Tower. Along the way, he also sought the mysterious Man in Black, a quest that proved so urgent that he allowed a young boy named Jake to fall to his death.
King continued his story in “The Drawing of the Three” where he added two more members to Roland’s group, a former drug addict named Eddie Dean and a woman with a split-personality named Odetta Holmes. These two came to Roland’s world from one much like the real Earth.
There have now been eight novels in the “Dark Tower” series, all tied into King’s universe of books. Characters from novels like “It,” “Salem’s Lot” and “Insomnia” have all tied into this world as have many others.
The Planned Franchise
The stories from “The Dark Tower” resemble a mashup of “Lord of the Rings” and Clint Eastwood’s “The Man with No Name” films. Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer came aboard the franchise and hoped to do it justice. The production team envisions a trilogy of movies starring Russell Crowe, as well as two televised miniseries, tying the movies together. That is where the problems lie.
With a trilogy of big-budget fantasy movies, any studio would be taking a chance. Adding TV shows to bracket the movies is a challenge, because fans would be expected to follow along at home. Those who miss the TV series may skip out on the next movies in the series. Hopefully, Media Rights Capital takes this chance.
The movie could be as huge as “Lord of the Rings,” as Stephen King’s name is arguably bigger than J.R.R. Tolkien’s for today’s younger generation. The stigma of a King movie being inherently bad has also subsided thanks to films like “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Mist.” The film series, one of King’s most beloved, has an excellent chance of making it. All it needs is the right push.