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Stephen King's 'The Dark Tower' set for movie, TV series

September 8, 2010 |  3:01 pm

Sking Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" -- comprising seven novels, short stories and comic books -- will come to life in three films and a television series. The unique deal will have Ron Howard directing the first film in the trilogy and the first season of the TV series, Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment announced Wednesday afternoon. 

Akiva Goldsman, perhaps best known for writing "Angels & Demons" and "A Beautiful Mind," will write the first season of the television program and produce the film alongside Imagine Entertainment, which Howard runs with Brian Grazer.

"The Dark Tower" has been wildly successful -- the novels alone have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The story centers upon the sole survivor in a line of knightly gunslingers, Roland Deschain, who has been charged with finding a Dark Tower in order to save humanity.

“We are excited to have found partners at Universal who understand and embrace our approach to King’s remarkable epic,” Howard said in today's release. “By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels. It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

The first film will be quickly followed by the television series, which will lead to the second film. The TV series will then resume until the third film is released. No word yet on when production is slated to begin on the first film.

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Stephen King in 2009. Credit: Mark Lennihan / AP

Comments () | Archives (22)

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I’m curious to see if the quality of the motion picture does any justice.

Very good. I like the cross medium ambition. It would be the first time film and TV have combined to tell one continuous story, no? (The Terminator series, maybe, but I thought that was stand-alone).

I've always wanted Daniel Day Lewis to play Roland. He has the intensity and the soulfulness. He can play obsession well. He can do great guilt. Please cast him. Though Viggo Mortensen wouldn't be a bad choice either.

What a monumental task! Most of the characters in Dark Tower have appeared in previous books, and having read those books adds to the background of the tale. I always fear the casting of my favorite books. For example, Peter Strauss is who I feature when reading about Roland's quest, but others will have a different actor in mind. Will be interesting, none the less. And Ron Howard is great, so it will probably be a very good project.

Holy Moly, if Ron gets this right it could be epic. However previous King books turned into movies, with the exception of The Shining, point to perhaps a better than 50/50 chance for an epic failure. Need I mention The Stand? What a yarn and so disappointing on the screen. Not exactly the movie maker's fault, it's pretty much impossible to paint that much detail in even a miniseries.

Good luck!

Holy Moly.

besides being a great series of novels ...

THIS is a game changer by how the series will be presented.
a movie then a year of tv, then the 2nd, then a year, then the conclusion?

Holy Moly.
Game. Changer.


I'm looking forward to the TV portion of this idea. How great was Salem's Lot, remember? Still one of the scariest things ever on TV. Forget the movie stuff, not enough time to express these stories, only TV can do that. And hey, don't be too rough on The Stand with Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald; it got a lot of things right. Go Roland!

Dude. DUDE! About time. Was waiting for someone to pick this one up. Curious to see if Howard botches it, or successfully brings it to life.

I would say Tom Hanks son would be Roland,with out a doubt,whether its the movie or the series,he's still neutral,he hasn't been typecast in stone in anything yet,Roland was such an unassuming ,quiet ,yet powerful character,yep,thats my call.

I agree wirh Vince if our Censor allows this remark.

yeah, sounds like a real GAME CHANGER.
And maybe it can be in 3-D too?
Don't forget the Happy Meals tie-ins !
Can't wait!
I almost spilled my Mountain Dew!

Too bad Goldsman and Howard's names are attached to the project... that pretty much screams mainstream mediocrity from the git-go... bummer. In the right hands, this could be a fascinating series of films.

Noooooooooooooo!!! I'm a big fan of the novels, I've enjoyed the comic book's take on the series, but for me most of the movie adaptations, at least the more recent ones, of King's work have been huge dissapointments. I'm afraid, don't ruin it!

I kind of would like to see maybe Tobe Hooper taking a hand in it. What is the best stephen king movie? the director of that should helm this one. but honestly, i could never decide on who should play Roland. a good one would have been Peter Fonda because he was excellent in Once Upon a Time in the West. he had the attitude and those recognizable blue eyes which are one of Roland's trademarks. I agree Viggo Mortenson wouldn't do a bad job, because he had a "somewhat" similar role in LOTR. TO BOB: You're right, it could become another great trilogy like LOTR or the Dollars Trilogy.

Oh, Stephen, my Stephen, what have you done?

While I appreciate the need for a deep pockets commitment for such an ambitious attempt at rendering this epic saga to any sized screen, Akiva Goldsman & Imagine Films? As a a replacement for JJ Abrams, et al?

Is that really the best you could do?

Far preferable would have been Ronald Moore and David Eick producing with Frank Darabont handling the scripting and directing the movies and putting the series on the SciFi Channel (yes, I know, but I loathe their new cutesy logo.) Then just maybe this material stood a chance of being done some justice. But anyone even partly responsible for responsible for 'Lost in Space,' 'Batman and Robin' or Starsky & Hutch' have no business anywhere near this material.

I truly hope I am dead wrong and the level of apparent commitment by Imagine reflects a determination (and, please, god, the ability) to create the masterpiece this would be in the right hands.

A Constant Reader

The person that plays Roland better be the same in the movies and TV series.

I cannot wait for this series to come to life in movies! I hope the writers take into account the opportunity to bring to life the affects that were used in "the Green Mile". The main thing is this: careful selection of actors... please do not pattern the movie themes after previous King movie efforts. Think "Shawshank"... think "Green Mile". The focus should be on the enironment and the cameraderie of the members on the quest. Special attention should be paid to the relationships of the Gunslingers. This is critical! This is a monumental task!

First of all, the Dark Tower Series is so involved and epic that any film or series would inevitably miss some things. The message-board flaming, super fans are going to find something to hate even now when it has only been announced.

Every person involved in this movie has made many fantastic films and I am hoping for the best. I think that from reading all of the press releases about the project so far I am developing a pretty hopeful outlook on the whole thing. However this may be one of the most daunting projects ever undertaken by any film maker.

Let's just see who they cast. Jake will be the most difficult because the series will obviously take several years to complete and kids just age right out of their characters. Many big film stars might turn their noses up at the project because it would mean having to be on television.

Overall I'm excited and I hope that other fans of the epic series will get behind it with me


Viggo is the one period.

When I started reading this series at age 16 ( yes back in the 70s ) I always pictured Clint Eastwood as Roland, alas now he ( as well as I ) are so much older. I have no idea who else could do him justice. I picked up Carrie first- again I was 16 and King was 26...have read every single word he has ever written since with few regrets...his movies, well that another story...I just hope he gives Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and all the rest all the love and respect he can ( or they can, I should say ) in casting them. After all they have been great friends of mine since childhood, into adulthood and hopefully into old age. This undertaking could be the greatest story ever told on film or TV-or the biggest disaster...I have my fingers crossed-its all up to Ka.

This is great news! I can't wait to see the movie and who'll be in them!

I have also pictured Roland as Clint Eastwood and have read somewhere recently that so did Stephen King, the character in The good the bad and the ugly. I cant wait to see these movies but wow i dont think they can pull it off. I hope im wrong. I also think unknown actors would be great, because roland, jake, eddie and susannah deserve to be great!! Imagine getting stuck with Tom Cruise as Roland just to draw the crowd in.


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