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2011 Movie Preview: Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower”

Stephen King's The Dark Tower
Painting by Michael Whelan

Next in my ongoing preview of 2011 is a project that probably won’t make it to screens in 2011 but who knows, it’s the furthest thing from a conventional gameplan for a movie franchise. I’m talking about Stephen King’s epic scifi-horror-western; “The Dark Tower” series. 

#4. The Dark Tower: The 7 book Dark tower series is so badass it actually inspired me to start reading books recreationally. The first book “The Gunslinger” clocks in at around 300 pages and is a very cool story in which we meet series protagonist Roland Deschain. Roland is a hard edge gunslinger (whose origins are unknown until about book 4) on the trail of the “man in black” (not Johnny Cash). I’m not even going to try to explain the series’ narrative but simply put; it is one of the greatest stories ever told. Many consider the series of novels to be genius author Stephen King’s magnum opus. It is the lynchpin that ties all of his stories together and features many characters and places from all of King’s works throughout the years. 

The material is great in a novel but is a very loaded concept for a movie series, which is probably why no one has adapted the material yet. Here are just a few of the things you’ll see in this series;  mutants, cyborgs, other dimensions, abandoned cities, vampires, giant mechanical bears, plenty of old west gun-play, psychics, and all of that set against an old west back drop. You can see how if done incorrectly, this could be the worst movie ever. Forget about the whole series, if they do the first movie wrong… it’s over. This is why the “Lost” co-creators (who originally secured the rights to the novels) backed out of the project. They were worried they would ruin a story that they were very big fans of. Shortly after, Ron Howard stepped in and secured a deal to adapt the story in a very unconventional way. It was announced that the narrative would be told over the course of a movie trilogy AND two seasons on television. Since the TV seasons will air on NBC,I’m hoping Jay Leno doesn’t replace the lead actor mid-season.  The gameplan for how this will play out is as follows:    

1st movie–>1st tv season–>2nd movie–>2nd tv season–>3rd and final movie                                    

This is a very ambitious project and has major flop potential, it could also be the next “Star Wars” as far as cultural impact. This is at least a 7 year project which involves television, which will make it tough to lock in big stars. There has been a lot of online discussion as to who should be cast as the gunslinger, my vote is for Viggo Mortensen or an unknown. As long as Ron Howard doesn’t cast his buddy Tom Hanks as the lead, I’m all good. Oddly enough in the middle of  writing this, an article broke that Howard is considering Viggo, as well as Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, and Jon Hamm for the role. We probably won’t see this movie for at least a year but I wanted to make you aware of it’s existence so you can start reading the books. Don’t worry, they will have to change MANY aspects of the story to make  it fit into the format they have planned. You won’t be spoiling anything by reading it first.

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