The Dark Tower

Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman must not have put out enough finger sandwiches because Variety is reporting that Warners has passed on their ambitious Dark Tower project which has already morphed quite a bit in attempts to appease studio sensibilities. Most notably, Universal turned down the film, but while Warners was the next suitor in line, the future of the movie is no wholly uncertain. Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Media Right Capital (Ted, Elysium) is now in talks to finance which might be a good fit. However, if MRC takes on the promise of three feature films and a television series, it might be a larger signal of studio potency flagging while independent groups begin handling bigger budget fare. It still remains to be seen whether MRC will take the gamble, and it will be a gamble, but at this point it’s only safe to say that The Dark Tower isn’t completely dead.

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According to Deadline Hollywood, Warners is going to decide within the next two weeks whether it wants to move forward with the Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman-led adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” series. With Javier Bardem out now, the filmmakers are looking to Russell Crowe to play gunslinger Roland Deschain. Crowe could plausibly play the part with the grit, grisel and quiet nuance it deserves, but his potential casting (and, yes, the potential of the project happening at all) almost doesn’t matter. Why? Because it’ll still be a muted Howard/Goldsman project. Both have managed to make interesting movies amongst mediocre ones, but they just aren’t daring enough to make this compelling.

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At this rate, the saga of bringing Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower series to the big screen will be almost as harrowing as the book (but only about 1/100th as long). The earliest I remember hearing about it was back in 2008 when J.J. Abrams kept having his name pop up everywhere. Of course, things didn’t seem really concrete until Ron Howard saddled up to ride, but then he backed out after everyone ever laughed at his budget and vision of 30 movies and 200 television miniseries. None of that has fazed Brian Grazer. The shrewd producer told The Playlist that he, Howard, and writer Akiva Goldsman did some reworking on both the script and the numbers, and came up with something even more destined to get made than the previous incarnation was supposed to be. The money quote: “We found a way to cut out $45m out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending. In the $140m draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying. Now, we’ve got $45m, $50m out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.” Fingers tightly crossed that “really satisfying ending” doesn’t equal Roland riding off in the sunset. On that front, it’s unclear whether or not Javier Bardem is still interested in the main role or the dusty trail to get this thing in the can, but with Goldsman and Howard still on board (again), it’s still a shadow of the project that […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? For tonight, it’s simply a movie news column working on a very, very slow news day. So it has opted for fun instead of informative. It’s betting you won’t mind. We begin tonight with the thought of big, badass robots killing the whole of humanity in Robopocalypse, a film that director Steven Spielberg will now direct for July 3, 2013. Fox and Dreamworks were announced as the studios putting up the money today, which means that Daniel H. Wilson’s excellent book will finally get some big screen love. If done right, it could be massive.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column just trying to keep it real, man. We begin this evening with a few new shots from The Muppets, my now most anticipated remaining 2011 film. Quite a title to bestow, I know. Anyway, the folks at Rope of Silicon have updated their gallery. This includes a few movie stills, some behind the scenes stuff and that fresh poster I showed you last night.

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If you ever go to an airport, it becomes clear pretty quickly how much people love Dan Brown novels. Or at least, how much people love Dan Brown novels when they have to sit around in public for hours and there’s a convenient little newsstand across the way. So, even though he’s one of the biggest names in the business, it was a coup when Ron Howard got to direct the film adaptations of Brown’s Robert Langdon books. That first movie alone, The Da Vinci Code, has made $750 million worldwide. That’s a lot of cheese. But now that it’s time to start adapting the third book in the series, The Lost Symbol, it seems that Howard wants out. Why would someone want off of a proven cash cow like a Dan Brown adaptation? Deadline Duncan is reporting that Howard informed Sony producers that he didn’t want to keep doing the same kinds of stories with the same characters anymore, and that for The Lost Symbol, he wished to step back from the director’s chair and only produce. For someone who just spent a lot of time trying to get a Stephen King series adapted into three films and a television series, but ultimately got turned down by Universal, that kind of sounds like sour grapes. Is Howard upset at the studio system and punishing them by sabotaging a proven earner?

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With Javier Bardem officially being cast in Bond 23, the actor he secured a job just as his old application was being buried under the rubble of a failed project. The Ron Howard-directed Dark Tower project (which almost demands a different word considering how Cyclopean that damned thing was) is now too hefty for Universal to support. Too hefty, and too much of a gamble. According to Deadline Cressia, the studio has passed on what would have been a three film, two television mini-series deal to bring the Stephen King epic to life. Sadly, these things happen. In fact, this situation isn’t at all surprising. Committing to that much money and that many films is a gargantuan gamble that might have seen Universal not only lose big, but also find themselves unable to put more funding into other projects. In short, it would have consumed them. The good news is that the project is free to go to another studio that might be a good home for it. Or it might just remain a pipe dream. The bigger question here is – why not do it the old fashioned way where you make a movie, plan for a sequel and create something the audience will lovingly support?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column dedicated to links. These links will take you places. Mostly to great articles with topics rooted in the entertainment industry. Sometimes to shenanigans. You just never know. Especially if you don’t read before clicking. Comic-Con begins this week, and as you might expect, our team will be there to bring you all the play-by-play. If you’re around the San Diego Convention Center this coming weekend, keep an eye out for the Rejects. Also, you should read this 25 easy rules of Comic-Con etiquette over at io9. We will adhere to at least 10 of these. We promise.

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Even in normal situations, director Ron Howard is usually one of the busiest working in Hollywood. But with his possible Dark Tower series looming, one that will theoretically span three films and two television series, it’s not likely that he’ll have time to do anything other than Dark Tower related stuff for quite a while. But that project has to go through one more rewrite before the studio signs off on funding it, so there is time for Howard to sneak a movie in before the goliath gets going. More than likely that project is going to be Rush, a film about a formula one racer named Niki Lauda, but now another contender has entered the field for consideration.

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Not too long ago there were reports floating around that some corporate reshuffling over at NBCUniversal was probably going to lead to their gigantic Dark Tower project being cancelled. Originally, the Stephen King novels were set to be adapted into three feature films and two series of television specials by director Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, but in trying economic times putting so many eggs into one risky basket started looking like not so great an idea. Or maybe it didn’t. In an interview with Inside Movies, Howard is saying that the project just got pushed back a bit, but it’s still going to happen. He explains, “We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues, but Dark Tower is moving forward.” So, at least according to the director, this project is still moving forward, but in what form? One thing that we can probably forget about is all of the casting rumors we’ve heard so far. Putting the project off makes it hard to predict whose schedule will be able to sync up with such an expansive project. Howard said, “We’re thinking of starting in early spring now. I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer… “

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that enjoys having Saturdays off. But it’s not Saturday yet, is it? That means it’s time for another round of the best movie-related links from around the web. So lets get on with it. We lead tonight with the first shot of Bruce Willis in Rian Johnson’s Looper, which includes a look at Willis likely eviscerating something or someone. This one comes to the world via Empire, who has promised that they will be bringing you some news from the set. I’ll read that.

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Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series of novels is like a nerd dream come true. There are so many books, so many characters, and so much story that you could spend countless hours getting lost in them. But what makes them such a beloved set of novels also makes them a hugely daunting task for a film adaptation. Despite the popularity of the series, and the name brand value of Stephen King going back for decades, in order to present the “Dark Tower” series in any sort of respectable light it would take countless millions of dollars and who knows how much screen time. When Universal green lit the series for production and announced that it would become not just a trilogy of films, but instead a trilogy of films with two television series sandwiched in between their releases, it seemed too good to be true. Never before had we seen that level of commitment to a source material or that amount of ambition put into a project. But now there are rumblings that this whole scheme might not come to pass after all. You see, that plan was made back before there was a bunch of big corporate shakeups in the world of NBCUniversal and Steve Burke was named the new CEO of the company. Such is life when the biggest movie studios are one and the same with the biggest corporations. Now everything that costs big bucks is being looked over with a new set of eyes and a […]

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It seems monumental to devote your life and career to one role for the better part of a decade. With The Dark Tower, it was bound to be someone, and according to Deadline Destry, it looks like Javier Bardem is going to be the one to say “I do” to what might be the commitment of his career. With three planned films and two television movies, this project is unheard of, but it’s nice to see an Oscar-winning actor with such force play Roland Deschain. The deal being worked out currently will apparently cover the first film and the first television movie with options on two sequel films. The second television movie will be a prequel and, understandably, not feature Deschain at that age. It’s still so tough to know what to make of all of this. The project is a dream come true for King and “Dark Tower” fans alike, but it’s also a skulking behemoth being directed by Ron Howard, who’s famous for being good but not great, and written by Akiva Goldsman, who’s famous for not even coming close to good. The big question there is whether Bardem can affect that creative world. He’s not some puff player, and he’s worked with better storytellers, so there’s a chance that his inclusion in this project might shave some of the expositional excess off of the script. Bardem is about to sign away a big chunk of his life. He’d better have a say in that destiny. I realize […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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If you thought we were meta enough with our list of best editorials, you were wrong. You were also wrong about that pub quiz question you missed last night but kept claiming, “the wording was confusing.” That’s okay. Soothe your second place loss to the “Long Beach Pub All Stars” by digging in deep to this list of lists. What criteria did we use to pick them? Simple. The key was finding those lists which acted as a catalyst for discussion, for reverie, for passion, and for self-reflection. The subjects might seem ridiculous, but there’s nothing like looking back on the year and seeing where movies took our minds. Time to get meta and do our part to bring about that ETEWAF Patton Oswalt keeps talking about.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, editor and writer for Cinematical Erik Davis and movie monkey for UGO Matt Patches drop by to discuss the finer things in life. We revel in the beauty of Uwe Boll’s warm glow, watch the Auschwitz trailer on a first date, erase the slate of Summer 2010 films with the best summer movies of all time, and figure out how to put MacGruber into Forrest Gump. Plus, we find time to review Resident Evil: Afterlife, I’m Still Here, and The Romantics. Also plus, Cole name drops Toys Are Not For Children which he seems to think makes him hip even though it doesn’t.

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It was almost five months ago that we first reported the heartbreaking news that the film rights to Stephen King’s epic seven book series, The Dark Tower, had slipped into the hands of pure evil mediocrity. The details hadn’t been worked out yet, but the core piece of information was Ron Howard and Akiva ‘The Hack’ Goldsman being named as director and screenwriter for the feature film adaptations. We followed this news a few days later with our list of twelve writers and directors far better suited for the material. Not surprisingly, our voices were ignored and Hollywood chose to stick with the Howard/Goldsman team. And while that news still sucks we can’t help but be intrigued, interested, and possibly even impressed with the just revealed details of that arrangement. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is coming to the big screen… and the small screen. Before returning to the big screen. Then back to the small screen… then, well, you get the idea.

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Unhappy with the team taking a crack at Stephen King’s beloved epic, Rob Hunter tosses out a dozen names that would be better at bringing the gunslinger to life.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, we toss the last dying ember onto the fire, get down with Freddy, and discuss the possibly-sordid reason Paramount passed on Anchorman 2.

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Has there ever been a better example of a good news/bad news situation?

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