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King's Dark Tower Series To Be Adapted For Film, TV 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the as-long-as-there-are-no-creepy-clowns dept.
Kozz writes "Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have closed a deal to turn Stephen King's mammoth novel series The Dark Tower into a feature film trilogy and a network TV series, both of which will be creatively steered by the Oscar-winning team behind A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code. 'The plan is to start with the feature film, and then create a bridge to the second feature with a season of TV episodes. That means the feature cast — and the big star who’ll play Deschain — also has to appear in the TV series before returning to the second film. After that sequel is done, the TV series picks up again, this time focusing on Deschain as a young gunslinger.'"
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King's Dark Tower Series To Be Adapted For Film, TV

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  • That even with the TV seasons thrown in it's just not enough time. It seems likely we'll end up with something that has the depth of the animated Lord of the Rings movie. Stephen King may not have the depth of Tolkein, but The Dark Tower deserves better.
    • This reads like, "we have a plan that cannot fail! let me outline how we will plan to suck all the life and joy out of King's story while generating the greatest profit possible in a series of alternating movies and made for TV movies^H^H^H^H 1 hour TV drama seasons".

      Stephen King has sort of thrown in the towel and is happy to let the visual media butcher his stories in the past, while people buy his the books to understand what the hell directors were trying to convey. I don't see this bein

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        Agreed, it sounds like that Star Trek crap all over again with movies, series and spin-offs. It was a total disaster; nobody liked any of it, ever.

  • I'm excited. This sounds like it will be the first thing on TV I'll have cared about in a long time. Hopefully. I'm trying not to get my hopes up yet, but I guess we'll see.
  • the other day.. Jack Palance in his prime would have the best gunslinger. I cant think of anyone else today who could fill this role Either way, this will be a waaaayyyy bigger undertaking than The Stand.
    • Stephen King has said Clint Eastwood's 'Man with No Name' was his model for Roland Deschain. Obviously unless they do some insane CGI that's not going to happen. My guess would be a little known actor would be the best pick for the role.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Beezlebub33 (1220368)
        I agree that a little known actor would be good; I also think that such an actor is more likely to take the role, since it is a multi-year, multi-outlet commitment to the part. I also pray that they do not try to soften the character or pick someone who is at all soft and fuzzy.

        On the other hand, as long as Shia LaBeouf stays the fuck away from the movie, I'll be happy.
      • by corbettw (214229)

        Clancy Brown could do it. He's about the right age, too, around 50 or so. Roland of Gilead was a bit younger than that in the books, I think, but given how hard his life was you'd expect him to look bit worse for the wear.

      • by c0d3g33k (102699)

        Clint could still pull it off.

      • by T.E.D. (34228)
        So the role requires someone who can stand around and not emote one single bit no matter what happens around him? Obviously it would be perfect for Keanu Reeves then.
  • There's so much material there though, how could you possibly adapt it even into 7-films without leaving newcomers behind?

    I mean, the TV series piece will be helpful, but that's asking for a large time investment for someone that wasn't already a big fan of the books. I am cautiously hopeful though, and even if this is just something that ends up being for the fans it could be great fun for a season.

    They did do a pretty good job a few years back translating Nightmares and Dreamscapes to the small screen *f

  • I'm a big King fan, but I've never read this series...often wondered if it's worth getting into. Any opinions/advice/suggestions?

    • I'm a big King fan, but I've never read this series...often wondered if it's worth getting into. Any opinions/advice/suggestions?

      Take a risk on the first paperback or go to the library. My recollection is that unlike other books(*) you will get a sense of the story and style pretty quickly. If you like what you are reading keep going.

      (*) As for book that don't really reveal themselves for a while I'd have to refer to Dune. Friends told me how great it was so I started reading. I pushed myself for the first third or so wondering what the hell the attraction was. Now while reading the second half I could not put the book down.

      • I'd say take a risk on the first two. The first one is a quick read, but is very much his early writing style where the characters are kind of stark, black and white with detail purposefully omitted in the shadows. The second is more representive of the tone the rest of the books take, with a more indepth, colorful character development.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Meostro (788797)

      I think it's some of King's best work. It's worth reading at least one to see if you're into the series. The first one is harder to get into than the rest.

      I read The Wastelands first. It reminded me a little of The Stand, but with more detail around Roland (main dude) and less background on what's going on in the world. It was interesting enough that I decided to go back and see what I'd missed.

      Tried to read The Gunslinger and got bored after a little while - there are a few other characters, but it's mostl

    • by ADRA (37398)

      The first 3-4 books are absolutely amazing. If you like the Gunslinger (which shouldn't take that long to read) the other 3 will be fine. Books 5-7 are ok, but there were times for me that it definitely stepped out of the realm of wow and into something else entirely. That's not to say they were bad, just um different.

    • by tulmad (25666)

      Definitely pick up at least the first book. I was hooked after that one and had to finish the whole thing.

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Thanks for the responses, everyone. I know what I'm loading up on my nook tonight!

    • Re:Never read (Score:5, Insightful)

      by corbettw (214229) <corbettw@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:28PM (#33535822) Journal

      "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed."

      If that first sentence doesn't grab you, don't bother with the rest of the book. If it does, then go for it; you'll never regret it.

      • That sentence still gives me chills every time I read it, even now, 20 years after the first time I picked up The Gunslinger... If anyone's on the fence: If you've read his other work, you'll probably get a glimpse into it from Mid-World -- or a glimpse into Mid-World from it. It's not Tolkien, but it's very good. Unlike most people, I *loved* the ending, but YMMV.

    • You're not a King fan until you've read The Dark Tower series. It's his masterpiece.
      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        The Dark Tower series was good, but I liked Insomnia & Black House just as much.

    • The first book is great though it has a different feel from a standard King book. The rest are good, but uneven in their own way. After a while, they get downright weird. The best parts are when Roland (and the other travellers) are in his world. When he spends too much time in other places, it just doesn't work for me. The ending (or endings?) are good, and it wraps up the story IMHO, YMMV.
    • It is, but you have to understand King's Dark Tower series is his Magnum Opus, and half of his books [wikipedia.org] are integrated into the Dark Tower mythos in some way. Buick Eight, Eye of the Dragon, The Stand, Hearts in Atlantis, Salem's Lot and a bunch more are intertwined. It's pretty incredible.

      Like I said in a post further down, it's good until book six, then does a left turn at Albuquerque. Still good, and you'll want to finish it, but does not live up to the hype. I think King pushed making the key and it didn't

    • by NiteShaed (315799)

      Especially if you're a big King fan. I don't want to give things away, but King references his other books quite a bit (more in the later parts of Tower), which I thought was a lot of fun. I would also recommend reading Hearts in Atlantis, The Talisman and Black House first if you haven't read those. Not necessary, but Dark Tower is more fun if you have.

      One of the things that used to keep people away was that it seemed like it'd never be finished. Now that it has an ending, I'd definitely say take a loo

    • I agree with others who say take a chance on the first couple books. However I offer one additional bit of advice. Track down the revised version of the first book. It flows smoother, and a few plot elements are changed so they mesh with the later books properly. The first book was literally one of the first novels he wrote, and it shows in the original version. The revised version is far superior.
  • I'm encouraged by the fact it is Ron Howard slated to direct; however that said, I think this initiative has no better than a 50/50 chance of being any good. It is quite impossible to duplicate the in depth pictures that King paints in your mind on the big screen. With the exception of The Shining, which was a pretty good screen adaptation, though of course pales on comparison to the book, all King screen adaptations have pretty much sucked. Need I mention The Stand? And that is only one book, good luck
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by blair1q (305137)

      So you're saying a picture may be worth 1,000 words, but not 100,000?

    • Re:Encouraged (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:15PM (#33535684) Homepage

      I dunno...The Langoliers was pretty good, despite (or possibly because) it's campy script and hammy acting.

      Also...are you forgetting Carrie?

    • by ADRA (37398)

      Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, and Green Mile are all on my somewhat short list of great movies. I personally liked Dream Catcher, but I can understand why some wouldn't love it. The stand was made as a 4 part mini-series and the book was 1200 pages, so yeah they cut corners. The dark tower series is around 3000? pages and being made as three movies and a series. That sounds like a lot more breathing room. More importantly though, this story was King's baby ever since he started writing. He won't let s

    • Funny that you should choose The Shining as a good screen adaptation. King himself has said that he hated it, that Kubrick made too many large changes to the story, and that it wasn't a good adaptation. I think what you meant was that it's a good movie that was based on Kings book, but that doesn't necessarily make it a good adaptation. Personally, I'd be more interesting in a good rendering of The Long Walk, a book which I found to be an almost pathological mix of interesting and repulsive. Like watchi

  • Sigh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pedantic bore (740196) on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:10PM (#33535616)

    I give it until Blaine the Mono, and then the audience will be distracted and wander off and the project will be cut.

    Well, maybe they'll jiggle the timeline a little and do Wizard and Glass first. That would actually make a decent movie.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Blain the Mono was one of my favorite parts.

      If you've read the series, then you know the time-line comes pre-jiggled. I'm not sure how you could get away with jiggling it much further without fucking things up.

      It's also good to have read a lot of King's works when going through The Gunslinger series - it's King's "connect everything together" work, like Asimov did with the Foundation novels.

    • by RMingin (985478)

      Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth.

      Marvel is doing a very nice and very, very authentic translation. They started with W&G, I believe. It's working out very very nicely so far. They've also got a King-approved-and-guided added section, connecting the end of W&G to the Incident with Roland's mother and the Grapefruit. It's a nice little thing.

      The first movie should be Young Roland, his training and Trial, and Susan, the Barony of Mejis, and the journey home. The first movie should end with Rolan

  • Skip the last episode.
    • I'm not sure what the author's wishes really are. I can't say that I trust what they write at the end of a book, telling you not to read the rest of it, when they went ahead and wrote the extra bit. If they didn't want us to read it, then he should not have written it. So, either it's a ploy or he's undecided about it himself.
  • Excited to finally get to see it on the big screen to see my imagination come to life. Terrified they will destroy it so badly that I will sulk away in horror.

    Personally I thought it started coming off the rails in book six and book seven basically threw away the build of the first four books plus how much backfill from The Stand, Salem's Lot and Eye of the Dragon.

    • by ADRA (37398)

      To be fair, he did write those novels and others with kernels of the gunslinger, not the other way around. You are right though. The series did start to languish near the end though.

  • The Dark Tower series is my all time favorite series of books and I have read them all multiple times. I worry about how it will adapt to both the big and little screen although the adaption of The Stand did fairly well. It is a huge story and I love it all (except for the last half of the last book).
  • we need wacky and out there for this material

    ron howard: apollo 13, a beautiful mind, the davinci code

    akiva goldsman: lost in space, batman & robin, i robot

    eh

    they are excellent filmmakers and producers and writers with a spectacular run of success with solid well-done pop fare and are well-regarded and appreciated

    but they have strolled into psychedelic territory here

    a story like the dark tower needs a stanley kubrick, a david lynch, a martin scorsese, maybe even a tim burton: a master of the theatre of the macabre and absurd

    not these middlebrow crowd pleasing hollywood mainstream guys

    for something like the dark tower, we want week old road kill roasted over an oil drum fire by a paranoid schizophrenic hobo. we don't want olive garden

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dyingtolive (1393037)
      I'd rather Dark Tower not get "Burtoned". The biggest problem with a Tim Burton film is that if you've ever seen 5 minutes of one, you can immediately identify any other movie he does in an equal amount of time. I'm not saying they're bad (except Nine), I'm just saying that his penchant for the surreal is 1-dimensional. Kubrick, Scorsese or Lynch would be interesting though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Inner_Child (946194)

        Yeah, Kubrick would definitely be interesting, considering he's been dead for over a decade. I can see the headlines now: First Film Directed By Zombie Nominated for Oscar!

        • I meant moreso willing to tackle the movie in the same way as him. This forces my next question: Would a award given for a film directed by a zombie have to be given posthumously, or would the zombie have to die first?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bigdan69 (1595069)

        I'd rather Dark Tower not get "Burtoned". The biggest problem with a Tim Burton film is that if you've ever seen 5 minutes of one, you can immediately identify any other movie he does in an equal amount of time. I'm not saying they're bad (except Nine), I'm just saying that his penchant for the surreal is 1-dimensional. Kubrick, Scorsese or Lynch would be interesting though.

        This, plus I don't think Johnny Depp would make a good gunslinger.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Jaknet (944488)

      for something like the dark tower, we want week old road kill roasted over an oil drum fire by a paranoid schizophrenic hobo. we don't want olive garden

      Amazing description and, to my mind, fits perfectly

  • GDI NOOOO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:26PM (#33535786)
    If it's not done as a series of R-Rated movies, in the spirit of how Lord of the Rings was done, then I don't see how anything good can come of this....

    The Dark Tower is my all-time favorite series of books, and I'm appalled to read this....

    It would need 3-4 3-hour R-rated moves, and Clint Eastwood at 30 years old, to play Roland.
    • by EggyToast (858951)
      Funny, considering the LotR movies were rated PG-13.
      • I wasn't suggesting they were R-Rated movies. What I was trying to say was that at least LotR dealt with what was in the books. It didn't need to be R-Rated. However, doing Dark Tower on TV, I just don't see how it could be done in the spirit of the books.
        • I pretty much agree -- I don't see how you could really do Dark Tower (or as much of it as I read... I fell off when he stopped writing them for a while and haven't gotten around to going back yet) justice on normal TV.

          Probably a HBO series setup like A Game of Thrones is getting would be the best fit.

    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      Why wouldn't it be done as a series of R-Rated movies? There are also plenty of TV-MA series/mini-series on television.

      I'm not sure why you're concerned at this stage.

  • The first three books were very good. Wizard and Glass was amazing. After that the series fell off a very sharp cliff.

    This is one instance where I seriously wouldn't mind if hollywood completely re-wrote the story when doing the later half of the series.
    • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

      I completely disagree more. King likes to do weird shit, and that's what makes him popular.

      Frankly, Song of Suzanna has been my favorite so far, almost a toss-up with Wizard and Glass. I have yet to read the 7th book though.

  • TFA: It seems hard to fathom he'd direct a full season's worth of episodes, but that is the early plan, and who says they have to do 22 to create that bridge to the next film?
    Well duh. They should obviously only do 19.

  • With so many outstanding series were canceled after only two seasons, like Firefly, Deadwood, and countless others, is there any hope that the same might happen here? The first Dark Tower book was outstanding, and the next three were all right. The last few were bizzare self-indulgent crap where King appears to have simply transcribed his therapy sessions in the wake of his being hit by a van. The man has never written good endings, let's hope the studios do it for him this time.

    • With so many outstanding series were canceled after only two seasons, like Firefly, Deadwood, and countless others, is there any hope that the same might happen here?

      Easy.

      King has enough clout now to demand that if the studio fails to follow through and cancels the TV portion they would be liable for a set penalty that would be equal to the ad revenue for a successful show. Therefore they would have no incentive to try and play the margins by cancelling this show for one which might earn a % more.

      That, an

  • Stephen King's mammoth novel

    There is a redundant statement here can you see it?

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