Sony Pictures has found what they hope will become their next big franchise, and it’s one that other movie studios have tried to take on in the past before ultimately passing on. According to reports, Sony is teaming with Media Rights Capital to co-finance an adaptation of Stephen King‘s book series The Dark Tower, and they want to fast-track the production.
Universal was the first studio to try to adapt the books along with NBC Universal Television back in 2010 in what was going to be a trilogy of movies and a companion TV series with Ron Howard directing and Akiva Goldsman writing the first movie and first season of the show. It was so ambitious it was unbelievable, which is why it wasn’t all that shocking—just disappointing—when Universal dropped it. Then in 2012 Warner Brothers looked close to adapting the books, but they too decided it wouldn’t be worth it.
Right after WB chose not to make The Dark Tower, Media Rights Capital swooped in to finance the project. Why it’s taken three years to team up with a studio like Sony to make this finally happen is unclear—perhaps MRC was trying to figure out a budget to do it themselves and was simply unable to.
Now that a deal with a big studio is in place, the next step is to find a director. Once they do that, they can find a star to play the gunslinger Roland Deschain and really get things moving forward. While Howard was originally going to direct the first movie and will still be a producer along with Brian Glazer and Erica Huggins through Imagine Entertainment, he’s currently working on the third movie in the Da Vinci Code franchise, Inferno.
Goldsman is still writing, penning a new draft of the script for this new deal along with Jeff Pinkner. The draft is mainly based on the first book in the series, The Gunslinger.
Of the announcement that The Dark Tower adaptation is finally moving forward again King said:
“I’m excited that The Dark Tower is finally going to appear on the screen. Those who have traveled with Roland and his friends in their search for the Dark Tower are going to have their long-held hopes fully realized. This is a brilliant and creative approach to my books.”
Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group chairman Tom Rothman also released a statement, saying:
“There are few projects out there that compare with the scope, vision, complex characters and fully drawn world that Stephen King has created with The Dark Tower. I am a giant fan. And, as Stephen himself does, we love the direction that Akiva and Jeff have taken. This is a great opportunity for a director to put his or her stamp on a cool global franchise.”
While this deal is all about the movies, MRC is still developing that companion TV series as well. Whether the two will tie together like they were previously planned to or they’ll be separate entities remains to be seen.
Stars like Javier Bardem and Russell Crowe have been attached to play the gunslinger in the previous attempts at making the movies, and it’s unknown if they’re still candidates or still interested in the role.
Who do you want to see direct, and who do you want to play Roland?