The hugely ambitious adaptation of “The Dark Tower” that director Ron Howard is shepherding is no more at Universal Studios. But it’s not entirely dead, at least not yet.
That’s because Howard’s company, Imagine, still retains the rights to Stephen King‘s series of novels and is now free to try to set up the project elsewhere. It’s probably a long shot — potentially risky (and expensive) projects rejected by one studio aren’t exactly easy sells at others — but Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman do have a fair amount of pull in Hollywood.
According to Deadline, which first reported the news, Universal balked at the idea of committing to making three films and two seasons of TV to tell the sprawling story in King’s seven-book series (an eighth is due next year), which centers on a gunslinger named Roland Deschain (Javier Bardem was reportedly attached to star). The studio only wanted to do the first film (the site says some at Universal dispute that notion), but the filmmakers wanted to do at least that plus the first batch of TV episodes in one big shoot.
Regardless of what exactly happened at Universal, “The Dark Tower” is now in limbo. Goldsman’s production company, Weed Road, is based at Warner Bros., and Deadline and others mention it as a possible destination for the project. Warner Bros. has certainly had success with big stories — it’s behind the “Harry Potter” movies and is currently financing a two-movie adaptation of “The Hobbit.”