Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is getting another shot at the big-screen, this time with Sony and MRC.
The two companies are teaming up to produce and co-finance what Sony hopes will be an epic franchise property that will combine a movie series and a complimentary TV series.
King’s Western-style fantasy series is set mostly in an alternate world that’s heavy on magic and centers on a man who is part of a knightly order of gunslingers.
Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins, who have been trying to mount the project for close to a decade, are producing.
The project has a new script co-written by Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner. Insiders say the new script, which adapts the first book of the series, Gunslinger, has been totally reconceived by the duo from the version that had been previously developed.
Now the hunt begins for a filmmaker to sit in the director’s chair.
Said Tom Rothman, the new chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group: “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.”
The project was in development for years at Universal with ambitious plans for three movies and TV series, but eventually a high budget brought it down even as it attracted talent such as Javier Bardem. Howard was on board to direct at least the first installment.
After it was put into turnaround, it looked like Tower would land at Warner Bros., the producing home of Goldsman, but the studio passed. Again, budgetary and scale issues were the concerns.
The project had been in development at MRC for the last couple years.
King was upbeat about the latest development, saying in a statement, “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.”