Ron Howard‘s ambitious film project to bring Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower book series to cinematic life is officially dead. THR reports that Universal has passed on the huge project, which included three movies and a TV series, due to budgetary issues.
Even with Javier Bardem‘s name attached to play the lead role in this fantasy/western, the task was too daunting for Universal Studios. Rumors have circulated for months concerning the fate of this proposed film project from Imagine Entertainment, with studio brass trying to scale down the costs of the project. Hope certainly dimmed earlier this year when Universal cancelled the fall filming start date and pushed it back to a hopeful/maybe start early next year.
Well, now the answer is definite. And it’s little surprise given the massive financial weight of this epic cinematic project. Howard planned to direct the first film installment himself, and the screenplay for the trilogy and for the TV series was written by prolific scribe Akiva Goldsman (no slouch to novel adaptations, with The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons and I am Legend under his belt). That’s a lot of star power to budget in, and to commit to three movies and a TV series without knowing how the first film will be received seems like a pretty big risk for any studio in this day and age.
Universal had a July 15th deadline to greenlight the project, and it didn’t. Also, Howard is reportedly prepping another project, a racing pic called Rush with Chris Hemsworth attached to star.
Fans of the book series must be getting used to disappointment right about now. An earlier attempt by J. J. Abrams through his Bad Robot banner also went belly up. Maybe this is one book series not meant to grace the silver screen.