Great news for Stephen King fans today, especially those still reeling from the gut-punch that was Cary Fukunaga exiting a two-part IT adaptation: Sony and Media Rights Capital are reportedly entering into talks with A Royal Affair director Nikolaj Arcel to direct The Dark Tower, an epic adaptation of King’s bestselling series.
Arcel co-scripted the original Swedish adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo then went on to direct A Royal Affair, which received an Oscar nomination by Best Foreign Film. He’s now attached to direct The Power of the Dog and Rebecca, both adaptations of beloved novels. Arcel reportedly curried favor with the studios after revealing himself as a huge fan of King’s series. He even taught himself to speak and read English partially so that he could absorb the series just as the American author originally wrote it. He’ll apparently do a rewrite on the script and also direct the first installment in a massive franchise if a deal is struck.
Intriguingly, Media Rights Capital is simultaneously plotting a complementary TV series, with Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, Weed Road’s Akiva Goldsman and Imagine’s Ron Howard and Erica Huggins producing alongside King (the same team working on the feature adaptation). It’s been a bumpy road to the big screen for The Dark Tower, which was first set up at Universal then Warner Bros. before coming to Sony, but this latest iteration of the project boasts a sturdy script from Goldsman and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 scribe Jeff Pinkner (the latter of whom is exec-producing).
No actors are yet attached to the role of gunslinger Roland Deschain, who inhabits a world teeming with dark magic, but a casting search will soon get under way. The role has been examined by the likes of Javier Bardem and Viggo Mortensen, but all the movement between studios has kept actors largely at bay. Breaking Bad alum Aaron Paul has been outspoken about wanting a role in the pic, and Liam Neeson has also voiced interest, but regardless of who ends up leading the pic, it will be someone huge with four-quadrant appeal.
On paper, Arcel is an out-of-left-field but very apt choice to tackle The Dark Tower. His script for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo balances doom and gloom with a breakneck pace, and that mixture is key for the blend of horror and fantasy The Dark Tower will likely aim for.
We’ll keep you posted as the pic casts up.