By Trevor Dueck – Staff Writer
Follow on Twitter @TDueckMMA
If you had a chance to watch the first episode of Under the Dome earlier this week, it was an intriguing and mysterious first episode that set the tone for what might be a great summer miniseries. Nerdcore will be providing recaps and reviews on the series as it goes along, have a read on what we thought about the pilot episode.
Stephen King books haven’t always translated well on television or film, in fact I would say that most of time they have failed. Every once in a while a director with a budget will get it right. I think it’s safe to say that films like The Shining, IT, Pet Cemetery, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, Stand by Me, Carrie, Cujo, Children of the Corn and even some of his Richard Bachman works like the Running Man did well on film and had some minor success.
Since 2009 we have been hearing that Ron Howard (director), Brian Grazer (producer) and Akiva Goldsman (screenwriter) have been trying to get the critically acclaimed Stephen King series, “The Dark Tower” to the silver screen and small screen. At one point J.J. Abrams was connected to the film adaptation but later removed himself from participating in the project.
The original plan was to make the series into a film trilogy with two seasons on television to bridge the gap between each film. This was going to be a revolutionary way to use both mediums to build a classic series. Universal Pictures was on board and even announced in 2011 that the first film, starring Russell Crowe as the gunslinger Roland Deschain, would open in May of 2013. Obviously those plans were scrapped and for whatever reason Universal Pictures pulled the plug.
After Universal backed out there was an apparent deal with Warner Brothers and HBO. This actually had some real momentum and would have made sense, considering HBO was the home of another epic story Game of Thrones. However, with financial backers nervous about it flopping, Warner Brothers also passed it by.
There is no doubt that Grazer and Howard’s vision for The Dark Tower series is ambitious to say the least. So is this project dead in the water?
Apparently not. With the amount of money that has been spent on the Game of Thrones adaptation and the critical acclaim it has been receiving, there seems to be some financiers that might take a chance on the Dark Tower series.
According to Deadline, MRC (Media Rights Capital) has decided that they will finance the first film as a standalone project. In some ways it’s a wait and see approach. If the film does big box office numbers, the original plan of doing two other epic films with a television series tied in might see the light of day.
Hold on, although MRC says they are committed to the idea, Brian Grazer has upped the ante. Apparently there is a “Silicon Valley Investor” that might finance the whole kit and kaboodle. If this is the case, this would be a much better investment because Howard and Grazer can keep filming the project without having to stop for a couple of years while they wait to see how the first film does. It’s also better from a marketing standpoint to let viewers know in advance what they can expect over the next few years as there is no reason to keep the fan base in limbo.
Whatever happens it seems that Stephen King’s greatest and most ambitious works will see the light of day on the big screen. With 13.1 million viewers having tuned in to CBS’s Under the Dome, it might be the right time for Warner Brothers to revisit Ron Howard’s vision, because HBO would be the perfect home for the The Dark Tower.
Do not worry though Stephen King fans, while we wait for our gunslinger fix, we have the following King adaptations and writings to look forward to:
• Carrie – remake slated for 2013
• 11/23/63 – J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot looking to remake for television series
• The Shining sequel and prequel – Stephen King writing sequel (Dr. Sleep) slated to come out this fall.
• Cell – Tod Williams (director of Paranormal Activity 2) signed on for the zombie film.