UPDATE (15/05/11): According to JoBlo, Universal are still going ahead with their Dark Tower adaptation, but have decided to move the start-date to February in an attempt to make the budget more feasible. Howard and Bardem are still attached. Original article follows.
Fans of Stephen King’s expansive Dark Tower novels can breathe a sigh of relief. Ron Howard (The Da Vinci Code) was due to bring the novels to the screen in both a movie franchise and television series, with Javier Bardem in the lead role as gunslinger Roland Deschain. But with potential costs spiralling out of control, Universal have scrapped the start date. According to CHUD, they won’t be putting it into turnaround (i.e. letting other studios bid on it), so there’s the possibility it will get made eventually.
While crossing media seems to be the only way to do justice to The Dark Tower‘s epic length, many will argue that a live-action adaptation just wouldn’t work. With Howard at the helm, I’m inclined to agree. This is a man who started out as a great craftsman with films as strong as Apollo 13, before becoming a hack for hire with Angels & Demons and the execrable The Dilemma. The property needs someone with a real vision and blockbuster sensibilities, as well as a writer better than Akiva Goldsman (Batman and Robin). While I was intrigued to see Deschain’s antics on screen, I live in hope Universal hire someone more suited to the project. How about Frank Darabont?