You gotta admire Ron Howard and producing partner Brian Grazer for keeping the fight alive for their hugely ambitious adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower." Even though Universal balked on the project last summer, the pair kept developing and shopping the project, with Grazer revealing they had reduced the budget and that HBO was lining up to take on the TV portion of the sprawling franchise. Then, this spring, it was revealed that Warner Bros. were kicking the tires on the whole thing, which made sense given that the parent company owns HBO as well. And it appears as if everything is continuing to move forward. But with a pretty big change.
While Javier Bardem was long attached to the lead role of Roland Deschain, Deadline now reports that Howard's pal Russell Crowe ("A Beautiful Mind," "Cinderella Man") is now being eyed to take over, as Warner Bros. are nearing a decision on whether or not to move ahead on the project. The concept is to tell King's sprawling tale across three films, with a television series between each movie in order to pack in the full story. Akiva Goldsman is apparently turning in a new script shortly (which we imagine will reflect a leaner budget), with the studio to say yay or nay once they give it a read.
And whether or not its Crowe or Bardem or whoever that leads the series—if and when it gets greenlit—the selling point of "The Dark Tower" will be its massive scale and scope. That alone will be enough to intrigue audiences—at least from the start—but it will need to deliver the goods out of the gate, and keep everyone hooked for what is a long story, in order to make the investment worthwhile. We have to say, we'd really want to see WB take a shot. Lord knows we have enough fairy tale reimaginings, superhero movies, and toy films to fill out the blockbuster season, that something a bit meatier and riskier would be very welcome.
But Crowe as Deschain… sure, we dig it, but do you? Do want to see Ron Howard make this? Let us know.