There's never been anything like what Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman are proposing for their adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower: a television show that crosses over with three movies, using the same cast for both. Can this even work?
According to Deadline, Howard and Goldsman are set to announce a deal with Universal that will tell the Dark Tower story across the company's television and movie platforms. The plan is to start telling the story in a huge, epic movie — then continue it in a season of the television series, using all the same cast. Then after that, put out the second movie, continuing the story from the "bridge" TV series. After the second film, they'll air a second season of the TV series, this time focusing on the main character, gunslinger Roland Deschain, as a young man. (This'll be based on the Marvel Comics series, which King was heavily involved in plotting.) Then the third film will complete the story of the older Deschain, finishing out the saga. They're hoping that sharing sets, cast and crew for the movie trilogy and TV series will save money.
Goldsman's writing scripts right now, and both he and Howard are making it a priority to get this sprawling post-apocalyptic/Western epic done quickly. It sounds like a huge, breathtaking plan — but will the cast and crew be able to complete three movies and two seasons of a TV show quickly enough to be able to show them back to back? Or will there have to be huge delays? And what happens if the ratings for the TV show flag in the middle of the season, and they don't get to air all the episodes that set up the next movie?
Talking to Deadline, Howard compares this undertaking to Peter Jackson filming all three Lord Of The Rings movies at once:
What Peter did was a feat, cinematic history. The approach we're taking also stands on its own, but it's driven by the material. I love both, and like what's going on in TV. With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there's the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you'd deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television. We've put some real time and deep thought into this, and a lot of conversations and analysis from a business standpoint, to get people to believe in this and take this leap with us. I hope audiences respond to it in a way that compels us to keep going after the first year or two of work. It's fresh territory for me, as a filmmaker.
We very nearly got a Dark Tower series spearheaded by J.J. Abrams and run by Lost showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof — King had leased the trio the rights to the saga for just $19, a number significant to the storyline. But the Lost creators weren't able to figure out a way to do justice the sprawling, complex saga — so the rights reverted. If Howard and Goldsman are able to make their version happen, it may well be the most ambitious production of all time. [Deadline]