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JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?
Lost supremo in talks over King novels

14 February 2007  |  Written by   |  Source: IGN Filmforce

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It’s a good time to be a Stephen King fan right now. Frank Darabont is limbering up to shoot The Mist – King’s greatest novella, bar none – in Lousiana, Eli Roth will move onto fun zombie tale Cell right after he finishes Hostel Part II and – if IGN Filmforce’s Stax is to be believed, we’re about to see King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower, on the big screen.

JJ Abrams – a huge King fan who has studded many references to the Tower series into his TV show, Lost – is reportedly in talks to do what many thought impossible, and turn the apparently unfilmable seven-book series into a movie. Or series of movies. Or maybe even a mini-series.

Of course, given the size of The Dark Tower series, a fantasy epic that dwarves The Lord Of The Rings in page count and scope, the latter two options would seem to be the way ahead. However, the truth is, nobody really knows what Abrams’ plans are at the moment, but IGN believe that an imminent announcement is due any day now, which should lend clarification. What is believed, though, is that The Dark Tower may be lodged with Paramount and could be the reason why Abrams won’t direct the next Star Trek film, but will merely produce it instead.

Now, for those of you who are slightly lost, a quick recap of what The Dark Tower is all about. Simply put, it’s King’s masterwork, a series of seven books of increasing length and complexity that he began at the start of his career and finally finished just a couple of years ago. Essentially the bastard child of King, Sergio Leone and J.R.R. Tolkien, the books tell the tale of Roland Deschain (a role that someone like George Clooney should be campaigning for right now), the last Gunslinger (like a knight, only with guns instead of swords) making his way through the ruins of Mid-World on a quest to find The Dark Tower, a fabled building that may or may not be the nexus of all life.

Along the way, he is joined by travelling companions including a disabled schizophrenic black lady, a recovering heroin addict, and a young boy who just won’t stay dead, while their quest takes them back and forth between the modern-day and the past, Mid-World and our own Earth and, bizarrely, connects them with the life and work of a certain Maine author, Mr. Stephen King…

The seven books are The Gunslinger, a dark and existential fantasy Western; The Drawing Of The Three, a fast-moving action piece in which Roland picks up his travelling companions, while losing something very dear to him; The Waste Lands, which veers into pure sci-fi; Wizard And Glass, the most overtly Tolkien-esque of the novels; Wolves Of The Calla, which is essentially The Magnificent Seven with a post-modern twist; Song Of Susannah, a mind-twisting thriller spanning several time periods, and featuring an appearance by King himself; and the final book, The Dark Tower in which… well, we won’t spoil it.

Fans of the Tower series will have long bandied around the term, ‘unfilmable’. But if the last few years have proved, it’s that there’s no such thing as an unfilmable book, what with Tom Tykwer’s bang-up job on Perfume, and of course Peter Jackson’s work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy. So we’re going to be cautiously optimistic about this: Abrams, after all, is a King fan and, while he may not have anything on his CV that suggests that he can pull off an epic of this kind, visually or otherwise, well we all said the same thing about Mr. Jackson when he announced his ambitious plans to make the Rings trilogy…


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Your Comments

Slightly unrelated
I heard a rumour that George Romero is is making a film version of "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" starring (and i hope this parts not true) Dakota Fanning, does any one know if this is true? also i firmly beleive that some things should be left as they are dark tower being one of them More

Posted by RLTShirley at 17:32 on 31 May 2009 | Report This Post

Roland of Gilead
What about Roland from Grangehill to play Roland, Susanah can be played by her that used to call him Ro-Laand, Zammo as Eddie Dean. Bouncer from neighbours can play Oy. More

Posted by lycanthrope at 14:26 on 31 March 2009 | Report This Post

Roland of Gilead
What about Roland from Grangehill to play Roland, Susanah can be played by her that used to call him Ro-Laand, Zammo as Eddie Dean. Bouncer from neighbours can play Oy. More

Posted by lycanthrope at 14:25 on 31 March 2009 | Report This Post

RE: JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born Marvel comic is also getting a lot of attention from fans. I posted some links to stuff about the New York Comic Con's Dark Tower panel, including an AICN interview with Stephen King and talk about the proposed movie, in his threadrl] in The Comic Shack section! More

Posted by Glorfindel at 01:33 on 03 March 2007 | Report This Post

RE: JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?
Another actor for Roland (Although a bit younger) Hugh Jackman. I think he would be good in this role.   Still reading Wolves of the Callah at the moment. I think the first four books will be easier to translate into film/TV. The last three appear to be quite different. More

Posted by GandalfTheGrey at 10:56 on 20 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?
I was really excited when I saw this, being a DT fan. A TV series sounds more sensible to me, they'd have to rely on the first adaptation, The Gunslinger-which is slightly wishy-washy-being a hit in order to insure future sequels. Also, it's much lnger than The Lord Of The Rings, and hasn't got such a broad appeal. But I really hope something good comes of it. Fingers crossed (the ones I have left, dud-a-chock? Little in joke there!). Oh yeah, I remember a review of Hallowee More

Posted by Glorfindel at 02:14 on 19 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?
Its gonna suck and you know it.   If you love the books and invested as much time into reading the series as I have (I read the first one in 1987), you know that whatever they do will be disapointing. That said i'll still watch it and hope.   Well at least Mick Garris isn't involved. More

Posted by chewbacasnapsak at 21:19 on 18 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?
Clooney for Rolland, eh???? Noooooo!!!!!!! As a young Roland how about - Jake Gyllenhall? The older Roland should be a Clint Eastwood type - Micheal Wincott? Or not. Black/Flagg - Willem Dafoe? Suzanna - Rosario Dawson? Eddie - Sam Rockwell? All I can say is - please keep the characters in the book as close to the people you imagine as possible.  More

Posted by neil.1138 at 20:23 on 17 February 2007 | Report This Post

RUTGER HAUER FOR ROLAND!!! More

Posted by tejo at 11:09 on 17 February 2007 | Report This Post

The Tower in Lost?
"JJ Abrams – a huge King fan who has studded many references to the Tower series into his TV show, Lost" ??? I think I'd remember it if lobstrosities came ashore and ate Locke or did I miss the episode where Jack cuts through the jungle and discovers Blaine the monorail challenging the Others to a riddle contest? Anybody want to back this up with some references? More

Posted by nathaneb at 17:41 on 16 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: It'll be a toughie....
Kurt Russell sounds good. Though as this most likely looks like a TV series, might need people who would do TV.   What about Kiefer Sutherland?   "I've got to save the Dark Tower, Thousands of lives are at Stake"   "You've got to help me find the rose. Thousands of lives are at stake"   "You've forgotten the face of your father, er, Thousands of lives are at stake"   et so on... More

Posted by wopdang at 16:29 on 15 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: It'll be a toughie....
Kurt Russel for Roland? More

Posted by GandalfTheGrey at 13:49 on 15 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: It'll be a toughie....
Whoever said Clooney? Urgh, nooooo! I'd like to see Clive Owen as Roland, think he would be a great choice. More

Posted by Zoobie at 12:38 on 15 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: It'll be a toughie....
If it's a TV series then it's gotta be 7 seasons, that's the way American Networks go: Sopranos, 24, Lost... They all gotta have those 7 series.   The suggestions above for Roland are good, but I always see Roland as this older guy, I think as King himself always pictured him as Clint Eastwood. As Clint obviously wouldn't do, maybe Tommy Lee Jones? He's got that weathered old cowboy look down to a tee.   As for Eddie, again,  Jason Lee is an excellent choice, but Nathan F More

Posted by wopdang at 09:29 on 15 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: It'll be a toughie....
Oh, and I totally agree with whoever said this needs to be a TV series, lasting two or three seasons. More

Posted by djsmokingjam at 19:32 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: It'll be a toughie....
JJ Abrams isn't a terrible choice, but I think the Tower deserves better nonetheless.  Richard Kelly expressed a great deal of interest at one point - read at www.aintitcool.com/display.cgi?id=18334 and I think he would be a better fit.  Yes, better even than Frank Darabont and Guillermo Del Toro.   But in any case, dear sweet Jesus they need to cut out the "meta-narrative" aspects of the last five books.  It won't work on film, and though they were a More

Posted by djsmokingjam at 19:31 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

It'll be a toughie....
I'm not a big JJ fan-Guilermo Del Toro would be a great choice for this. I've always imagined Pearce as Roland and Jason Lee as Eddie but the Flagg character is a strange one-in The Stand he sounds like a young Cuckoo's Nest looking Jack Nicholson but in The Dark Tower he always sounded different-more like Willem Dafoe or someone more handsome but sinister-Tmothy Olyphant maybe? Anywho I'm hanging in for a re-vamp of the Stand after that Mick Garris shite a thon, with Nathon Fillion as Stu and Z More

Posted by Rock Lobster! at 14:45 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: So excited...
Yeah, I agree, Clooney wouldn't be right for Roland; the Gunslinger needs to be more of a tortured character. Pearce would probably be a good choice.   As for the Man in Black/Flagg character, I've been thinking for a while now that Sawyer from Lost would be a good choice (bit of a coincidence that Abrams has now been named) . He's got the perfect mix of charm and darkness. More

Posted by the ageless stranger at 14:19 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

Holding Palaver
I have talked alot about this in the last few years, my heart says that whatever is made that there will be someone who is upset as there will be alot of stuff on the cutting room floor. I'm not being pessimistic, as dare I say it I'm more excited about this project than I was about LOTR.....well maybe just the same :) whatever the outcome it's going to be a long time before we see it, my favorite of all the books is definitely The Drawing of the Three........BEST SEQUEL EVER!!! More

Posted by His Dudeness at 14:11 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: So excited...
nt books but Abrams is a strange choice. I enjoy Alias and Mission Impossible 3 but his style seems to be all flash and he struggles with the more character driven moments. Anyway I hope its good and Guy Pearce would be great as Roland. More

Posted by Dave B at 13:59 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

So excited...
... just let out a bit of wee. Love these books but Clooney is not a good choice for Roland if you ask me....... More

Posted by papalazarou at 13:18 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Oh, I'll be in line for this......
Well I reckon if anyone could handle the appearance of King then it would be Abrams, he is a bit of a Post-Modern genius.   It will be strange though, also the references to all his other books, will they work in this world? Maybe they will invent a writer to use instead of Stephen King. Who knows. I'll be very keen to find out. I've only known about this film a few hours and I am already horrendously impatient. More

Posted by wopdang at 12:58 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

Oh, I'll be in line for this......
....yeah, I'm a fan (the name's a clue if you've read the books) and JJ Abrams is a legend as far as I'm concerned. I think the books could be absolutely amazing on-screen if done correctly, but there are a couple of things, especially in the last three books that I'd wonder how they're going to handle. Mainly, King being a character? I think it'd come off as silly on-screen. Still, I've wanted to see this done for a long time, so bring it on...... More

Posted by the ageless stranger at 12:10 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

Oh, I'll be in line for this......
....yeah, I'm a fan (the name's a clue if you've read the books) and JJ Abrams is a legend as far as I'm concerned. I think the books could be absolutely amazing on-screen if done correctly, but there are a couple of things, especially in the last three books that I'd wonder how they're going to handle. Mainly, King being a character? I think it'd come off as silly on-screen. Still, I've wanted to see this done for a long time, so bring it on...... More

Posted by the ageless stranger at 12:03 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

JJ Abrams has, through merely two tv shows and one film, become one of my top five directors. And i mean ever. I've never even read any of the Dark Tower books. But i'm desperately looking forwards to anything epically sagaesque he has to throw our way. Hurrah! More

Posted by Silvertouch at 11:15 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

Bugger!
I was looking forward to his take on Star Trek! Anyone know who is in the chair now? More

Posted by Vambo5 at 10:43 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

Excitement of magnificient proportions!!!
Words can not express the joy that has just bounced off of me reading this article. Empire you have made my day, no you have made my week!!! Either as a mini-series or a series of movies this would be incredible, and J J Abrams has turned everything he touches to gold, I have every faith that he would make this work. These books bring the purest form of joy to my heart, and I do not believe they are unfilmable at all, whenever I read them I picture it as film, and even have made More

Posted by wopdang at 09:54 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

RE: The Dark Tower
Excellent news!!! I new it would happen sooner or later. There are so many great ideas in this epic series, I just hope it is done well. This could be really disappointing if not handled carefully. I am currently just about to start on the fifth book so am not entirely sure how the saga ends but the first four books are brilliant. JJ Abrams is a good choice. Lost is a great drama series with some real tension etc and I also enjoyed Mission Impossible 3. I was actually hoping that this wo More

Posted by GandalfTheGrey at 09:45 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

drools
I'd love to see these books brought to the screen. It'll be bloody tough though. My excitement for movies of both Cell, and especially The Mist knows no bounds. More

Posted by Hanna at 09:16 on 14 February 2007 | Report This Post

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