Howard's Dark Tower In Trouble?

Budget issues might halt construction

Looks like budget worries are affecting everyone these days, even proven hit makers reuniting with their powerhouse team to tackle wildly popular source material, as Variety reports that executives at Universal are having some doubts about Ron Howard’s ambitious plans to turn Stephen King’s Dark Tower series into a set of films and TV show.

Yes, Universal would seem to be having one of its budget panic spasms, the same sort of worries that ended up shunting Guillermo del Toro’s planned Lovecraft adaptation At the Mountains of Madness – which had Tom Cruise interested, no less – back into limbo.

It’s not really surprising that Howard, even though he had the backing of his Imagine producing partner Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman on script duties, might be facing an uphill struggle. The plan to turn the seven-book series (with more reportedly on the way) into a massive trilogy with a prequel TV drama filling in plot gaps is all but unprecedented and therefore difficult for the studio to figure out what it can afford to spend and how much revenue it’ll make. And King’s concept, which finds a post-apocalyptic Wild West wasteland working in parallel to the modern world, is a tricky one to compress and sell.

But before you start ringing any alarm bells, no decision has been made and according to the trade mag’s sources, the project is still moving ahead for now. Javier Bardem is all but locked in to play gunslinger Roland Deschain and Howard is busy tracking down other actors. While there’s a chance Universal could pull the plug and send the project into turnaround, Howard would still have the ability to offer it around to other studios, and it’s possible another company could come aboard in partnership to share the cost...