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JJ Abrams To Direct The Dark Tower?

Lost supremo in talks over King novels

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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