Things were looking grim early in May for the planned movie and miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's sprawling book series The Dark Tower. The first rumor suggested that Universal might pull the project's financing entirely, and then the "good" news was that the project wasn't totally dead, but likely delayed while the studio worked out their budget concerns. Now Ron Howard has emerged to kinda-sorta confirm that the whole shebang won't be coming to us as early as we'd hoped. Talking to Entertainment Weekly Howard revealed that, yes, "We had to pull back to our September start date due to budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical issues." But perhaps most importantly, he also said this: "Dark Tower is moving forward." Cue up that sigh of relief you've been holding on to all month; I'll wait.

Howard wasn't really forthcoming with many more details, probably because there's still a lot up in the air as he tackles the ridiculously ambitious project of adapting King's story into a feature film, then a six-hour miniseries, then another feature. He acknowledged that Javier Bardem is a likely candidate to star, but said even that isn't set in stone:
“We’re thinking of starting in early spring now. I can’t really say who’ll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest. We’ll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid.”
So keep an eye on the end of the summer, which is probably the first we'll hear about whether the Dark Tower budget has been dramatically slashed, or if maybe they're altering their ambitious plans for both movies and TV miniseries adaptations. I really want Universal and Howard to pull this off, since they seem to be taking the source material seriously and trying a new way to adapt big stories to various-sized screens. If Dark Tower actually works on the scale they're imagining it, it could set up a new format for all kinds of things-- your dream of a War & Peace movie could finally be a reality! Or, you know, maybe the epic 80-hour Harry Potter series adaptation that I know I've been rooting for.

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