By Chris Kavan - 09/09/10 at 09:16 AM CT
It is with equal parts excitement and trepidation when I learned that Universal Pictures picked up the rights to what is arguably Stephen King's greatest legacy: the seven-part Dark Tower series.
It has been a long wait, but I knew eventually it was bound to happen. Universal has promised three pictures, plus a TV series will tackle the dense books that span the entirety of King's work. We're talking books that reference other books - everything from The Stand, Salem's Lot, Hearts in Atlantis, It, Insomnia - and more. Heck, King himself makes an appearance!
King himself has given approval for the man tapped to direct the first film and first season of the TV series: Ron Howard. I can't say he would have been my first choice - but he has tackled both drama and fantasy in the past. He can also adapt novels, but his track record is a bit shaky. I guess as long as Tom Hanks isn't cast as Roland, that would be a good start.
If I had to guess I would say the TV series would be based on Roland's younger years, why the films would tackle the actual journey he goes on as the last gunslinger - but that's all speculation on my part. Casting hasn't even begun, but there are plenty of people to choose from. Roland was originally based on Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name character - obviously he's no longer available. Someone like Josh Brolin could be a good fit, but I hate trying to predict "dream" casts.
Anyway, King's own track record for films is also shaky - I would say for every Shawshank Redemption there are four Maximum Overdrives. Yet I believe that since this is such an important piece of his work that King will take a lot of care in how it turns out. I have optimism, but I will keep my hopes in check until I see the cast and some design.