Ron Howard appeared on Thursday morning’s Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio to promote his upcoming comedy The Dilemma. And during the appearance, Howard revealed a few tidbits about his big screen and small screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower.

As you know, the proposed multi-platform adaptation would interweave a trilogy of feature films and a network TV series. The plan is to kick it off with a theatrical feature, followed then by a season of TV episodes, which will transition into the second feature film, and so on. Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of TV episodes, with Akiva Goldsman (Fringe, I Am Legend, A Beautiful Mind) writing. Goldsman will also produce, alongside Brian Grazer and Stephen King.

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen or not, but I’m developing with Akiva Goldsman, the guy who wrote A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man, a version of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of fantasy stories And there is an element of it, if everything goes as planned, that we would like to do on tv. So we want to do part of it big screen, and then a lot of the character stuff — because Stephen King’s stuff is so interesting and fascinating, and instead of trying to wedge it into a movie, let the movies be adventure and action.”

When asked if the tv mini series would air on premium cable, like HBO or Showtime, Ron responded that he “can’t go into the specifics of it, but NBC/Universal is doing it, and I think they’ll be able to look at all of their television networks and see where it belongs.” So if the miniseries happens, expect to most likely see it on NBC. When asked if he would direct the television stuff, Ron confirmed that “I would, yeah.” And there have been rumors that Javier Bardem and Viggo Mortensen are front-runners for the lead role of the gunslinger Roland. When those names were brought up, Howard was quick to respond:

“And there are other names on the list… but we’re still early on in the development of it.” … “But there are other people also being considered.”

Ron speculated that the names were leaked possibly through the actor’s agents, and called both stars “incredible actors”.

“They are both artists, and so are some of the other people we’re thinking of. But this is the situation. They have to see, in this case, that we’re using both mediums to really tell a story and [commit for years]“

Ron clarified that the television portion of the adaptation”is really a six hour special”, while “there is another element of it that could be television series but those characters…” Unfortunately Ron was cut off by another question from Stern before he could finish his thought. Later, when met with a critical fan, Ron responded that he hopes to make a good King adaptation:

“In a way it’s Stephen King’s life work. He’s woven those characters in and around so many stories…  Hey look, there is always a risk when you adapt something and books are challenges. But I think a movie idea is there. And if I have my way, and if everything goes according to plan, which is of course a big ig — we’ll be doing movies, we’ll be doing television, and all of that isn’t just [to make money] but all of that is to be as comprehensive as possible.The idea of doing part of it on the big screen and part of it on television is to try to include absolutely as much of the books, and even the graphic novels, as possible.”

Here’s a synopsis of the (currently) seven-book series:

The series incorporates themes from multiple genres, including fantasy fiction, science fantasy, horror and western elements. They describe a “Gunslinger” and his quest toward a tower whose nature the books call both physical and metaphorical. King has described the series as his magnum opus. Besides the seven novels that compose the series proper, many of his other books relate to the story, introducing concepts and characters that come into play as the series progresses.

In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of “Arthur Eld”, his world’s analogue of King Arthur. The world he lives in is quite different from our own, yet it bears striking similarities to it. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. While the magical aspects are largely gone from Mid-World, some vestiges of them remain, along with the relics of a highly advanced, but long vanished, society. Roland’s quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland’s world is said to have “moved on”, and indeed it appears to be coming apart at the seams—mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion.

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  • Spastic Jedi
    Sounds like Viggo and Bardem are out, Howard kept bringing up, "others" that are on the list, which is good.
    I'm not liking the idea of either Viggo or Bardem, good actors, but neither are Roland Deschain.
  • dave
    you would def need a young clint for roland
  • Randognsac
    There is no such thing as a young Clint Eastwood. A guy like that is really rare. Viggo or Javier look the part enough. I am sure they can get into the character of Roland. But it will probably be some no name hack with a pretty face, which will be disappointing.
  • I've read one of the books and had trouble understanding what the hell is going on! Wierd phrases like ka-tet and other stuff makes me wonder how they will make this accessible
  • Correct me if I'm wrong, but the word "ka-tet" doesn't come up until the 2nd or 3rd book. Why wouldn't you just start with the first?
  • Personally, this is a project I hope never comes to fruition because:
    a) I haven't finished reading the books yet (still working my way through book 4).
    b) I seriously doubt that this film/miniseries structure would be able to give the series justice. Adapt them proper or don't adapt them at all.
  • Socks
    Wait... you actually hope these films get cancelled because you haven't finished the books yet? What the hell? That makes no sense – are you worried that the films will spoil the books for you or something? Can't you manage to read the last three books between now and 2015 (which is the approximate year that the adaptations of the fourth and fifth books will come)?

    As for the film/miniseries structure, I have actually read the entire series and I think it's a great idea. The action-packed stories can be given big-budget feature films and the character-driven dramatic stories can be fleshed out as miniseries with a lower budget and a longer running time. Where is the problem with this plan?
  • I'm a notoriously slow reader. Been working on the series since 2003/2004.
  • Nappyp
    what is the proper adaptation?
  • Essentially adapting all seven books into films. There is no way you can squeeze 2-3 of the books into a miniseries, especially if they do show it on NBC, which would also require the removal of the more violent and sexual aspects.
  • Randognsac
    I think NBC owns USA, A&E and Syfy, maybe they put it on one of those. Get more content that way. Would be nice if HBO or Showtime did it. But you can't have it all. It probably won't be as good as the books, but it will be must see TV for me. I am sure I will enjoy it.
  • Kjdavis
    Even if they did make it all movies, you could easily cut it down to probably 5 movies, maybe 4. A lot of stuff from Wolves of the Calla and Songs of Susannah could be cut out.

    I don't like the NBC idea at all. How are they gonna cut from completely uncensored movie to censored TV? It feels like they are gonna cripple the original material to get it to a wider audience.

    If this is rated PG 13, I am gonna be pissed.
  • Nappyp
    those have to be four hour epics.

    I still say a HBO series is needed for this, and none of this BS 6 episode season crap they have been pulling recently.
  • Jmoffet10
    The only one I've known to successfully adapt King would be Darabont... And I thought he would've been perfect for this. But I'll keep my hopes up, seeing as this is my favorite series of books in the history of literature...
  • But the Darabont of The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption is gone. The current one makes stuff like The Mist and The Walking Dead.
  • Wpadick
    You say The Mist and The Walking Dead like that's a bad thing.
  • rogerbusby
    My biggest concern is Goldsman writing, Oscar be damned I still can't be optimistic about the guy who brought us Batman's fake lips
  • Socks
    This is actually sounding great. I think Ron Howard can probably handle The Gunslinger (the first film) and The Drawing of the Three (the first six-hour miniseries), as they are rather straightforward stories, not too far beyond his rather banal and limited range. Hopefully some excellent and appropriate directors like Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro or Darren Aronofsky will be enlisted to handle the later films and miniseries.
  • I'm glad that they went the route of a miniseries. There are so many movies that should have been miniseries to begin with.
  • MonsterKilledThePilot
    I'll believe it when I see it.
  • I hope this will be good. I've read all The Dark Tower books and hope they at least do a decent job. But 99% of adaptations fail.
  • I wonder if it can be as good as The Dilemma.
  • I'm fully expecting this to disappoint, but I'll be watching it.
  • Nappyp
    glad this isn't slow burning. It seems to actually be moving, and having stuff happen. Feels like it is actually around corner.
  • Octoberist
    Hollywood is weird. Sometimes there is momentum of a project, or it'll just stay in development hell for a long time.
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