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The Theoretical Dark Tower Films (SPOILERS)

post #1 of 128
Thread Starter 
They've announced a date, mid January of 2017, and that suggests they'll be casting this bad boy pretty soon. I'm fairly excited at the possibility, even though I can't really imagine anyone ever pulling this off. Spoilers to follow...

Seriously, I'm rereading (well, audiobooking) them again right now. Just getting into the last stretch of Drawing of the Three. And they're wonderful! I'm actually quite excited to revisit the last three, which I've only been through the one time, because I'be heard they play much better the second time through. But my goodness, this is an adaptation that seems impossible. How exactly do you bring Detta Walker to the screen? On the one hand, it's a great three roles for a great actress, but how exactly do you make that stereotype make sense in a two hour movie?

There's tons of that stuff. This first movie, proposed as an adaptation of the first book, involved the hero murdering an entire town, then letting his symbolic son die, and when he catches the villain, they just have a conversation about existential reality. Tough sell for your six film franchise, or however many.

Maybe that's the explanation for the January release. Maybe, if they keep these things small enough, they can do the whole thing profitably. Mid budget, niche audience. Like the Resident Evil series, but considerably more ambitious from a narrative perspective.
post #2 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

They've announced a date, mid January of 2017, and that suggests they'll be casting this bad boy pretty soon. I'm fairly excited at the possibility, even though I can't really imagine anyone ever pulling this off. Spoilers to follow...

Seriously, I'm rereading (well, audiobooking) them again right now. Just getting into the last stretch of Drawing of the Three. And they're wonderful! I'm actually quite excited to revisit the last three, which I've only been through the one time, because I'be heard they play much better the second time through. But my goodness, this is an adaptation that seems impossible. How exactly do you bring Detta Walker to the screen? On the one hand, it's a great three roles for a great actress, but how exactly do you make that stereotype make sense in a two hour movie?

There's tons of that stuff. This first movie, proposed as an adaptation of the first book, involved the hero murdering an entire town, then letting his symbolic son die, and when he catches the villain, they just have a conversation about existential reality. Tough sell for your six film franchise, or however many.

Maybe that's the explanation for the January release. Maybe, if they keep these things small enough, they can do the whole thing profitably. Mid budget, niche audience. Like the Resident Evil series, but considerably more ambitious from a narrative perspective.

Well with Detta Walker they are just going to turn it into good vs bad personality. I imagine most of the racial stuff will be left alone aside from referencing the fact that she is from a time when open racism was the norm.

 

The first movie I can imagine will play out the same but there will be a fight between Roland and the man in black.  Roland will defeat him and then they will have that conversation. That wouldn't exactly ruin the ending.....but mishandling Jake would. If Jake sin't dropped as a sacrifice for the tower then not only does it fuck up that movie but the rest of the run. That is such a huge moment.

post #3 of 128
Thread Starter 

Oh, they'll certainly do it. I just wonder if that won't turn off enough of the potential audience to stop this thing dead in its tracks as a franchise. You want to launch six movies, you'd probably rather not end the first one with the hero killing a child. And every other character in the movie, pretty much. Seems like a tough sell!

 

Which is why I'm hoping the January release means they're keeping these things on the spare size. It's the only way they'll be allowed to do them right. If they're trying to do something with the bleak, R-rated tone of Game of Thrones, that's bodes much better than trying to emulate any of the other recent major franchises. Moderate budget means they might be able to make these for adults.

post #4 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post
 

 If they're trying to do something with the bleak, R-rated tone of Game of Thrones

I wouldn't get used to that. I can see that rating changing quick. I can't imagine an R rated 7 movie franchise anymore. This should be on pay cable, period.


Edited by Waaaaaaaalt - 8/6/15 at 8:14pm
post #5 of 128
Thread Starter 

Probably. It makes a hell of a lot more sense that way. 

 

I know the original Ron Howard plan was to do a weird film and TV joint franchise, but I just assumed that the only way to do that would be to tell all the Gilead stuff over a couple seasons with an entirely different cast. I actually really liked that idea. But it still leaves a lot of questions as to how they intend to turn the present day(ish) stuff into a series of films. So many adaptation choices that require a strong conceptual understanding of the whole thing. How do you handle the Stephen King character? How do you deal with Jake aging? Doctor Dooms throwing snitches? The butterfly effect of changes could just turn the narrative into swiss cheese.

 

I've heard the idea that they should give Roland the Horn of Eld at the beginning, which seems like a great idea.

post #6 of 128
I would imagine that translating this series from the printed page to another medium requires that you also translate the bits about the characters discovering that they are fictional. Does Ron Howard have any enemies that he'd like to slander on screen?
post #7 of 128

A complete rewrite of the series' end wouldn't be amiss either.

 

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"

post #8 of 128
You can keep the parallel worlds element and lose the meta aspects. See Fringe. And that show also deals with losing a child and secrets.

Tone is super important. I kinda want to the wtf approach of Coscarelli and Phantasm, but that's not very mainstream. Game of Thrones meets Walking Dead is a good benchmark, but much more feasible on cable for obvious reasons mentioned.

There's an audience, but platform is super important.
post #9 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post
 

Probably. It makes a hell of a lot more sense that way. 

 

I know the original Ron Howard plan was to do a weird film and TV joint franchise, but I just assumed that the only way to do that would be to tell all the Gilead stuff over a couple seasons with an entirely different cast. I actually really liked that idea. But it still leaves a lot of questions as to how they intend to turn the present day(ish) stuff into a series of films. So many adaptation choices that require a strong conceptual understanding of the whole thing. How do you handle the Stephen King character? How do you deal with Jake aging? Doctor Dooms throwing snitches? The butterfly effect of changes could just turn the narrative into swiss cheese.

 

I've heard the idea that they should give Roland the Horn of Eld at the beginning, which seems like a great idea.

 

Yeah most of that stuff won't make it which im ok with. Seriously don't need to see doctor doom and sneetches. Come up with original designs for the wolves and their weapons. Jake aging..........not sure. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reasor View Post

I would imagine that translating this series from the printed page to another medium requires that you also translate the bits about the characters discovering that they are fictional. Does Ron Howard have any enemies that he'd like to slander on screen?

I actually didn't love all the Stephen King bullshit and I don't believe they were technically fictional. More like King was fed them from a higher power and he wronte them some bullshit. Honestly getting rid of all that shit would be great. Wouldn't hurt the story one little bit.

post #10 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post
 

A complete rewrite of the series' end wouldn't be amiss either.

 

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE"

Yeah that end is going to get changed big time, I would bet everything on that. Honestly I would be fine with Roland walking into the Tower and cut to black.

post #11 of 128
Thread Starter 
They gotta keep the very end!
post #12 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

They gotta keep the very end!

Nope, it will NEVER happen.

post #13 of 128
Thread Starter 
That's like the whole reason to do these! I bet you five internet bucks they keep it.
post #14 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

That's like the whole reason to do these! I bet you five internet bucks they keep it.

You are on! I say that of course knowing full well that not only will the first film possibly not get made but the seventh film certainly won't. 

post #15 of 128
I never say never. When I was a kid I was beaten up for watching Conan the Barbarian (by future GoT fans), zombies were for weirdos and superheroes were either in the funny books or on your pajamas.
post #16 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

I never say never. When I was a kid I was beaten up for watching Conan the Barbarian (by future GoT fans), zombies were for weirdos and superheroes were either in the funny books or on your pajamas.

Yes but this is......I don't know.

post #17 of 128
Sure you do! It's LOTR meets Deadwood meets Sliders! Starring Clint Eastwood!
post #18 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightning Slim View Post

I never say never. When I was a kid I was beaten up for watching Conan the Barbarian (by future GoT fans), zombies were for weirdos and superheroes were either in the funny books or on your pajamas.

It's almost like nerds is king and bullies is pumping our gas now!

post #19 of 128
Nah. I just meant that insatiable desire for entertainment plus boundless capacity for personal hypocrisy means everything is still on the table.
post #20 of 128

Speak on that.

post #21 of 128
For extra credit, sir?

Fandom is not as siloed as it once was. Everything can get made in some form or another. I'm not saying somebody will sign off on a multi-picture, but it's no longer possible to say any property is too big, too dark, too weird, too whatever to find its way onscreen.
post #22 of 128
More than anything else, I wonder how this story can be told without the Marvel-style interconnectivity that was such a vital part of the series (particularly in regards to the whole notion that this universe exists as part of Stephen King's imagination)? How can you tell this without THE STAND, IT, INSOMNIA, SALEM'S LOT, among others....?
post #23 of 128
Thread Starter 

I think those connections, in the end, didn't really do much to help the overall thing. Having a context for Flagg is cool, but the constant readers will already have one. I can't imagine anyone thinking it was a good idea to include Patrick Danville, at least in his present form.

 

The whole thing will require a ton of adaptation. It can still be about everything its supposed to be about without going crazy meta. They could even include the character of Stephen King if they wanted, without dealing with the other stuff.

post #24 of 128
Agreed on everything you said, largely because I feel the series goes off the (mono)rails after THE WASTELANDS (by far my favorite).

I guess my point is that so many details have to be altered or omitted to remove connections that I wonder if you 're not losing the heart of King's overall design; and if so, what's the point?

Personally, I advocate a tv series or nothing at all (though preferably the latter).
post #25 of 128
Father Callahan needs to stay IMO.
post #26 of 128
But he'd end up with a backstory invented for the sake of dramatizing the story. In that case, why bother?
post #27 of 128

They could use the same backstory he already has. Eddie's got his backstory. Susannah's got one. Roland's got one.

Callahan fought monsters in his world. Monsters are a big part of the narrative. Why would they have to change it? Just don't say specifically that he's from a BOOK.

post #28 of 128
Thread Starter 
Callahan's backstory is great, but is exactly the sort of thing you cut from a movie. You can imply the whole thing in thirty seconds.

I'll be shocked if we ever even get to Callahan.
post #29 of 128

Well, The Stand is also in development.  They're going to have to at least address how the same villain with the same name is in both stories.  Are we going to have two different actors playing Flagg or just one?  

post #30 of 128
The idea that Callahan discovers he's a fictional character from a novel makes it harder to neatly remove.
post #31 of 128

There are two aspects of parallelism going on in The Dark Tower series: the idea of alternate realities, and the idea of storytelling.

 

As early as the first book we get the concept of worlds side by side, but it's not really until The Wolves of the Calla that the idea of King's characters come to life is introduced. Even then, it's ultimately explained that King is not creating these characters, but channeling their existence from other worlds into his writing.

 

You can still keep the broad idea of Mid-World being a reflection of archetypes with the Wizard of Oz stuff and things like Dandelo's house being like the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

 

But really the crux of the story is Roland gathers his Ka-Tet, saves the Rose in the vacant lot by protecting Calvin Tower and creating the Tet Corporation, stops the breakers from destroying the beams and then making it to the Tower.

 

The meta-aspects would be missed, but in movie form I believe something would be lost anyway. Kind of like how I doubt the Thursday Next novels could really be done justice onscreen. The parts when she's literally traveling between pages, how would that even be realized?

 

For shits and giggles, here's an article I recently wrote about King, with a bit of discussion on how he portrays himself in The Dark Tower series

https://litreactor.com/columns/academia-vs-imagination-the-problem-of-intellectualism-in-works-of-stephen-king

post #32 of 128

Oh, and Flagg doesn't need to be Flagg. He's Walter or Marten or Maerlyn. In The Waste Lands he refers to himself as Richard Fannin. Considering Flagg is a name King came up for him later, I don't think it's necessary, and a wink wink with an RF name at some point is all you need.

post #33 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby_Scriven View Post
 

 

As early as the first book we get the concept of worlds side by side, but it's not really until The Wolves of the Calla that the idea of King's characters come to life is introduced. Even then, it's ultimately explained that King is not creating these characters, but channeling their existence from other worlds into his writing.

 

Which struck me as having the worst of both worlds, really.  You'd already broken the internal reality of the story, and calling "psych" on it dilutes whatever meta-wankery charge you can get out of that, but ultimately can't do much to unring that bell.

post #34 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schwartz View Post
 

 

Which struck me as having the worst of both worlds, really.  You'd already broken the internal reality of the story, and calling "psych" on it dilutes whatever meta-wankery charge you can get out of that, but ultimately can't do much to unring that bell.


That's the thing. I like Callahan's story a lot, but it could've worked as a standalone novella. Cut him out and the main plot still chugs along: Roland and the Ka-Tet have to win the trust of the Calla and protect them from the Wolves. In Song of Susannah Jake would need another traveling companion when he's bouncing around New York, but that could be easily combined with Roland and Eddie looking for Calvin Tower in Maine.

 

Once you cut out the meta aspect you actually free up the books to flow better. I'm thinking we'd never get seven movies, but more like a trilogy or four-part series. Here's how I'd do it:

 

The first book could stand alone, but Drawing of the Three and The Waste Lands could easily be combined and instead of having a cliffhanger with Blaine the Mono it would include how they beat him from the beginning of Wizard & Glass.

 

Have the flashbacks from Wizard & Glass either relegated to that rumored television series, or bifurcated across the entire series. The "thinny" parts in Kansas from Wizard & Glass could be combined with Lud in The Waste Lands.

 

Then a movie that would adapt The Wolves of the Calla pretty closely, as it's the most straightforward plot in terms of conflict and resolution, but have it end with Susannah giving birth to Mordred. The last movie would be the defeat of the Breakers and the trek to the Tower. Give Jake the drawing powers of Patrick Danville and have him make it to the Tower, but perhaps he's killed by the Crimson King at the last second.

 

Do I sound like a Hollywood exec?

post #35 of 128

I know it wouldn't happen, especially since he's not an actor, but if they did get into the whole meta-King thing later in the story, it would be cool if they cast Joe Hill.

post #36 of 128
I always imagined the first film being THE GUNSLINGER, with the narrative constantly flashing back to the WIZARD AND GLASS love story. Both past and present would inform and respond to one another, and then set the stage for the next films.
post #37 of 128
I think The Gunslinger may work better as more of a tone poem, establishing mood and setting without having to worry about getting two separate plots off the ground. And then Drawing Of The Three has a complicated enough narrative with all the dimension/consciousness hopping, without working another parallel storyline in on top of it. It's not until The Wastelands, when the plot flattens out a bit and the ka-tet is established, that I think you should start interweaving the W&G flashbacks. Between W&G, The Wind Through The Keyhole, and Little Sisters Of Eluria, I think there is enough backstory to parcel out through the remainder of the series (and that's without making new shit up, which I'm sure King would be up for, at least until he turns on the project for being unfaithful to and better than the source material).
Edited by Schwartz - 8/28/15 at 12:53pm
post #38 of 128

I was thinking more along the lines of the first movie start with them all fighting a giant robot bear, and throughout the movie Roland says "Hey guys, this reminds me of that one time.....", then the screen gets wavy and flashes back to whichever door he walked through or dirty bartender he slept with or hobo he shared corn with.  And there are so many flashbacks that the movie ends with them defeating the bear.  Shit, man, why am I not in Hollywood writing this fucker?

post #39 of 128
Thread Starter 
Well, it's happening. With Elba and McConnaughey. With the demise of Fukunaga's IT, this is slipping into its position as my most anticipated upcoming film. I guess I think it's just time for King to get the modern filmmaking treatment, and these books are some of the cornerstones of my creative mind.

I just finished a run through the series. I'm going to get nostalgic, feeling apprenhensive about whether the series will ever get finished or not.
post #40 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Well, it's happening. With Elba and McConnaughey. With the demise of Fukunaga's IT, this is slipping into its position as my most anticipated upcoming film. I guess I think it's just time for King to get the modern filmmaking treatment, and these books are some of the cornerstones of my creative mind.

I just finished a run through the series. I'm going to get nostalgic, feeling apprenhensive about whether the series will ever get finished or not.

With that cast I was getting excited. Then I read they aren't starting with the first book.

post #41 of 128
Thread Starter 
Who knows what they're starting with. They say it starts in media res, but that's exactly how the book starts. There's got to be some attempt to duplicate the iconic first line. They cast Walter, but not Eddie or Susannah, so that sounds pretty much like book one to me.
post #42 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waaaaaaaalt View Post
 

With that cast I was getting excited. Then I read they aren't starting with the first book.

 

post #43 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Headless Fett View Post
 

 

You mock me with muppets so you shall see!

post #44 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Who knows what they're starting with. They say it starts in media res, but that's exactly how the book starts. There's got to be some attempt to duplicate the iconic first line. They cast Walter, but not Eddie or Susannah, so that sounds pretty much like book one to me.

 

Well, they also mention a lot of it taking place in the real world which points to 'The Drawing of The Three' as a starting point.  Who knows, maybe most of The Gunslinger is told in flashbacks? (It IS a pretty slight book).

 

Or maybe they're just starting straight at the beginning with Roland's tale from Wizard and Glass?

 

I don't know.  But I am very cool with whatever changes they want to make.  I am extremely happy with both leads and will show up just to see those interactions.

post #45 of 128

I'm fine with them fast forwarding to Drawing Of The Three, I didn't feel like the series really gets going until you have the group dynamic. I wonder if they'll up McConnaughey's role as well? My memories are getting foggy but I seem to remember The Man In Black doesn't actually get that much 'screentime'.

 

I was always rooting for Viggo Mortenson as Roland, but Elba should nail it.

post #46 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul C View Post
 

I'm fine with them fast forwarding to Drawing Of The Three, I didn't feel like the series really gets going until you have the group dynamic. I wonder if they'll up McConnaughey's role as well? My memories are getting foggy but I seem to remember The Man In Black doesn't actually get that much 'screentime'.

 

I was always rooting for Viggo Mortenson as Roland, but Elba should nail it.

Yeah just gloss over Roland letting a child fall to his death. That is so important to who Roland is.

post #47 of 128

I can't believe the release date for this is less than a year away. Weird.

post #48 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd View Post

Who knows what they're starting with. They say it starts in media res, but that's exactly how the book starts. There's got to be some attempt to duplicate the iconic first line. They cast Walter, but not Eddie or Susannah, so that sounds pretty much like book one to me.

 

Yeah, I feel like we would have heard something about Eddie / Susannah casting by now.  Rumors at the very least.  

 

With all this talk of the real-world, maybe they are pushing some of Jake's book 3 material into the first movie.  Of course, we have heard anything about Jake casting yet either.

post #49 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzy dunlop View Post
 

 

Yeah, I feel like we would have heard something about Eddie / Susannah casting by now.  Rumors at the very least.  

 

With all this talk of the real-world, maybe they are pushing some of Jake's book 3 material into the first movie.  Of course, we have heard anything about Jake casting yet either.

As long as he falls to his death, im happy.

post #50 of 128

Quint over at AICN takes a look at the original Akiva Goldsman script which is supposedly the foundation for the movie they're about to shoot.

 

Quote:
Jake's not a confused child who doesn't know why he's there. He's the one on a mission, convinced he's meant to help Roland find the Dark Tower, which is something Roland has no interest in. He's only after revenge. He has given up protecting the tower in order to focus on killing the Man in Black.

This Roland is a shell of a man. He has his feelings on lock down, much like the Roland from the books, but he's also worn out, defeated. It's an interesting take that took me a little while to warm up to, but I like how they used his growing feelings for Jake to kind of set him back on the path.

Jake is almost more of a central figure in this draft than Roland himself. He's not only Roland's moral compass, he's also the MacGuffin. They give Jake telepathic powers, which sounds silly, but it's not like he's throwing people around with his mind or anything. He sees things, is sensitive to thin spots between worlds, etc. They even call it “The Shine” a nod to King's Shining. He's powerful enough to be of interest to the Man in Black who wants to use him to destroy the Dark Tower.

While I have issues with much of the script, I have to give them credit for nailing the Roland/Jake relationship. In relatively short time you feel that Jake sees Roland as a father figure and that adoration touches something deep inside Roland's stony heart.

They also got another important aspect right: they peppered the world with King references. Before shared universes were popular it was The Dark Tower series that blew my mind. It was used as the lynchpin for all of King's stories. Characters from other books wandered in and out of this story, including the Man in Black who was also known as Randall Flagg in The Stand.

I noticed references to IT, The Stand, Pet Semetary, Hearts In Atlantis, The Mist, Carrie, Firestarter and The Talisman. None of them seemed forced, but added flavor to the world.

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