Ron Howard On Reinterpreting King’s “Dark Tower”

It has take nearly two decades but at last a film adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” novel series is making its way to the screen with Idris Elba in the role of Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black.

Producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have been spearheading the effort in recent years, one which was first going to be a film trilogy with two TV event series in between. Instead we have a Nikolaj Arcel-directed film that’s not a direct translation of the story so much as a sequel to the entire series.

In a new extensive interview about their work on it over the years, the pair talked to Deadline about how they got the project to where it is now. Talking about the process, Howard said:

“We started talking about what it could be. I read all the novels and we broke them down. He [Akiva Goldsman] presented this idea to Stephen King, and this is insider material you might not get, but it was about introducing the Horn of Eld into the very first story. He knew it would allow us to use elements of the novels in a new combination that would give us the latitude to be true to the essence of the novels, but also re-balance and refocus the narrative in a cinematic way. That was the jumping off point that began this process.

When MRC [Media Rights Capital] and Modi Wiczyk became involved, that discussion deepened and we focused more on the Jake Chambers-Roland relationship at the very center of the first movie as a way of launching the universe. We simplified the story line, made it less expensive as a result, but we still utilized a lot of those important structural adjustments that Akiva and I had devised going back years ago.

One of the things we did was put together a team of Dark Tower researchers, devotees of the books. We wanted to restructure the novels to be most cinematic and Stephen King agreed completely and understood the journey we were on immediately and supported it. We used this group to inspire our thinking and stay in the universe of Dark Tower.

Goldsman and our Erica Huggins never gave up on it, and Stephen King was just so patient. We kept trying drafts, searching for collaborators. We finally got there with MRC’s Modi and Tom Rothman at Sony. Modi really got these books, and he characterizes himself as a Tower Head. Nik Arcel did a great job directing. We were very excited on that first day and we are very pleased with what we’re seeing. We’ve believed in this for so long.”

As for where the TV element of the adaptation has ended up, Howard says they’re developing the television part now but don’t know what platform it will be on at this point. The plan is to develop the content in hopes for more movies that will cover the characters involved.