It was easily the most ambitious upcoming project, and now it looks like that project was a little too ambitious for Universal, as Deadline reports that the studio has officially killed their plans to bring Stephen King's The Dark Tower series to the big (and small) screen. Javier Bardem was set to star as the gunslinger Roland Deschain, with Ron Howard directing Akiva Goldsman's script. The idea was to create a trilogy of films that tie into two limited-run television shows. Production on the first film was recently pushed back to February because of budget concerns, but now it seems those budget concerns have lead to its ultimate downfall. No word on whether another studio will take a chance on this monster, but as of now it looks pretty dead.
This is actually the second high-profile film that Universal killed in the past year, opting not to move forward with Guillermo del Toro's adaptation of HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness with Tom Cruise in the lead. Deadline claims they may have wanted to take a step back and focus more energy on their two major, big-budgeted films due next year (Battleship and 47 Ronin) that will both require massive marketing campaigns to build audience awareness. It's somewhat surprising to see Uni make this move (especially since they're having a great year so far, and like to take risks), but The Dark Tower is a tremendous undertaking that requires so much time, energy and money, and is in no way guaranteed to pay off. We don't blame them for passing it up, though it would've been a blast to see them attempt a production that crosses over to multiple mediums. We'll see something like this materialize one of these days -- be it with The Dark Tower or something else -- but unfortunately it'll be happening later rather than sooner.
Are you upset about Universal killing The Dark Tower?