Join 3,520 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold.
July 19, 2011 4:08 PM   Subscribe

After weeks of rumors, it's official, Ron Howard's ambitious adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series has been cancelled.
posted by Panjandrum (90 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bummer.
posted by Wotak at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2011


It took 40 years to get Atlas Shrugged made.

Be careful what you wish for.
posted by Trurl at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


O Discordia!

Kind of glad it's not being made. Javier Bardem is great and all, but he's no Roland of Gilead.
posted by fight or flight at 4:13 PM on July 19, 2011


Right. Someone get me a stuffed animal and a handgun.

What? It worked last time, didn't it?
posted by Etrigan at 4:16 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Howard was always an odd fit for the material, I thought.
posted by brundlefly at 4:16 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wouldn't this be served better by some kind of made for cable series in the mold of Game of Thrones? Not sure why the giant production with multiple formats would have been necessary anyway.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:17 PM on July 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Good. I couldn't make it through the novels - I have no idea how I would make it through the movies.
posted by item at 4:21 PM on July 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Wait. That really makes very little sense.


Just like the Dark Tower series.
posted by item at 4:21 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Having just read the plot synopsis on wikipedia, these books are readable? Even the summary makes no sense. Do the books make any sense at all?
posted by GuyZero at 4:24 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Technically, UNIVERSAL cancelled the project, not the guys who were working on it. Even R(ing)TFA, my understanding is that they could easily take this project to another studio if they want. Warner Bros. in particular would be a good one, being as they are flush with Potter cash and looking for any and all franchises to fill the gap left by that series.

They'll have The Hobbit, but that's only two movies, and the DC comics adaptations aren't quite the force they were pre-Green Lantern (The Dark Knight Rises will undoubtedly be a smash hit, but the jury is still out on Snyder's Man of Steel). The Dark Tower could be the big payoff they're looking for.
posted by HostBryan at 4:26 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see Jodorowsky or Eastwood direct Bardem in an adaptation of the first book. That book is perfect all by itself.

Howard's cross-platform approach struck me as very bold in a way that surprised me from someone who's entrenched in old school Hollywood and has been served extraordinarily well by it his whole life, and also struck me as crazy as building an opera house in the middle of the rainforest. And after Game of Thrones (the show), as probably an unnecessarily complex and unwieldy venture.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:26 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed the Gunslinger, although it definitely wasn't for its cohesive narrative.
posted by griphus at 4:26 PM on July 19, 2011


He lost his shot at happy and it's all your fault, Opie.
posted by hal9k at 4:27 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


these books are readable? Even the summary makes no sense. Do the books make any sense at all?

The first book, which he wrote (or at least started) in college, is a good atmospheric. The second one is good Early King, i.e. more or less has a story. The following ones are Middle King, i.e. they have no story, just a bunch of foreshadowing thrown together at best. I don't know what Late King or the other books are like, since I gave up on him about 15 years ago.
posted by DU at 4:31 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's hoping it's cuzza Ron Howard's gonna be too busy with the Arrested Development movie.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:31 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know what Late King or the other books are like, since I gave up on him about 15 years ago.

I wouldn't wish reviews like this on Sean Hannity.
posted by Trurl at 4:34 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read several articles about this yesterday, and it seems like this will be a major detail but I seriously doubt it will be permanently abandoned. Hollywood is too thirsty for "franchises" to just give up. I really liked the idea of a combination movie/TV series. There's could make movies out of the Gunslinger, Wizard and Glass and maybe The Wolves of Calla. The Drawing of the Three could make a good miniseries, then they could just throw out the rest of the source material and make something decent out of the series.
posted by skewed at 4:35 PM on July 19, 2011


This will give him more time to work on the Arrested Development movie!

Having just read the plot synopsis on wikipedia, these books are readable? Even the summary makes no sense. Do the books make any sense at all?

Why would you read the plot synopsis instead of actually reading the books?

And yes, like everything King writes they're quite readable. The first one is a simple existential sci-fi Western about the Man In Black fleeing across the desert and the Gunslinger following. The Wastelands and The Drawing of the Three are incredible, combining fantasy and Western and sci-fi elements with a 'dying Earth' setting and King's deft characterization. Wizard and Glass was a bit long, but the tragic flashback at its heart was great. The three post-van accident novels weren't that great but they had some inspired metafiction and high weirdness.

The Dark Tower was my Harry Potter growing up (and yes, I know there's a bit of irony in that circa Wolves of the Calla). I devoured them. I can't quite describe their power, but I just love spending time with Roland, Eddie, Jake, Oy, and Sussanah. I'd watch a TV series in a second.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:40 PM on July 19, 2011 [20 favorites]


Reviews, spoilers

The Gunslinger: Pretty good

Drawing of the Three: Good but for that stupid Odetta/Detta thing. Lobstrosities!

The Wastelands: Good but for Eddie's stupid duel with the train

The Wizard and the Glass: Good backstory on Roland (some of the better of king's writing, I think), stupid Wizard of Oz/Flagg stuff

Wolves of the Calla: Really good battle/secret in small town stuff. More stupid Odetta stuff. King inserts himself into the story which is like the STUPIDEST FUCKING THING EVER

second to last: meh/not scary demon baby

last: Wow good thing they found that guy with the magical drawing powers NO FUCK YOU KING
posted by angrycat at 4:45 PM on July 19, 2011 [34 favorites]


I read the first book. It didn't really make much sense. Like DU said it's all world-building and foreshadowing and leads to nothing really at the end. And it also seems like the world that's being built doesn't make much sense as a whole either. It's kind of like reading a long dream... it's as if King had taken a bunch of potential imaginary worlds and shattered them, gluing their shards onto construction paper into a twisted collage.

In fact, I was trying to remember if I'd read the whole book, or just part of it and it was really hard to do. I don't remember ever getting to a point where I felt like I'd finished the story, all I remember is that I got to the point where I turned the last page and closed the book. The final 'transition' wasn't much different then the other transitions in the story, which changed the narrative but didn't really resolve anything.
posted by delmoi at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2011


The Wastelands: Good but for Eddie's stupid duel with the train

Shut your mouth Blaine the Mono is awesome

what kinda bugged me is that when King started going metafictional he didn't go ALL OUT CRAZY METAFICTIONAL. I wanted Roland, John Smith from The Dark Half, Firestarter and Carrie roaring through Mid World in Christine.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:47 PM on July 19, 2011 [13 favorites]


(oh and the reason it's hard to remember was that I was pretty young when I read it. Probably like... 12 or something?)
posted by delmoi at 4:48 PM on July 19, 2011


In fact, I was trying to remember if I'd read the whole book, or just part of it and it was really hard to do. I don't remember ever getting to a point where I felt like I'd finished the story, all I remember is that I got to the point where I turned the last page and closed the book. The final 'transition' wasn't much different then the other transitions in the story, which changed the narrative but didn't really resolve anything.

The ending of The Gunslinger is gorgeously existential. As a stand alone book its more of a 70s sci-fi paperback than normal King.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:48 PM on July 19, 2011


I re-read the series earlier this year. The first three books are still terrific; Wizard and Glass is probably the best of them all on its own merits, but in context it completely ruins the momentum of the series; and the last three are mostly crap, with brief moments of honest-to-god genius.

Unlike a lot of people, I loved the epilogue, and thought it was a great way to wrap everything up, but what led up to that was nothing short of a betrayal. Not of me, but of the characters I'd grown to love. Heroes and villains and allies and bystanders and the third-string supporting cast, nobody got the ending they deserved. (Susannah's in particular felt like a slap in the face. Are you fucking kidding me, Steve-o?)

Good thing the seventh book is so sturdy, for the number of times I've thrown it against a wall....
posted by Zozo at 4:50 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why would you read the plot synopsis instead of actually reading the books?

I've just never enjoyed King's books. They're completely uninteresting to me, having tried once or twice. If I put one of his books down to get a glass of water then I just can't be bothered to pick it back up. And I like lots of horribly bad sci-fi authors well enough - heck, I waded through most of Ayn Rand's books. But people keep saying the books are "epic" and not even using the word as a generic intensifier, so I figure I should at least see what's up. And it just seems like such a mish-mash overall. Instead of pizza it's like a hot bread-tomato-pepperoni smoothie. So close.
posted by GuyZero at 4:50 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


The ending ending - the top of the Tower ending - was pretty awesome I'll admit.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:51 PM on July 19, 2011


Probably for the best. How in the hell would someone like Howard handle a scene where a black lady with no legs is intentionally raped by an invisible demon?

As to the novels, I really enjoyed all except the 2nd and 6th installments. The 7th had some cringe-worthy plot twists but also one excellent action sequence and that bizarre character near the end who kills people with laughter.

And Wizard & Glass (4th book) can almost stand alone and is probably my third favorite of any King books (behind It and Needful Things).
posted by mannequito at 4:52 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


> It's kind of like reading a long dream... it's as if King had taken a bunch of potential imaginary worlds and shattered them, gluing their shards onto construction paper into a twisted collage.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by Zozo at 4:53 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


I remember Wolves of the Calla the sinking sensation when (SPOILER) oh, hello, Father Callahan. Oh, what book did you find there. Oh they carry Salem's Lot in the Calla, do they? FUCK YOU KING
posted by angrycat at 4:54 PM on July 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


Zozo: It's interesting you should say that, because Wizard and Glass is where i stopped reading. It just seemed like something was lost. It humanized Roland, but not in a good way. Mid-world stopped seeming like a real if fantastic place and more like a pastiche. That scope and promise that made the first three books so exceptional was lost for me, and I never went back to it.
posted by Grimgrin at 4:55 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


angrycat is angry.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:56 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Instead of pizza it's like a hot bread-tomato-pepperoni smoothie. So close.
posted by delmoi at 4:58 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I loved and still love all of the books. Even with the metafiction, even with the ending.

This news is disappointing, but not surprising. It's as if the people in charge of the money finally got around to reading the later books and realized what they were getting into.

Anyway, we still have The Wind Through the Keyhole next year and just a regular old new novel this year.

I like Stephen King.
posted by that's how you get ants at 4:59 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I remember Wolves of the Calla the sinking sensation when (SPOILER) oh, hello, Father Callahan. Oh, what book did you find there. Oh they carry Salem's Lot in the Calla, do they? FUCK YOU KING

I read Salem's Lot after Dark Tower, so it didn't bother me as much. I love the idea of a thin place between the worlds. Then again, I'm a Moorcock fan so I'm used to characters skipping between dimensions like it was nothing.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyway, we still have The Wind Through the Keyhole next year and just a regular old new novel this year.

And his musical with John Mellencamp!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:00 PM on July 19, 2011


Probably for the best. How in the hell would someone like Howard handle a scene where a black lady with no legs is intentionally raped by an invisible demon?

One of them would be played by Tom Hanks; the other by Clint Howard.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:02 PM on July 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


I still have a special place in my heart for the first book. The 2nd and 3rd I enjoyed at the time, but looking back I think they would stand up better if someone passed a law stating that Stephen King is not allowed to write minority characters.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:05 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


I read the first three books when I was in high school and loved them. The Drawing of the Three is probably the best of the series. I gave up halfway through book four or five...I can't remember which one it was, but it turned into a Harlequin Romance* at some point and was so sappy and cloying I threw it across the room with great force.

Ron Howard was a strange choice, but it could've been worse. It could've been Michael Bay's The Dark Tower. (OMG, it still could be!) Ron Howard is a competent director but so very bland.

*I have never read a Harlequin Romance novel. Just sayin.
posted by zardoz at 5:05 PM on July 19, 2011


I listened to all of the DT books unabridged over the course of three months on second shift at a thoroughly mind numbing job. It was a lot, but I really enjoyed them. I guess I'm in the minority in liking King inserting versions of himself into the novels and weaving his previous books into the DT series.

I also really like Black House and hopefully he's working on the conclusion to that story.
posted by dave78981 at 5:06 PM on July 19, 2011


Black House was freakin' amazing, had almost forgot about that. There's more planned in that storyline? I forget how it ends but I thought all the plot points were wrapped up.
posted by mannequito at 5:09 PM on July 19, 2011


Black House was freakin' amazing, had almost forgot about that. There's more planned in that storyline? I forget how it ends but I thought all the plot points were wrapped up.

I didn't like Black House, especially given how good The Talisman was. As for the conclusion, didn't the end of The Dark Tower take care of that plot?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:12 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


And his musical with John Mellencamp!

And potentially a The Stand trilogy by David Yates!
posted by that's how you get ants at 5:12 PM on July 19, 2011


I say we get a posse together, find Frank Darabont, and hold him captive until he agrees to take over on Dark Tower.
posted by Pants McCracky at 5:17 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I remember Wolves of the Calla the sinking sensation when (SPOILER) oh, hello, Father Callahan. Oh, what book did you find there. Oh they carry Salem's Lot in the Calla, do they? FUCK YOU KING

I'm going to favorite as many more of these comments as the author sees fit to produce.
posted by Trurl at 5:22 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]



I remember Wolves of the Calla the sinking sensation when (SPOILER) oh, hello, Father Callahan. Oh, what book did you find there. Oh they carry Salem's Lot in the Calla, do they? FUCK YOU KING


The WAY Callahan gets to Mid World is awesome, though. The idea of hidden highways in America fits in a bit with Greil Marcus Old Weird America idea, though of course in the DT universe that gets taken literally. Its just so appealing to me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:25 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


I only read the Gunslinger, but I can't picture it translating to video. What would you do? Half an hour of footage of a sprawling desert? Didn't Lawrence of Arabia do that already?

The story doesn't really have characters, just scenes.
posted by Net Prophet at 5:32 PM on July 19, 2011


FUCK YOU KING
posted by Sys Rq at 5:34 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


I read the first book. It didn't really make much sense. Like DU said it's all world-building and foreshadowing and leads to nothing really at the end. And it also seems like the world that's being built doesn't make much sense as a whole either. It's kind of like reading a long dream... it's as if King had taken a bunch of potential imaginary worlds and shattered them, gluing their shards onto construction paper into a twisted collage.

I keep reading this as criticism, but it's exactly what I've always loved about The Gunslinger. It's not, nor does it really pretend to be, a coherent world; it's an old, sick, senile delirium of a half remembered dream of a world swallowed up by time. I love all the casual asides in that book, like the droves of people fleeing to the east while Roland goes west; the image of "slow mutants" "growing" in the corners of the abandoned castle; the reference to cities in the east where complex technology still exists, but sometimes "eats" people; Brown's thoughts on the afterlife; the whole motif of the world "moving on," and the way none of the characters really seem to have the energy to acknowledge any of the strangeness.

Nonchalant weirdness makes me swoon.
posted by byanyothername at 5:49 PM on July 19, 2011 [30 favorites]


I always wanted more detail on the world. It was so cool! The nuclear powered robot, Blaine the Mono. How'd they get there? What happened?

Instead I got "omg have u guys heard of meta-fiction let me try it".
posted by GilloD at 6:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because its King, some people expect The Gunslinger to be horror. Because its called The Gunslinger and stars a Clint Eastwood type, you'd expect it to be a Western. But it's not exactly. Its part of a subgenre called Dying Earth (along with M John Harrison's Virconium books, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun, and Jack Vance's Dying Earth books). They're all about exhausted, mostly dead Earths that are long past any normal apocalyptic scenario. King drives that home during a brief detour into the world of The Stand. Captain Trips fucked up that world, but it was still filled with people trying to rebuild. Midworld is way beyond that.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [7 favorites]


The opening sentence to The Gunslinger may be the most functionally perfect narrative opener ever written in the English language. King is, regardless of his other nonsense, an consumate craftsman. Fortunately, he has no delusions of being anything other than a mere craftsman, which is apparent if you read the introduction to Different Seasons in which he describes himself as, "the McDonald's of literature."

Besides, now we're free to speculate on how totally awesome Viggo Mortensen would be as Roland!
posted by digitalprimate at 6:01 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


The WAY Callahan gets to Mid World is awesome, though. The idea of hidden highways in America fits in a bit with Greil Marcus Old Weird America idea, though of course in the DT universe that gets taken literally. Its just so appealing to me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn


Mr. Todd's Shortcut?

Say what you will about King, Skeleton Crew is filled with Gems.
posted by lyam at 6:01 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]




I always wanted more detail on the world. It was so cool! The nuclear powered robot, Blaine the Mono. How'd they get there? What happened?


The breaking of the Beams and the falling of the Tower meant that the structure of the world was decaying, so bits from other universes 'real' and fictional, were popping in. When they compare the Wasteland to Mordor that's not just a metaphor - its partly meant to literally BE Mordor. In addition, the world is a far, far, far future one. Technology has advanced and regressed several times.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:01 PM on July 19, 2011


Yeah the little world-building asides in Gunslinger were the best. The atomic-powered water pump at the way-station. The train terminal housing the dried-out husks of people in the aftermath of some nameless ancient cataclysm, the signal lights still blinking in the darkness. I just reread the book for the first time in about 15 years, and it holds up very well.
posted by killdevil at 6:04 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I bet this screeched right to a halt as they worked on The Drawing of the Three because Ron Howard, bless his heart, is just not a lobstrosity kind of guy.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Until Clint Eastwood is cast as Roland, I'm not interested.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:08 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I really, really wish my fellow analysts (mostly, ahem, British) would fucking read On Writing and stop their torturous use of the subjunctive mood, the subordinate clause and the passive voice. And don't even get me started on the adverbs! Lolly lolly with an AK.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:09 PM on July 19, 2011


Until Clint Eastwood is cast as Roland, I'm not interested.

Worst bit of the new books is how apparently Roland looks like King. NO. He looks like Unforgiven era Clint Eastwood, dammit.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 6:09 PM on July 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Clint Eastwood over Viggo...hmmm....I could go for that, but I'm thinking Clint would be better as the Walking Dude/Marten. Clint has the gravitas to pull that off.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:11 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Besides, now we're free to speculate on how totally awesome Viggo Mortensen would be as Roland!

Oh, no. I thought the choice of Bardem for the role was breathtakingly inspired. If you watch Xavier Bardem in No Country For Old Men, he's quiet, soft-spoken, world-weary, scarred and sad, slow-moving most of the time, yet the most fell creature that's ever walked the Earth. Unheroic, unsung, unloved, sullied. That's Roland.
posted by killdevil at 6:14 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


I'll be shouted down, but Kurt Russell is gettin' craggy enough, and you can't hardly fault his Western credentials.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:23 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


> Black House was freakin' amazing, had almost forgot about that. There's more planned in that storyline? I forget how it ends but I thought all the plot points were wrapped up.

I didn't like Black House, especially given how good The Talisman was. As for the conclusion, didn't the end of The Dark Tower take care of that plot?


It seemed more like the conclusion of Black House itself took care of that plot, since (tiny spoiler) Jack ended up passing on in this world and waking up in The Territories for good.

Interestingly, this same week Warner Brothers and CBS announced they would jointly be trying to tackle their own film adaptation of another one of Stephen King's books -- The Stand. Intrestingly, King doesn't think a single film will work -- and he may have a point. But then again, he didn't like Kubrick's adaptation of The Shining, either -- and instead endorsed a miniseries adaptation. ...Which, let's face it, kind of sucked in comparison (or, at the very least, Steven Weber sucked compared to Jack Nicholson). And that means, that since the miniseries adaptation of The Stand also was endorsed by King and also kind of sucked, then -- this is probably going to be good, no?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Roland is supposed to be the alter-ego of King, ergo he looks a little like King. He was never meant to be the "man with no name" popularized by Eastwood although the influence is definitely there.
posted by Renoroc at 6:28 PM on July 19, 2011


Well, I'll say this for the miniseries of The Stand -- at least Molly Ringwald didn't wear her Pretty in Pink prom dress.

Not that I've watched the whole thing a few times, along with 'Salem's Lot, though.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:31 PM on July 19, 2011


Man, I was looking forward to this (can you tell by the name) but honestly it could be a blessing in disguise...
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:35 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


@GilloD: Read the comics, they provide that backstory/info you're waiting for via filing in some plot blanks plus providing meta-information segments at the end of each comic.... plus they're really, really surprisingly good reads.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:45 PM on July 19, 2011


He lost his shot at happy and it's all your fault, Opie.
posted by hal9k at 7:27 PM on July 19 [1 favorite +] [!]


Hal9k had gone too far, and he'd best watch his mouth.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:00 PM on July 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also dammit, couldn't they just do the first three? It'd be perfect. Just have Blaine kill them all and bang, the end. And you'd have to work Flagg in there somewhere and everything would be fine. All I really want to see is Lud, anyway. It'd be like if Fallout 3 was set in NYC instead of DC. And had good dialogue.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also dammit, couldn't they just do the first three? It'd be perfect. Just have Blaine kill them all and bang, the end. And you'd have to work Flagg in there somewhere and everything would be fine. All I really want to see is Lud, anyway. It'd be like if Fallout 3 was set in NYC instead of DC. And had good dialogue.

Nah you can remove the Beams and have some bit of forgotten superscience in Lud that lets them save the Tower, only Roland has to sacrifice himself to get it to work. It also opens a rift, and the last shot of the series is Flagg jumping through to the world of The Stand, with Eddie, Jake, Sussanah and Oy in hot pursuit....
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:11 PM on July 19, 2011


Good. I disliked the series.
posted by who squared at 7:15 PM on July 19, 2011


Oh you damn people! Now I'm all missing E, J, S, and O and must go back and re-read the entire sprawling thing. I admire those of you who have the fortitude to quit a series partway through. Once I commit, it pretty much has to become The Human Centipede to make me stop before the last volume. FUCK YOU PROUST.
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:23 PM on July 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Quite a few of King's works make for good movies: The Green Mile, The Shining, Pet Sematary, Carrie, etc.

Then I remember the lousy movie adaptation of The Stand. GAH.

I love the Dark Tower series, but maybe it's better off where it is. It'll be difficult for any movie to express the nuances of the series well, and it won't encompass the scope of Dark Tower's connection in King's other works (such as Hearts in Atlantis).
posted by kensch at 7:43 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Universal, you have forgotten the face of your father.

Though to be honest, I feel like Dark Tower would be way better served as a premium cable series. The whole TV movies/feature film combo never made much sense to me.
posted by katyggls at 7:56 PM on July 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


This will give him more time to work on the Arrested Development movie!

From your lips to Gob's ear.
posted by Knappster at 7:59 PM on July 19, 2011


I wonder if the AMC The Walking Dead-type configuration (a multi-week "season") for each book) would work.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:07 PM on July 19, 2011


I wonder if the AMC The Walking Dead-type configuration (a multi-week "season") for each book) would work.

That's the only way it could. And only if they had a director who was willing to change stuff around - and King was willing to let that happen. It's got some cool stuff in it, but I think Tower is unfilmable (or should-not-be-filmed-able).
posted by codacorolla at 8:28 PM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't get it. I wanted to get it and was willing to plow on after King's pretentious literary masturbation at the end of Gunslinger, which would have been the perfect story without a bunch of garbage about Genesis and infinite universes in the atom. Then, I realized that Odetta/Detta was not only paint-by-numbers cinema crazy, but she's cinema crazy that's all about Roland and has a magical resolution in the end, and that's something I'm having less and less patience with.

It often has the feeling that he's putting on airs and trying too hard, as opposed to my fond memories of The Shining, It, and The Talisman which are epic and great. His autobiographical introduction probably spoiled it for me, as he lays out his lofty ambitions to be as grand and magical as A Fistful of Dollars and Lord of the Rings. This is missing the point because the first was a cheap spaghetti knockoff of Kurasawa that's often accidentally great, and the latter was a hobby that took off beyond Tolkien's expectations. Leone's self-conscious attempts to make the ultimate western peak with Good, Bad, Ugly IMO.

It's a shame because there really are some brilliant things in there buried under a lot of wink-wink-nudge-nudge Hey! This is literary because it's metafiction!
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:34 PM on July 19, 2011


If you look at the Dark Tower books as vehicles primarily for setting up some really bitchin' action scenes, they work fine. As a tightly-plotted epic where characters and elements seem to flow organically out of the story... not so much, particularly in the last three books, which were written post-near-fatal-accident and often seem to have to do more with King working through that than with creating a plot that isn't held together with chewing gum and baling wire. (There's an extended bit in the last book, for example, in which Roland seems to be teaching Susannah how to cure and tan deer hides using only primitive tools, which would be fine... except that, at the beginning of the third book, it's established almost as an aside that he's already done that.)

I think that it would have taken some heavy lifting to get it all squared away into something that would have survived both the large and small screens, but I don't think that it would have been an impossible task, and I still hope that we will eventually get to see some of those battle scenes. I'm glad that they're putting this in turnaround rather than doing it half-assed.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:12 PM on July 19, 2011


Maybe instead of tightening it up they should extend it. Make sure you hit all the emotional beats but turn the rest of it into a cross between Sliders, Supernatural and a horror/Western anthology show. Bring in as many other King stories as you can. Every episode either has some messed up little monster who needs shooting or a town with some sci-fi Western problem that needs fixing (and people who need shooting). It's a story about a guy wandering across an endless desert that stretches between worlds. You could do anything with that structure.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:35 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


What would you do? Half an hour of footage of a sprawling desert?

Quiet, Terrence Malick will hear you!
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:47 PM on July 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


If the powers that be can convince Gina Torres to play Susannah/Odetta/Detta, I might be convinced to watch a video version of the books. Even before I ever saw Firefly while I was reading the books, this is how I pictured the character in the books. Just with no legs, shorter hair, and a crazy side.

This is meant as a compliment to Ms. Torres.
posted by lilywing13 at 1:54 AM on July 20, 2011


Please, won't somebody think of Clint Howard?
posted by tommasz at 6:16 AM on July 20, 2011


Quiet, Terrence Malick will hear you!

What most people don't realize is that The Thin Red Line was supposed to be an adaptation of Wizard and Glass, but there was so much intercourse in that book! And I was listening to a lot of Green Day at the time. Things went kind of crazy!
posted by "Doctor" Terence Malick at 6:38 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


because Wizard and Glass is where i stopped reading. It just seemed like something was lost. It humanized Roland, but not in a good way.

I found Wizard and Glass the most interesting because of what it did to Roland. He ceased being this mystical Clint Eastwood/knight of the round table pastiche and revealed that underneath that was a horribly damaged, obsessive person who would let friends, lovers, and indeed whole worlds die if that made his path to the Dark Tower faster, easier, or even slightly more possible. In fact, in the depths of his obsession, Roland is potentially even a threat to the continued existence of the Tower - IIRC, there is an image in the book of Roland being willing to take a bulldozer to the Tower if it won't yield it's secrets to him.

There have been hints of this before - his sacrifice of Jake to continue the pursuit of the Man in Black in The Gunslinger stands out - but after Wizard, Roland becomes a danger to everything around him in his own right. That's what made the epilogue of the final book so interesting; the universe is basically saying to him "NO DUDE UR DOIN IT WRONG" again and again and again.

Roland is a time bomb of a character in the last three books, and I kept waiting for him to come unglued...he never does, but he's still wrong and broken, and as a result he keeps having to do it again.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:46 AM on July 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I loved the Dark Tower storyline until King ended one of the books with the riddle contest on the Blaine and then left the audience hanging for something like six years, at which point I sort of abandoned both him and his series.

I only just got back into reading it about two months ago, and now I'm in the middle part of the seventh (last?) book.

I'm glad I picked it back up, because the weird meta-narrative that started to include real live events and other King stories into the Gunslinger universe was a neat direction for it to take, but I'll be honest, I've been dreading the Ron Howard production since I heard it was being made.

I like Howard a lot, but like others have said, this is a franchise that is sprawling enough that I just didn't see a movie, or even a trilogy being capable of doing it justice. Only a good sized mini-series would have been able to explore the stranger and more interesting parts of that universe.

(I will say this though, the idea of the movie being made had me wracking my brain for who should play what character, and the only thing I've been able to nail down is Susannah, the more I read the description, the more I see Rosario Dawson in the part; beautiful, at once both young and old, sweet and terrifying, capable... it just seems tailor made for her.)
posted by quin at 7:50 AM on July 20, 2011


Yeah, I bet this screeched right to a halt as they worked on The Drawing of the Three because Ron Howard, bless his heart, is just not a lobstrosity kind of guy.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:07 PM on July 19 [1 favorite +] [!]


Yeah, but that's where Clint Howard comes in... he IS a lobstrosity kind of guy.
posted by FatherDagon at 8:25 AM on July 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think Jada Pinkett Smith could also pull off Susannah -- heck, right now she has her soccer moms of the world cheering section ready to stab her to death because her formerly saccharine character on that soapy HawthoRNe show adulterously banged Marc Anthony the other night.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2011


So, I've got a gift certificate to the local comics shop. Are the Dark Tower prequels any good?
posted by Zozo at 12:11 PM on July 20, 2011


It seemed more like the conclusion of Black House itself took care of that plot, since (tiny spoiler) Jack ended up passing on in this world and waking up in The Territories for good.

That's true, but didn't Parkus say something to the effect that Jack's work wasn't done and that he would be doing something important in the Territories?
posted by dave78981 at 10:30 AM on July 21, 2011


I think I read up to Wizard and Glass - which I recall *loving*. Then I sorta went out of my King phase for many years, and haven't really gone back to it. I should re-read the series now that it's done.
posted by antifuse at 11:55 AM on July 22, 2011


« Older A Canticle for Leibowitz (1981, NPR); an audio ada...  |  Orange sucking dog. [slyt]... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments