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Netflix Considering Picking Up Ron Howard's 'The Dark Tower'; Tate Taylor To Direct 'Joyland' & '11/22/63' Goes To TV

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist May 2, 2013 at 6:24PM

Projects never die, they either have momentum or they don't, and one particular, ambitious endeavour has already been kicked around and picked over, going through various ups and downs, is Ron Howard's "The Dark Tower." We'll try to keep this history brief.
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The Dark Tower Ron Howard

Projects never die, they either have momentum or they don't, and one particular, ambitious endeavour has already been kicked around and picked over, going through various ups and downs, is Ron Howard's "The Dark Tower." We'll try to keep this history brief.

The initial idea was to take Stephen King's epic, multi-novel story and tell it across three films, with a television series between each movie in order to pack in the narrative. Cool, right? Well, it's expensive and risky in this particular day and age, and Universal, having first dibs, passed on it in 2011. Then, Howard and producer Brian Grazer brought it over to Warner Bros. (who also happen to own HBO, that would handle the TV end) complete with Russell Crowe eyed for the lead and a reduced budget, but the studio also turned it down and that was the last we heard of it. Or is it?

Netflix, who are quickly becoming a cable channel (essentially) in their own right, may be willing to roll the dice. Speaking with Stuff, honcho Ted Sarandos revealed that he has already circled it. "I spoke to Ron about ['The Dark Tower'], actually. The last time we talked about it the thing was being kicked about HBO – but it’s no longer there. Once 'Arrested Development' gets through we’ll keep talking about it," he said. No word if there is still a feature film angle to the project, but it's intriguing nonetheless.

However, there is another key quote worth contemplating. Grilled about possibly reviving "Jericho," "Firefly," "Twin Peaks" and "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" -- which Sarandos more of less agreed to at least on theoretical level -- he cautions: "Let me give you one broad statement about these recovery shows. In almost every case the cult around the show gets more intense and smaller as time goes by. 'Arrested Development' was the rarest of birds in that the audience of the show grew larger than the original broadcast audience because people came to discover it years after it was cancelled," Sarandos explained. "The 'Firefly' fan is still the 'Firefly' fan from when it was on TV and there’s fewer of them and they’re more passionate every year. Whereas with 'Arrested Development' we’re going to be serving a multiple of the original audience. Any of the other shows we could bring back would be a fraction of the original audience."

Some food for thought.... Anyway, in other Stephen King adaptation news....

Deadline reports that "The Help" director Tate Taylor will adapt and direct the feature version of the upcoming novel "Joyland." The plot: "Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of a college student who moonlights as a carnival worker. There, he confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will forever change his life."

Meanwhile, though Jonathan Demme's mooted take on "11/22/63" fell apart, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot is going to bring it to TV as a series or mini-series. The massive 900-page book centers on Jake Epping, who travels back in time from the present to try to stop the assassination of JFK, by going to 1958 and starting a new life that will, he hopes, allow him to change the course of history. So, lots of avenues to pursue with that one.

This article is related to: The Dark Tower, Tate Taylor, Joyland, Ron Howard, NetFlix, Television, TV News, 11/22/63


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