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Producer Brian Grazer Says $40-50 Million Cut From 'Dark Tower' Budget Means "It's Gonna Get Made"

by Gabe Toro
October 23, 2011 11:45 AM
14 Comments
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Says Revamped Approach Gives The Movie A "Satisfying Ending"



EXCLUSIVE: Universal may have turned off the lights on "The Dark Tower," but producer Brian Grazer, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and director Ron Howard are still hard at work on developing the property. Universal's worry about the Stephen King adaptation stemmed not only from the mammoth cost, but also the unprecedented vision, with a planned three-film cycle coupled with a television series to bridge the events of each picture. Last we heard the search was for outside financing, and then team with a studio to distribute the film. But, if the project is massively downgraded in scope, will studios be more eager to jump aboard?

We spoke to Brian Grazer during the "Tower Heist" press rounds today, and while we could only score a few moments with the prolific producer, he did inform us that the budget has been shaved way back, possibly to the project's benefit. “We found a way to cut out $45 million out of the budget without changing the scope and actually giving it a good ending," Grazer said, suggesting a heavily re-worked approach. "In the $140 million draft, the ending wasn’t quite as satisfying. Now, we’ve got $45 million, $50 million out of the way and a really satisfying ending. It’s gonna get made.”

What isn't clear is if Grazer is talking about the first, or the only installment. Have they scaled back the budget to least get the first film out the door or has the vision been changed to focus on one story in the larger universe of King's eight book series? We're guessing with Grazer saying that they've done it "without changing the scope," it's the former rather than the latter.

And while we're not terribly familiar with the source material, but we do know King books and his adaptations tend to struggle with endings. However, "the end" is such a nebulous concept when discussing what's supposed to be a massive multi-platform offering. With Howard moving on to shoot "Rush" and currently involved with a host of other potential projects, there's no clear idea of when this will move forward even with Grazer's assurance that "it's gonna get made." But with Javier Bardem still attached in the lead role of Roland Deschain, and with a scaled down budget, financing will likely be much easier to pull together and perhaps we'll see "The Dark Tower" kicked back to life sooner than we thought.

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14 Comments

  • Draven | March 20, 2012 12:52 PMReply

    Please.. Do not make the movie (movies)! It says that there is already a change, "Satisfying ending"?? Who is Ron Howard to say if the ending was "satisfying" or not. You liked the ending or you didn't!
    I am sorry, Javier is NOT the right choice for Roland... As a girl, the last thing I see is "Long, Tall and Ugly". Rolands eyes are a KEY in the Tower and they are "Bombardier Blue".. Mordrid has the same eyes.
    The Tower needs to be left alone!

  • anne | November 1, 2011 8:30 AMReply

    I wonder who is going to be the young Roland on the tv series ,any guesses?...

  • Ryan | October 25, 2011 12:12 PMReply

    Happy to hear of movement forward on this project, sad that the Writer's own site (at this time) has nothing to say about the matter. If King is happy with Howard, so be the will of the King. Mortenson would be a better choice for the image of what most folks imagine for a Roland (me too), but I do believe Bardem will pull it off quite well.

  • aarons | October 25, 2011 10:24 AMReply

    Satisfying ending? The Dark Tower has the most depressing ending ever, that is why it is awesome. If they change the ending, they are fools.

  • mitchell | October 25, 2011 6:37 AMReply

    this is awful news. just when i thought i could be thankful ron howard wasn't going to be able to ruin the most badass fantasy series in fiction..

  • The Paki Don | October 24, 2011 9:34 AMReply

    Uhm... Roland is often called "Long, tall and ugly" in the books. He was handsome in his youth and let's be honest: Javier Bardem is NOT ugly. He CAN be, but that's because he's got a very special look that can go both ways with make-up.

  • Roland | October 24, 2011 8:58 AMReply

    Roland Deschain ------> Viggo Mortensen

  • Norm | October 24, 2011 8:07 AMReply

    hope they recast javier-roland is supposed to be attractive and javier is pretty hideous-yes, he will be on the tv show if it happens-roland is in all the books-the one prequel book-wizard and glass-is only a minor story and hardly enough to fill a tv series

  • Mike | October 24, 2011 5:53 AMReply

    Now that Ron Howard is busy, they can find someone suited to the material. Why couldn't the JJ Abrams/Damon Lindelof tv series adaptation have worked out? :-(

  • Aaron | October 24, 2011 5:44 AMReply

    @padre: no Javier won't be in the tv shows. From what I understand is that the tv show will be based on the books that focus on Roland's past. So the show will still focus on Roland, but it will be a much younger Roland played by someone else.

  • peeps | October 23, 2011 12:33 PMReply

    so basically, you didn't find out anything but pr speak from a producer.a

  • Kevin Jagernauth | October 23, 2011 12:26 PMReply

    I think I remember hearing at one point that the TV series would actually focus on secondary characters, not necessarily Roland Deschain. But I could be wrong.

  • padre | October 23, 2011 12:24 PMReply

    Now explain this to me in small words. Javier Bardem is going to film a TV show in between filming the movies? So he is effectively booked up for the next 7 years and basically will be doing ONLY this project for the next SIX OR SEVEN years? Barring quick indie stints or little face time in mainstream movies, and that is if he wants no vacation time for the next seven years. Time off means he does nothing but this project for the next half decade? Surely that can't be right. Someone explain this to me. We are talking network TV right? 22 one hour episodes, filming for 9 to 10 months out of the year?

    I don't get it.

  • jimmiescoffee | October 23, 2011 12:07 PMReply

    is it just me or does 'tower heist' remind you of a prison murder nightmare followed by a sharp stick in the eye?

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