Just when you think studios are gonna zig, they zag. After a weekend in which audiences rejected "John Carter" and a year in which studios were tightening their belts and dropping expensive and potentially risky projects, one of the biggest of those aborted efforts may be kicking back to life.
As you'll recall, last summer Universal pulled the plug on Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's large scale plans for a grand adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" penned by Akiva Goldsman. The concept was to tell King's sprawling tale across three films, with a television series between each movie in order to pack in the full story. Worried about the budget, Universal eventually backed away but Howard and Grazer never gave up. In the fall, Grazer was positive it would still get made, and revealed they had cut the budget by $50-60 million, and he also added that HBO would take on the TV portion of the franchise.
So perhaps it's no surprise that the network's parent company Warner Bros. are close to signing a deal to land the movies, according to Deadline. The site reports that the project originally fell apart when Universal would only commit to one film instead of the whole series (something Universal denies). But it all seems to be coming together at WB. The big question mark right now is Javier Bardem, who was attached to play Deschain last year, though scheduling will need to be sorted out all over again. But given that Ron Howard is in the midst of "Rush" at the moment (and Bardem on "Skyfall") we don't think this would roll until late 2012 at the earliest anyway (our guess is 2013, in order to give this huge project the pre-production time it needs).
Will Bardem come back? You can bet everyone will want to make that happen. But otherwise, it seems all the ducks are now in a row, and "The Dark Tower" has been rebuilt.