Stephen King's "Dark Tower" in new hands

Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:14pm EDT
 
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By Borys Kit and Jay Fernandez

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company, which has long sought to crack Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" book series as a television series, no longer has the rights to one of the author's biggest properties.

Bad Robot has returned the rights to the best-selling author. Now Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman are teaming up to tackle the fantasy Western.

The three are in discussions to adapt the material as a movie, to be written by Goldsman and directed by Howard, that would lead to a TV series produced by Imagine's small-screen division.

"Tower" is not set up for production, nor has any option deal been made, but insiders say Universal, home to Imagine, would be the studio that will release the movie.

That would be a contrast to the vision drawn up by Bad Robot, which had been eyeing its potential series as a reunion with "Lost" executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Because of the comprehensive nature of the project, the creators wanted to wait until "Lost" was over to give it their attention. When they realized they wouldn't be able to do an adaptation justice, they gave the rights back to King.

King's magnum opus, "Tower" encompasses not just a narrative about the Man in Black and Roland, the Gunslinger, that spans seven lengthy books (and one short story), but also the entire universe of King's fiction. Characters from his other novels flit in and out of "Tower" in minor and major ways.

Envisioned when King was still in his teens as his own take on spaghetti Westerns and the world of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," "Tower" has spawned a series of graphic novels from Marvel Comics, with the latest issue hitting shelves May 19. The property's expansive nature and direct connection to King's other works make it one of the biggest, ripest franchise possibilities in entertainment.