Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.
Today is an interesting day of DARK TOWER non-news. Conflicting casting information that is actually not casting information as much as it's informed speculation. And it's the least interesting (and unfortunately most prevalent) kind of online journalism in the entertainment field, and there seems to be a wild sprint to get it up regardless of fact checking, etc.. So, amidst some new speculation from our friend Nordling, allow me to add some facts to THE DARK TOWER project—not so much about casting, but not unrelated to it either. Here's what Nordling writes:
Well, according to Deadline, Javier Bardem has been offered the role of Roland. If that's true, while I love Bale's work, Bardem's the man in my opinion. He'll bring that cold nobility to Roland that fans want to see. We'll know for sure in the coming days, and it looks like Bale was indeed in the running, but according to Mike Fleming, the role's Bardem's if he wants it. Stay tuned. I just hope WIZARD AND GLASS is done right.
Okay, this was reported, and I'm not doubting it's truth. That being said, when Ron Howard was in Chicago a couple weeks back promoting THE DILEMMA, we had an off-the-record conversation about THE DARK TOWER project, but it was him asking me most of the questions. And most of the questions were about casting, with very specific names being lobbed at me. I promised Ron I wouldn't reveal our conversation and I'll stick to that agreement. However, some of what he told me in confidence, he has since revealed in other places, so I think that's fair game now. But when the actor playing Roland is revealed once and for all, I'll be happy to detail the parts of our conversation that had to do with casting. But I will say that it was extremely clear to me that Howard had a favorite, because we spent the most time talking about him and Howard went into great detail explaining the why this particular actor would be perfect for the part. A convincing as hell case was made, from my perspective as someone who has read and re-read the Stephen King series several times.
One the record, Howard told me that the names that were being bandied about a few weeks ago (Bardem, Viggo Mortenson) were definitely people whose names were mentioned in meetings about casting. The subtext is that there were other names. At no point did Bale's name pop up in our conversation, on or off the record. Doesn't mean he wasn't a part of the discussion in casting meetings; he just wasn't brought up with me.
On to some non-casting things that need clarification. I believe it is Howard's intention to direct all three of THE DARK TOWER features, most certainly the first and second ones. In between the first and second film, will be a six- or seven-episode miniseries that will bridge the two features. I believe Howard plans on directing at least a couple of these episodes and closely overseeing the remaining parts (kind of the way Frank Darabont ran the show for "The Walking Dead"). Don't assume the movies and TV series to break where the books break, which would be impossible since there are seven books and only five sections to this project.
That being said, the television component between the second and third feature will be a full-length series (not sure if that means 12-13 episodes as cable tends to do, or a full 22-23 episodes on network, presumably NBC, although I wouldn't count that as a given). It's my understanding that this longer television section will basically cover the entirety of the flashback story of "Wizard & Glass" (the fourth DT book), which opens up an interesting prospect. Assuming that the cast of the series would be completely different from the movie cast (since the flashbacks cover Roland as a young man), this opens up the possibility that films two and three could be shot back to back or simultaneously, since the actors wouldn't be needed for the series. I haven't seen this idea written anywhere, and Howard never mentioned it, so I'm guessing (which, as you know, I hate). But with the idea of actors signing onto a multipart project, which would presumably take up two or three years of their life, the idea of shooting two features back to back has got to make the job more appealing.
The scripts are still being written, but I think Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, and a team that Howard referred to as his DARK TOWER task force, which I'm told includes Robin Furth, King's personal research assistant and co-creator of "The Dark Tower" comic books and "The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance, Volumes I & II," are on the right path. I certainly trust Furth to keep things honest.
I think I'll stop there. There's more to tell, but as more news comes forth, I'll say what I can. Until then, I'll walk along the beam like everyone else, and hope that a few actual facts come out in the days ahead. And now it's time to talk amongst yourselves…
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