The Dark Tower Still Going Ahead At Universal

For now, anyway… though some scaling down of the budget has proven necessary

Director Ron Howard’s film and TV adaptation of Stephen King’s multi-book Dark Tower fantasy saga could be moving forward after all, despite recent reports that Universal’s money problems could derail the project.

Universal’s financial difficulties recently forced the studio to abandon Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness . It looked like The Dark Tower might be going the same way, with the studio scrapping plans to start shooting this fall, but writer Akiva Goldsman is now rewriting the script to bring the budget down.

Goldsman wrote the scripts for four of Howard’s previous films, including adaptations of The Da Vinci Code and its follow up Angels & Demons . His other writing credits include Lost in Space , I, Robot , I Am Legend and the TV series Fringe (on which he’s one of the producers).

Although it’s unclear what effect the lower budget will have on the script, the plan is still to produce a trilogy of films and two TV series to fill the gaps between the movies. Howard is still signed to direct the first film and the opening episode of the TV show, with Goldsman writing the trilogy. Former Battlestar Galactica writer Mark Verheiden will serve on the TV series as a writer and executive producer. Brian Grazer, producer of the forthcoming Cowboys & Aliens as well as several of Howard’s previous films, will serve as producer on both the films and TV series.

In April, Javier Bardem signed on to play the central part of gunslinger Roland Deschain in at least the first film and TV series, but with filming now not expected to begin until February, it’s not yet clear if the delay will affect his involvement. The Walking Dead ’s Norman Reedus is also rumoured to be playing another gunslinger, Eddie Dean.

It is believed that Universal still hope to meet the first film’s original release date of May 2013.