I guess Christian Bale's front-runner status evaporated as soon as we reported it, as Ron Howard has decided who he wants to play the Gunslinger in his movie-TV juggernaut. The question is, will Javier Bardem say yes?
See, the thing is, Deadline is reporting that Bardem was offered the role, but that the Oscar winner (and freshly minted nominee) hasn't said yes. He'd be a solid fit for what Howard has described as his Lord of the Rings:
"What Peter [Jackson] did was a feat, cinematic history. ... The approach we're taking also stands on its own, but it's driven by the material. With this story, if you dedicated to one medium or another, there's the horrible risk of cheating material. The scope and scale call for a big-screen budget. But if you committed only to films, you'd deny the audience the intimacy and nuance of some of these characters and a lot of cool twists and turns that make for jaw-dropping, compelling television."
The plan would be for Bardem to star in all three films and the first season of the TV series. Another actor would star in the second season, playing a younger version of Roland Deschain. And it makes sense for Bardem, as The Dark Tower is the perfect project to launch him onto the A list, without sacrificing quality to get there.