At this point, it's hard to think of the Dark Tower film adaptation without thinking of development hell. The project's been developing for eight years, gone through three different studios and flirted with several different incarnations, including a combination of big- and small-screen adaptations. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, though. Back in April, Sony and MRC picked up the project and agreed to co-finance the first film in a planned Dark Tower series, with a possible TV element developing as well. Producers Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman, Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins were all still on board (Howard's been trying to get this off the ground for years), and Goldsman (who won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind) and writer Jeff Pinkner (Fringe) had written a new draft of the script. Things seemed to be looking up for The Dark Tower. Now there's another sign of progress.
Deadline reports that director and screenwriter Nikolaj Arcel is "the choice" to direct the first film for Sony and MRC, and "talks will begin shortly" in the hope that Arcel will both direct and possibly rewrite the film. Arcel isn't very well known to American audiences yet, but he's very much a rising star in Hollywood. He's best known at the moment for co-writing the original Swedish adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and for co-writing and directing the 2012 historical drama A Royal Affair (featuring breakout work by Hannibal's Mads Mikkelsen and Ex Machina's Alicia Vikander), which earned him a Silver Bear for Best Script at the Berlin Film Festival and an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. That led to Hollywood opportunities including an adaptation of Don Winslow's novel The Power of the Dog and a new adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca. Now he seems set to add The Dark Tower to his workload, too.
Arcel might not have much experience in the way of massive franchises at the moment, but he is a massive Dark Tower fan, so much so that he learned to read and speak English just so he could experience the book in writer Stephen King's native language. He's got lots of experience as a writer, he's proven his chops as a director, and he seems like a good choice to navigate the darker corners of King's universe. The big question is: Will this Dark Tower movie attempt actually go forward?