There have been encouraging signs of life for Ron Howard's epic adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower lately, including the news that HBO has signed on for the TV end of the project. But don't get too excited. Even though things are looking up for The Dark Tower, Howard says it could take years for anything to get done.
In a new interview, Howard seems most enthusiastic about his current work in progress, the Formula One racing drama Rush, a film he picked up when The Dark Tower began to suffer setbacks. Rush wasn't the kind of film he was interested in making, until his Frost/Nixon collaborator Peter Morgan showed him a script, and he turned from epic fantasy to epic racing:
"Because these are fascinating characters—ballsy, masculine guys. It was a very dangerous era in racing, and here are two absolute individuals at the height of their powers. It makes for great drama and very exciting action. I wasn't a die-hard Formula One fan before I read Peter's script, but I've been immersing myself in this world. I think the excitement I feel as a fresh convert may be infectious."
When asked about The Dark Tower, Howard said script developments are still happening to make the story work with a new, lower budget, and that any recent news on the project that includes any hint of a release date makes him wince. When it comes to The Dark Tower, there seems to be no real timeline in place, and even as he's talking about the project, his thoughts still turn back to Rush.
"We are continuing to work on the script to find ways to make the budget more manageable and still deliver the work in a way that the project deserves. We were always racing and fast-tracking the project, so I always wince when I see something written about it and there's a release date in there. These kinds of projects often take years to come together in the right ways. But I am in love with the material, and the minute it can come together in the right way, I am fully committed to it. Rush was kind of like a gift. I love stories that center on fascinating characters, and here you have psychologically complex, rare human beings, and they are also young and cool—and it's all in this unbelievably glamorous, sexy period in the mid-'70s. And yet, in terms of emotion and the heartbeat of the story, I think they will be very relatable. If you don't know anything about Formula One, I'm going to present it in such a way that you'll very likely fall in love with it. If you do know Formula One, I'm going to be very respectful and deliver a film you'll love, too."
While this means we might not see any real results from The Dark Tower for a good while, there also might be an encouraging way to look at this. Which would you rather have, a rushed adaptation that's mediocre or a patient adaptation that's really great?