The feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower will arrive in hitting theaters this weekend, though translating the story from page to screen has allegedly been an arduous experience. Now, a report by Variety details the setbacks the project endured throughout post-production caused by dueling creating visions for the film.
According to the outlet’s sources, director Nikolaj Arcel’s early cut of The Dark Tower prompted Media Rights Capital co-founder Modi Wiczyk and Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman to consider enlisting an experienced filmmaker to recut the film. Insiders claim that Rothman spent several hours in the editing room to offer his advice, though both he and Wiczyk reportedly deny the assertion that they consider bringing a second director and that their input consisted solely of offering Arcel notes. The outlet’s sources claim that Arcel was “in over his head” as the director had never worked on a project of this scale before.
Audiences at test screenings held last October reportedly had a difficult time following The Dark Tower‘s mythology and responded to the unfinished cut poorly. While Media Rights Capital and Sony Pictures decided against hiring a second director, the outlet’s sources claim executives from both studios remained extensively involved in the project, including producer Ron Howard. Howard reportedly offered Arcel input on the music while co-writer and producer Akiva Goldsman helped the craft the final film.
Arcel stated that he was not removed from the post-production process:
“On a film with two studios and powerful producers, obviously there is much passionate creative debate on how to work certain ideas or beats, but I felt supported throughout, and they all looked to me for answers. If someone had jumped into my editing room and taken over — I would have left instantly.”
With Rothman reportedly saying he hopes to work with Arcel again in the future, Wiczyk commented on the claims of a troubled production:
‘We shot this on time and on budget. We didn’t go over our schedule by even a day. […] We would never marginalize or remove a director or dare to edit a film.”
However, the outlet’s sources claim production was contentious as the deal between Sony and MRC granted the latter company “kill rights” in exchange for splitting production costs. As a result, if one of the companies disapproved of the marketing material for the film or a cut of the project, the content in question would have to be discarded. With Stephen King retaining veto approval on nearly every aspect of the film in exchange for the rights to the material, an insider described the situation as a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen.”
Both Sony and MRC reportedly admit the structure of the source material was difficult to adapt into a feature film and spent $6 million on reshoots to provide more backstory on the animosity between Iris Elba and Matthew McConaughey’s characters. A new scene was also shot to replace five minutes of exposition in order to provide audiences with a better understanding of magical setting of Mid-World.
Rothman commented on the films complicated structure, believing audiences will connect with the film as a result:
“It’s a fantasy film and so yes, it’s complicated; it’s intricate and ambitious, but that’s a good thing because with the complexity of the stuff on television now, theater audiences want ambition.”
While fans may be concerned over the claims of a troubled production process, the film is reportedly tracking to open in the mid-$20 million range and Stephen King responded to the film by praising Arcel in an email that read, “You have remembered the faces of your father.”
Are you excited to see the film or are you concerned by these reports? Share your thoughts below!
Directed by Nikolaj Arcel, the film stars Matthew McConaughey, Idris Elba, Jackie Earle Haley, Tom Taylor and Katheryn Winnick.
The Dark Tower will be released in theaters on August 4, 2017.
Stephen King Adaptations Hollywood Needs To Get Right
With The Dark Tower and It, two of King’s most famous and beloved works, reaching the big screen, it feels like the gates are opening on a new age of Stephen King adaptations
Already we’ve seen 1) a new Carrie movie, 2) Under the Dome and 11/22/63 get TV adaptations 3) Netflix’s upcoming Gerald’s Game, 4) a TV series based on the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, 5) Josh Boone looks to make Revival his follow-up to X-Men: The New Mutants, 5) a new version of Hearts in Atlantis is in the works (just called Hearts) and 6) a Cujo remake, with the amazing title of C.U.J.O. Even Cell got made, plus a personal favorite of mine The Mist is back in the form of a new Syfy series airing later this year (based on both the original novella and Frank Darabont’s superb 2007 film).
Our age of cinematic universes feels tailor-made for the world-renowned author. King is known not only for his productivity but for how his stories interlock together in the same universe (multiverse, if you want to get specific). His entire oeuvre is connected by characters, locations, and events, all centered around the literal and figurative Dark Tower, the structure and book series sit at the center of King’s worlds. Of course, no one entity owns the rights to all of King’s works, so we won’t be seeing, say, Pennywise the Dancing Clown say hi to Idris Elba’s gunslinger in a movie anytime soon, but it speaks to King’s continued relevance.
There are, of course, the adaptations that are sacrosanct and need to no update, plus others where we are simply waiting to see if they happen. Speaking of Darabont, he delivered a trilogy of amazing King adaptations in my opinion between The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. Rob Reiner also mastered the artform, giving us Stand by Me and Misery. There’s already a perfectly-good The Dead Zone movie and TV show. The Tommyknockers and Desperation got the miniseries treatment in 1991 and 2006, respectively. The latter came with a teleplay by King himself, while the former was announced for a new miniseries back in 2013 along with Rosemary’s Baby, the failure of which may have something to do with the radio silence since the announcement. The Shining is actually not one, with King famously disliking the Stanley Kubrick film enough to make a miniseries of his own to “correct” the record (and a Shining prequel is first on our list).
While some works defy or seek re-adaptation, the breadth of the man’s work means there’s plenty of new stuff to mine in the coming years as well. Click Next to learn which to watch out for!
Honorable mentions: The Dark Half, Dolores Claiborne, Apt Pupil, Dreamcatcher