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.