So it happened again.
It sure did.
About two weeks ago, the internet broke. Yep, it broke. AGAIN. Really, the internet can be fragile sometimes. Although luckily, I think it responds to duck tape. And maybe even Krazy Glue.
Usually, anything that breaks the internet is not something I care much about. I’m just not that much into Miley Cyrus and her twerking. Or Kim K butt pics. Or what color that dress really is…its just ugly, period!
But this time, I cared. It may be one the few rare times during the long period I have graced this planet with my existence (37 years in June, actually) but I found myself actually caring about what broke the internet. And I may have actually contributed to the breakage, although I think my contribution amounted to no more than a virtual greenstick fracture.
As we all know, I am obsessed with Stephen King. I have read nearly all of his books. In particular, I am obsessed with The Dark Tower series.
Yes, obsessed. And I mean OBSESSED as opposed to obsessed. I am a member of multiple Facebook fan pages for Stephen King and The Dark Tower series. I am even an admin for two of these pages (could we really get any nerdier? Wait, that is a rhetorical question, not a challenge!) I have made so many new friends through these pages, and even had the opportunity to interview Mr. King’s right hand lady of The Dark Tower series. I constantly draw and create other forms of artwork inspired by The Dark Tower series.
Oh, and I created this blog, which has a few entries on King and his works.
So, its safe to say I am a Constant Reader or CR for short (which I will call myself from now on, since that sounds a little nicer than COFG, which stands for Crazy Obsessed Fan Girl).
So, I am passionate about The Dark Tower series. Very few works have touched me in the manner that this series has, and it will remain my favorite fantasy series of all time. It is powerful, and simply inspiring.
And like all other fans, I can’t get enough. I read the comics inspired by the series. And I read books about the series, such as The Road to the Dark Tower, The Dark Tower Companion and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance (both volumes!) written by Bev Vincent and Robin Furth, respectively. And any time a new King books is released, I have my hands on it and my nose buried in it, looking for any connection, no matter how remote, to what King has called his magnum opus.
But there is one thing I have not had the pleasure (?) of being able to do. Batman fans have had it. The Lord of the Rings fans have had it too. Even Twilight (*shudder*) fans have had it.
Yes, that’s right. The Dark Tower has never been made into a movie. Not even an animated one (we will talk more about that later, as a matter of fact). So many King books have been adapted into films (with varying degrees of success). But not The Dark Tower. This short film is the closest thing we have is this adaptation, which is actually a pleasure to watch and totally worth the few minutes of your time that it will take. But, again, that is closest thing we had for a screen adaptation of The Dark Tower series.
Sony Pictures has announced that it has acquired the rights to The Dark Tower series, aka Stephen King’s magnum opus, which spans eight full length books so far, along with a couple of related short stories.
Cue the loud crashes and squealing right about here. That would be the sound of the internet breaking.
And the reactions have been interesting, to say the least. Many are excited. For years, fans have been strung along with the promise of a movie, but that promise has never been delivered. The last bit of news we received on a potential Dark Tower movie was in July of 2011, when it was announce that Universal Pictures had scrapped the plans for the movie, although director Ron Howard assured fans that he was still attached and this movie would be made one day.
And of course, the naysayers. Saying it can’t be done, despite the success of franchises such as The Hunger Games and The Lord of the Rings. However, my personal favorite is the fan who says that no Dark Tower movie should ever, EVER be made, as that will ruin the books! Apparently, I am clueless, because a bad movie adaptation (Running Man and Lawnmower Man, we are talking about you, cough, cough) somehow changes the source material, making all of us unable to ever read said source material ever again, because, well, film adaptations are just magical like that and have the ability to somehow magically re-write books, DAMMIT!
So, everyone has an opinion. Including me. And now I have this blog that I created just for the express purpose of having super nerdy discussions, so let’s have one in regards to this controversial topic that has caused so many heated discussions in internet land, perhaps being responsible for many a virtual earthquake (or perhaps a Beam-quake, in this case).
Can this even be done? Can such a complex story be translated on to the screen, and make a good movie? More importantly, should it even be done? After all, we will always have the books!
One of my favorite fantasy series as a child (before I was lured into the world of Roland Deschain and his friends) was The Lord of the Rings trilogy, along with The Hobbit. I read these books many times, and watched the animated version of The Hobbit more than a few times. And I pined for live action movies, figuring they would never happen in my lifetime.
Then I hit my 20’s. I picked up some magazine one day, and lo behold, saw an article stating that all three books in said trilogy would be movies. Live action movies. So I marked my calendar. I was so excited. And I was right to be excited. All three movies lived up to my expectations. I especially enjoyed Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers…I mean, Ents! Ents fighting! It was bad ass! One of the most iconic scenes in the books had been given justice. And I sighed in nerdy ecstasy…
My point is that The Dark Tower is not the only complex fantasy series in existence. And complex fantasy series (see above paragraph) can successfully be made into good or even great motion pictures. Our technology has advanced even more since the release of The Lord of the Rings movies, and anyone who makes movies can do astounding things in regards to special effects. And the stigma of movies being too long (longer than 100 minutes) is slowly starting to fade…just look at the success of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, which clocks in at well over two hours. If it is done well (and I believe a director like Ron Howard is perfectly capable of this), people don’t care about the length, and will not be intimidated at the thought of sitting in a theater for over two hours. Some movies are just that good.
And let me reiterate: to me, nothing will ever top a book. If I am given the choice, I will almost always choose the book (see the paragraph above the cute kitty meme). But I still want a Dark Tower movie. Think of it like this: I may like steak, and it will always be my favorite, but there is no reason why I can’t have fish or seafood for dinner some nights. After all, I can’t just subsist on steak, and I need some variety in my diet. In other words, I need movies every now and then, along with books. And I want to see my favorite characters come alive, and have them move me onscreen like they do on the page. I want to see the fantastical landscapes I have been imagining in my head all these years. I want to see what special effects can do to a story.
Most importantly, I want to be able to share the experience of The Dark Tower. My husband is awesome and wonderful and the best husband in the world, but he is not a reader. I have been talking about this series from almost day one (this statement should bring any single person new hope. If a nerd like me can find someone, there really is someone out there for everyone). But he watches movies. And many others are the same way. So if this movie can turn more people on the awesomeness otherwise known as The Dark Tower series, then I fully support it. The fact that a Dark Tower movie may make my conversations at parties more relevant and less boring is just an added bonus.
Who should be cast? The only person who can play Roland is Clint Eastwood! Even King himself has said this!
First of all, much respect to Clint Eastwood. If I wore a hat, I would take it off to the man. He deserves every single accolade that he has received. The man is an icon, pure and simple.
But, he is in his 70’s. He may be an icon, but he is still an old icon. And King did base the character of Roland and the entire setting of the series off of characters played by Eastwood, and also off of the spaghetti westerns he grew up watching as a child. However, this does not mean that Eastwood should play Roland. Plenty of actors would be able to bring the grittiness that is needed to pull off a character like our friendly neighborhood gunslinger.
Likes Timothy Olyphant. I could readily envision him as a cold blooded man who will do whatever it takes to reach his tower. The fact that Olyphant already plays a cowboy (or a cowboy-like character) on a popular TV series is just an added bonus.
Or Hugh Jackman. Jackman has proven acting chops, and also seems to be able to bring that grittiness needed for Roland. And he is also pretty easy on the eyes. Speaking of eyes, I am aware that Roland’s are blue and neither one of the actors I have mentioned so far have blue eyes. However, that is why contact lenses were invented.
Ok, I am done talking about Roland. I love Roland to death, but I also love a lot of the characters that many would be considered “minor” in the series, although they all play a huge role. So I happen to think the casting of these characters is almost as important as Roland.
Like Nort. Nort is the best undead junkie in literature, and I would love to see him cast properly, and for someone to really put his heart and soul into this character and bring him to life on the big screen.
Someone like Kurt Sutter, possibly. Nort is a creepy, frightening guy, and Kurt Sutter has proven experience in the creepy and frightening department via his character Otto on Sons of Anarchy. So it is no stretch (at least for me) to imagine Sutter cast as an undead junkie.
Jack Mort aka The Pusher is another iconic, although relatively minor, character in this series. And I hope that he is cast properly. My pick for Jack Mort is Tom Arnold. Again, I am basing this on a performance from the show Sons of Anarchy (yeah, I’m a little obsessed, I admit it). Arnold’s character Georgie Caruso was sleazy, conniving and even pyscho at times, which makes him perfect for the role of Jack Mort, another sleazy, conniving psychopath.
And now, let’s talk again about main characters. More specifically, the role of Susannah Dean (along with Detta Walker and Odetta Holmes, for that matter). Susannah is a main character and plays a huge role in the series. And she is a woman who is also African-American. The tides are slowly turning, but the roles for women, let alone women of color, are still limited. This is especially true in the fantasy and sci fi genre. I love that King chose to make this character a woman of color, and it is VERY important to me that she be cast properly. Hollywood has a chance to help someone shatter some more glass ceilings and break some more ground. Lupita Nyong’o is my choice for Susannah. Her acting chops are proven, and I believe she could pull the role of Susannah, who is an extremely complex character (she suffers from mental illness and was also involved in the civil rights movement in 1960’s New York). She is also beautiful and charismatic. Perfect, in other words.
What about Oy? And Jake? Won’t he age out? And the flashbacks? How can we possibly handle those?
CGI. There, I said it…shudder. While I believe that CGI is overused much of the time (Jupiter Ascending…cough, cough…ahem), I think it is the perfect answer for the question on how to bring Oy to life on the big screen. And likely the only way to bring Oy to life on the big screen. We may still need to cast a voice actor for Oy (he is a talking critter, after all) but CGI will actually provide most of the solutions and create a convincing character.
If you have made it this in reading this post, then congrats. Also see the paragraph above the awesome Game of Thrones meme. More specifically, the line about animation.
That’s right, animation. I believe that animation could be a viable medium for bringing The Dark Tower series to life.
Ok, clean up the coffee or other beverage of your favorite choice that you may have spit all over your keyboard after reading the above paragraph, and let’s talk about why animation is in fact a viable to choice to bring Stephen King’s magnum opus to life.
Animation actually solves a couple of problems. First of all, Jake Chambers is 11 years old when the series starts, and it seems he remains 11 years old for the remainder of the series. The movies (as we all know there will need to be multiple movies in order for this to work) will probably take at least a couple of years to film, even if they are filmed simultaneously in the same manner as The Lord of the Rings. This presents a problem, as most 11 year old children grow and change rapidly (damn pesky puberty). So it is possible that the actor who plays Jake could age out of the role. However, if the series is animated, that problem is solved. Animation would allow Jake to remain 11 throughout the story, keeping that particular part of the story intact.
The Dark Tower series also contains a ton of flashbacks. Wizard and Glass is one long flashback. Much of The Gunslinger also consists of flashbacks. While flashbacks are awesome in books, they can be problematic in live action movies. However, flashbacks can actually blend in very well in animated movies. Animation may even be the preferred method of medium to tell certain back stories (such as Roland’s time in Meijis) or to possibly even bring to life the Dark Tower comics. After all, bringing more Dark Tower related material into existence cannot possibly be a bad thing.
My opinion. There you have it. Whether you wanted it or not, I have brought it to you via this blog post. And please, keep in mind that opinions are like assholes: we all have them. And I am entitled to mine, just like everyone else (to theirs as well as mine). And I am greatly looking forward to see what, if any, of my ramblings on this post come to fruition over the next several months or years. I am hopeful that this endeavor will be successful, but to quote many a wise person before me: Only time will tell. In the meantime, stay tuned for more news and posts regarding this endeavor.