The Dark Tower movie rears its head again


#141

I always got the impression that Roland's post-Gilead quest was hundreds if not thousands of years in length, but just time and age didn't work the same way because of how wonky reality was getting. It wasn't until he formed his new ka-tet that anything started to really take form in any sensible manner again.


#142

Per Rhinohelix, we're all right and we're all wrong. I read the original (and even stalked the real original back when it was the ultimate King mystery book) and had Roland as youngish before the nap on the beach, and thus forty or so at that point. I didn't know King had revised it. In my narrative Roland is middle-aged or maybe a bit late middle-aged, but still vigorous and a badass in all meaningful ways.

H.


#143

Thanks for checking on what my lazy ass couldn't Rhino. :-)


#144

More details.

Viggo Mortensen, yes. Javier Bardem? I dunno.


#145

I really don't like Viggo as Roland. Doesn't have the voice for it, and he's too closely identified with Aragorn, at least for me. King flatly states that Dark Tower is his Lord of the Rings, so maybe it would be wise to keep the primary cast of Lord of the Rings out of it. Between those two I cast my (meaningless) vote for Bardem.


#146

I dunno about Mortensen's voice (seems fine to me), but I don't think a Spanish accent fits anyone's idea of Roland.

As with LotR and The Road, Mortensen is one of the few actors I can think of with the gravitas to pull this off. He's a good fit for projects like this.


#147

I just think Viggo speaks through his nose too much. Roland needs more gravel.

As for the accent, Roland has one. Not Spanish, of course, but he has trouble pronouncing several English words correctly throughout the series, such as "aspirin." Have Bardem adjust his accent a bit and you've got something suitably alien (to an American English speaker) for a man of Gilead.


#148

Viggo doing Roland like he did Lucifer would work for me.


#149

I don't think that's meant to be an accent. I always thought it was showing that certain words had changed / been forgotten due to the world having moved on.


#150

There's a scene in the later books where Eddie is trying to get Roland to say "hoagie" correctly, and although Roland gives it a couple tries he can't manage to pronounce it right, indicating he does have some type of accent beyond changes/forgetfulness/moving on.


#151

You make a good point, but in a movie this would be off-putting and an unimportant detail that will probably make most movie goers ask “why is he talking funny?”.

In fact, the series in unfilmable. I’ve read it and everything SK has written, and about 99% of what he writes is unfilmable as is. The problem is, SK is powerful enough now to demand his movies be faithful to his books. Example: Kubrick’s [B]The Shining[/B] everyone remembers (which King hated, BTW). King’s TV movie The Shining starring the guy from Wings, nobody remembers, but it was a literal version of his book.

The mistake producers make is to read SK, and because it reads LIKE a movie (even the paragraphs in SK books are like editing rhythms in movies), and so rich in detail and description, they are tempted to try to shoot the movie right from the book. Ever see [B]Dreamcatcher[/B]? The plot made a kind of surreal sense in the book. On screen, it was a horrible mess even in the hands of capable people. I fear The Dark Tower will suffer the same fate, especially in the later books where King is firmly in his surreal phase (and still is).


#152

So what? He isn't from our here and now, who cares if he talks funny? I don't remember anyone giving Daniel Day Lewis shit every time he busted out a new accent in stuff like Gangs of New York and that oil tycoon movie.

In fact, the series in unfilmable. I've read it and everything SK has written, and about 99% of what he writes is unfilmable as is.
Obviously.

The problem is, SK is powerful enough now to demand his movies be faithful to his books. Example: Kubrick's The Shining everyone remembers (which King hated, BTW). King's TV movie The Shining starring the guy from Wings, nobody remembers, but it was a literal version of his book.
I've never been a fan of King's movie work, and I really don't dig his taste in horror movies (or his thoughts on how they should play out, and I disagree with just about everything he says about Kubrick's Shining).

The mistake producers make is to read SK, and because it reads LIKE a movie (even the paragraphs in SK books are like editing rhythms in movies), and so rich in detail and description, they are tempted to try to shoot the movie right from the book.
None of this has really bothered me. My problem with King's books as they get translated to the screen is that most of his important characters come across really shitty and cheesy on screen unless there's a good director/screen-writer to help keep the actors from looking and sounding like actors under ten pounds of hokey pokey costume and yuckity smuckity wittisms. Although Kathy Bates could pull this shit off, it is almost impossible to keep dialog like this in most films.

Ever see Dreamcatcher? The plot made a kind of surreal sense in the book. On screen, it was a horrible mess even in the hands of capable people.
Yea saw it, hated it. There are few King movies I enjoy. I'm a fan of his books first, movies a distant second. When they're good they're great, when they're bad they're the worst I've ever seen.

I fear The Dark Tower will suffer the same fate, especially in the later books where King is firmly in his surreal phase (and still is).
I'm not kidding myself into thinking Ron Howard is capable enough of making sense of the mess called The Dark Tower series. Whether or not the films would be better or worse off without King's influence isn't really for me to say, all I can do is look at Ron Howard and repeatedly wonder who the fuck dreamed that one up.


#153

kerzain, I agree with what you posted.

King's books and stories have a palpable tone to them, which rarely makes it to the screen. The closest was the Salem's Lot miniseries (at 184 minutes), which was long enough to cover most of the details of the novel, itself short by King's standards.

I think Howard can do it. He's not such an auteur that his style will eclipse the story (like in Christine) but he does know how to make technically complex movies on the level of Jim Cameron.


#154

Like what?


#155

Apollo 13


#156

Okay, leaving aside the argument of whether Apollo 13 qualifies as something on the same level of complexity as a James Cameron film, that's one movie. One 15 year old movie. One 15 year old movie that predates nearly every modern effects/tech advancement used in modern big budget films. And is also based on real events and takes place in the real world, as opposed to based on a tremendously surreal and complicated Stephen King novel series.

I think I'll remain in the "this is gonna blow" camp for now.


#157

One of my major concerns is that the producers of the movie are going to make one huge mistake: Telling the audience too much too fast.

One of the things that works best about the earlier novels is that they do a good job of playing keep away with the how and the why's of it all (aside from the info dump at the end of book 1). It took several novels for a lot of the mystique about the world(s) of the Dark Tower to be explored, and I can't help but think the producers are going to feel obligated to 'help' viewers make sense of it all by (not dumbing it down, exactly) splurging on the spoilers/info dumps to keep casual audiences interested.

If they can pace themselves similar to the first few seasons of Lost, or The X-Files (using TV as an example since these movies will be split between big and small screen productions), I think they'll do a better job of creating something special.

Its unfortunate that viewers who are unfamiliar with the world of the Dark Tower can simply buy and read the books if they want their questions answered (or read online wikis), and I have a feeling producers are going to be trying extra hard to keep these people interested in the tv/movies (at the expense of tension and pacing), rather than having all their questions answered somewhere else, and tuning out if they decide they don't like the way things turned out in the books.

I wouldn't mind, however, if they skip/dramatically alter stuff like the 'house eats Jake' scenes entirely. I've never really been into King's fear of inanimate objects (like topiary garden animals, buildings, cars) attacking people. Because he draws from his own fears when writing these specific types of encounters, it never feels like he's trying to scare the audience so much as himself -- and I can't think of anything translating more poorly to a film than a demonically possessed house. It works in b-movies, but I only want to laugh at b-movies.


#158

Yes, this is possibly the biggest pitfall a Dark Tower adaptation faces. For an excellent example of this error, see the opening narration of The Golden Compass.


#159

That’s a pretty lousy analogy. No one’s giving an actor shit for busting out a new accent; we’re (well, some of us) are saying that an actor who hasn’t proven he can speak in anything other than a heavy Spanish accent isn’t right to play Roland.

So Howard should cast Daniel Day-Lewis and figure out what kind of accent he should have for this movie. Dollars to donuts it won’t be Spanish.


#160

I know, maybe he picked up an accent in Barony of Mejis (mexico).