I realized I was a terrible person the day that Stephen King was hit by a van. Because my first thought was “Oh, no! Who’s going to finish the Dark Tower series?!” A man lay wounded, his career potentially over, but I was more disappointed that my reading fix wasn’t going to be satiated. I became aware that I had no soul. And so I became a film critic.
J.J. Abrams has announced that his next project after “Lost” and Star Wreck is going to be the Dark Tower series. When I heard the news, my initial reaction was, “Hmmph.” Now understand, I’m a “Lost” junkie, but as far as his other projects go, I couldn’t give a flying fuck at a rolling donut. I like Cloverfield all right, but so far his film adaptations have been a little sketchy at best. And Star Trek looks so painfully like “Felicity” on a spaceship, that I’m waiting for Kirk to sport a curly mane. [“Felicity” on a spaceship? Now I’m excited about it where I wasn’t before. — DR]
Stephen King adaptations are fiercely a coin flip. It’s either amazing (Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me, The Shining) or agonizing (Sleepwalkers, The Lawnmower Man, Stephen King’s The Shining). It either wins an Academy Award or a Razzie, there is no middle ground.
The Dark Tower series was the biggest fucking disappointment in the history of literature. The ending was the most massive cockblock since Brian Dunkleman was kicked off of “American Idol”. King didn’t just shit the bed, Annie Wilkes came and rubbed his face in the shit and made him write the last Misery novel in it. It was so bad, he warned people not to turn to the last chapter because they’d be disappointed. And they were. Universally.
The hardest part for the Dark Tower adaptations aren’t even going to be the casting of Roland, Eddie Dean, Jake or Susannah/Odetta/Detta/Bananafanana. That’s fucking child’s play. It’s going to be the presentation. Abrams hasn’t given word on whether its going to be a film, a trilogy, a television series or what have you. And that answer matters.
The Dark Tower is too massive to be one movie, that’s a given. Cramming seven books into a trilogy also wouldn’t work, because frankly where do you break it up? It’d be more trudging than the Lord of the Rings. Doing seven movies is right out, because like Harry Potter, the content doesn’t adapt itself readily to cinematic episodes. Plus, nobody would bother going to see Song of Susannah or The Dark Tower. Ever.
I think the only way to pull this off is on television. It can’t be a series, because again, they’d basically be doing what they did with “Lost.” Now, they could have fun fucking with the storyline, adapting other novels into the storyline with the greatest of ease. Imagine a guest appearance by Tim Curry as Pennywise? Dark Tower needs to be a miniseries, if they’re going to do it all. And it needs to be on cable. Sanitizing this for the popular audiences is a huge fucking mistake. Roland’s battle can’t be made PG-13. It’s bloody, vulgar, and epic. The only way this is going to work is by breaking it into maybe 13 parts and doing hour long portions, like John Adams.
That’s if they even make it. Which I don’t think they should do. At all. I’m kind of Abramsed out, myself. It’s great and all that his kid probably started to read Stephen King, and so now he’s going to do a movie on that, but really, why stir up bad memories? Nobody wants to be reminded how badly King fucked up his writing career? Plus, if you’ve read the novels, you know he’s gotta be involved. Unless they use his son.
Abrams hasn’t proven himself yet, but you know the ending to “Lost” can’t be any worse than the one to Dark Tower. If Jack woke up and discovered he was married to a small town ditty named Diane, if Sawyer bought a riverboat and partnered with the resurrected AnaLucia, if they all found out they were just Aaron’s dream and he was actually a spacebaby in the future who got into a coma. None of these would be worse that how the actual book ends. Even if King decided to retroactively redo the ending for television, I’d still be left with a bitter taste in my mouth.
Dada-chik, dida-chee. Your aim best be true, gunslinger.