The live-action adaptation of Stephen King‘s ‘The Dark Tower’ failed for fans, critics, and casual moviegoers and producer Ron Howard thinks he knows why. Firmly in the category of too little, too late, the famed director felt that the movie didn’t dig firmly enough into the horror foundation which it was built upon and the wrong character was placed in the spotlight.
Howard was recently promoting the documentary ‘Pavarotti’ on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast, and the film we all wish had been a blockbuster came up. While there were quite a few decisions which seem to have compounded the movie being a flop, there were two key components that he would have changed in retrospect:
“I think it should’ve been horror. I think that it landed in a place—both in our minds and the studio’ s—that it could be PG-13 and sort of a boy’s adventure… I really think we made a mistake not—I mean I’m not sure we could’ve made this movie, but I think if we could’ve made a darker, more hard-boiled look and make it The Gunslinger’s character study more than Jake. I think in retrospect that would’ve been more exciting. We always felt like we were kind of holding back something, and I think at the end of the day, it was that.”
I feel that both of these would have vastly improved ‘The Dark Tower.’ While the novels would focus on the secondary characters and stress their importance to the narrative, the story was always about Roland. Not Jake. Not Eddie. Not Susannah. Not Oy. It was about Roland.
A secondary idea that Howard has is that perhaps they should have switched the order of how they wanted to create the cinematic take on the franchise. We were told that there would be two films with television shows connecting them when perhaps the reverse would have been the best route to take:
“The other thing might’ve been to just straight-on tackle it as television first. Disappointing because I poured a lot of myself into it, and sometimes this happens on these projects where everybody’s best intentions—you’re all pulling in a direction, and then you sort of say, ‘Was that the right direction?’ And I wouldn’t say it was all compromise. I do think it was just a sense of maybe too much listening to what you think that the marketplace is calling for instead of the essence of what Stephen King was giving us.”
Thankfully, we’ll be getting an ongoing series about ‘ The Dark Tower’ on Amazon which can hopefully reboot the whole mess and we can pretend that the movie never happened.
Do you agree with Ron Howard that these were the two greatest mistakes with ‘The Dark Tower’? Share your thoughts in the comments below!