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Production on The Dark Tower was reportedly plagued by clashing visions

The Dark Tower Idris Elba

Even to someone who isn't all that familiar with Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series, the upcoming feature-film adaptation has felt somewhat lacking. Although I'm quite excited to see what Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey can do with the material, I just can't muster up much excitement for the rest of THE DARK TOWER, and it's possible that part of the reason may be that there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Variety has published a story which dives into the production of the Nikolaj Arcel film and paints a picture of clashing visions and confusing test-screenings.

Fans of the Stephen King series know all too well of the struggle to bring the epic to the big-screen, with filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard attempting and failing to get the potential franchise off the ground. THE DARK TOWER finally began to take shape when Media Rights Capital set the project up under a co-financing deal with Sony Pictures, and the specifics of that deal gave each company, as well as Stephen King himself, the power to veto anything they didn't like. Take it away, Variety.

Sources paint a more acrimonious picture of the production, one that was enabled by the unique nature of the deal that Sony struck with MRC — a pact that allowed competing power centers to emerge. The two companies split costs, and in return MRC was granted “kill rights” on everything from the marketing campaign to the final cut of the picture. If one company didn’t like a trailer or a cut of the film, it had to be scrapped, making it difficult to achieve consensus. It’s a rare type of partnership, with the kind of sign-off that few production companies enjoy. That led to a case of “too many cooks in the kitchen,” according to one insider. King also had a great deal of input. In return for the rights to his work, he retained veto approval of almost every aspect of the film.

Sony and MRC have been quick to squash any idea that THE DARK TOWER experienced production issues, but an early cut of the film apparently had Tom Rothman (Sony) and Modi Wiczyk (MRC) considering bringing in a more experienced filmmaker to recut it. Several test screenings last fall confirmed their worries, as the audiences apparently couldn't understand the mythology behind the world. Around $6 million was later spent on reshoots in order to fill in more of the backstory behind Roland Deschain's (Idris Elba) hatred of the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), as well as to better illustrate the film's magical setting of Mid-World.

All of this seems to indicate to me that much of the complexity of the story has been stripped away in order to better connect with audiences, but Tom Rothman seems to believe that the opposite is true. "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." I suppose we only have a few more days before we can find out for ourselves. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for something surprising.

The official synopsis for THE DARK TOWER:

There are other worlds than these. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

THE DARK TOWER will hit theaters on August 4, 2017.

Source: Variety

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