Director Mike Flanagan recently spoke about his potential series adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, including his belief that the 2017 film version may have poisoned his chances for a series.
Flanagan has made a name at Netflix making well-received horror series like The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass, and The Midnight Club. He recently began working under Amazon Studios on new projects for television, hoping to create a longer-form adaptation of King’s multi-volume work, The Dark Tower, which started with the first volume, The Gunslinger, in 1982. The 2017 film version, which served more as an additional sequel than a true adaptation, starred big names Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and seemed poised for success among King’s fans. The film’s failure, however, may have cooled Hollywood’s fervor for King-based stories.
Flanagan recently told the Script Apart podcast he believed the film’s failure may have torpedoed his chances of getting to make a Dark Tower streaming series. “[My Dark Tower adaptation] couldn’t be more different [from the movie],” he explained. “That was the wrong approach to the material, kind’ve across the board, and it was such the wrong approach that I think it kind’ve salted the earth for anyone else who wanted to plant something under the Dark Tower banner for who knows how long.” Flanagan acquired the rights to adapt King’s The Dark Tower last year, but momentum on getting the series into production at Amazon has slowed. “…they were able to overcome it for an Amazon [Studios] series that took another, different approach again – that is very different than the one I am proposing – and that didn’t get off the ground,” Flanagan added. “So that has also directly impacted…and I’m at Amazon!”
Flanagan referred to a lesser-known previous Amazon adaptation that created a single pilot episode in 2020 but was canceled before getting off the ground. Though its life was short, developing The Dark Tower series and shooting a single episode had cost Amazon significant time and money. “That’s my studio now for television, and I can understand going to them and saying ‘Hey, would you like to walk exactly down the same title that you spent all this money on, that you still feel bruised from.’ I understand the issues,” he said.
Flanagan is reportedly all ready to go with his vision for King’s work, with the first episode’s pilot script finished and plans for five seasons in mind. As the director of 2019’s Doctor Sleep, King’s follow-up to The Shining, and 2017’s Gerald’s Game, Flanagan is no stranger to adapting King.
Flanagan, who has successfully conquered the streaming horror series genre in recent years, has had less success with his film work, including Doctor Sleep, which faltered at the box office and may have cost Flanagan a potential HBO Shining prequel series focused on the famous Overlook Hotel. Despite smaller audiences, his literary adaptations, including Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Christopher Pike’s The Midnight Cub, and a forthcoming Netflix miniseries based on Edgar Allen Poe’s Fall of the House of Usher continue to win interest and acclaim in the streaming world. As for The Dark Tower? Time will tell.
MORE: Mike Flanagan’s The Dark Tower: An Explanation Of Stephen King’s Sprawling Fantasy Series
Source: Script Apart (via The Sci-Fi & Fantasy Gazette)