The Dark Tower: Mike Flanagan Wants Crack at Adapting King Series

While Warner Bros' Doctor Sleep (2019) didn't do as well as hoped for, Mike Flanagan, the director, and writer has hopes for another Stephen King IP in The Dark Tower. While promoting his latest project, The Haunting of Bly Manor for Netflix, Flanagan spoke to SyFy Wire about his other horror projects. In addition to the sequel to The Shining (1980), Flanagan also earned praise for his adaptations of King's Gerald's Game (2017) and The Haunting of Hill House for Netflix.

shutterstocMike Flanagan at the US premiere of "Doctor Sleep" at the Regency Village Theatre. Editorial credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.comk_1545137285
Mike Flanagan at the US premiere of "Doctor Sleep" at the Regency Village Theatre. Editorial credit: Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

The 2017 Dark Tower starred Idris Elba as Roland, the gunslinger, and Matthew McConaughey as Walter, the man in black. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel and co-written by Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, and Anders Thomas Jensen, the film erroneously flopped at the box office, making $113 million globally, and grossing a mere $50 million domestically. "The Dark Tower is forever going to be the story I wish I could tell," Flanagan said. "That would be the Holy Grail. I mean, talk about an adaptation challenge… So many very talented people have poured so much time and heart and soul and blood, sweat, and tears trying to crack that." The opportunity could be there for the taking to do a full reboot since Amazon abandoned their Dark Tower television adaptation following the 2017 flop.

Dark Tower
Idris Elba as Roland and Tom Taylor as Jake in The Dark Tower (2017). Image courtesy of Sony Pictures

Despite Doctor Sleep underperforming at the box office, Flanagan was announced to write and a Dick Hallorann prequel, which likely takes place before the events of The Shining. The character was played by Scatman Crothers in the Stanley Kubrick film and Carl Lumby in Doctor Sleep. "There's this huge chunk of [Hallorran's] life where King just never provided anything, and that's where we want to play," Flanagan said. "The fun part about that is I've got signposts on either side of that story. I know where he begins, and I know where he ends. It's all about getting him from that little boy at the beginning of Doctor Sleep, who's talking about his evil grandfather and learning about the shining and the lockboxes and getting him to be that man who takes the job at the Overlook Hotel. And who clearly, as referenced all over the books, had some kind of very traumatic experience in Room 237, or 217 in the book." Do you think Flanagan can do The Dark Tower justice?

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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