There's no question that Ron Howard has been one of the most prolific directors of all time, but in recent years his projects have suffered from unique but significant setbacks. While some people tend to focus on Solo: A Star Wars Story and the challenge placed on him in taking over the production, Howard also worked for years to bring Stephen King's classic Dark Tower series to the big screen.
It finally happened in 2017 with The Dark Tower premiering in theaters with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, but even Howard recognizes what went wrong with that film. While appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Howard admitted that the film should have leaned harder into the horror elements, focused more on Elba's Gunslinger and less on the kid, and possibly been rated R.
“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," said Howard. "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."
As Howard himself recognized, those movies are a harder sell. But with the recent resurgence in interest for Stephen King stories, which also goes hand in hand with the popularity of the horror genre, holding back for an R-rated Dark Tower film might have been the better option.
But there was also the interest in spreading the franchise to television, and Howard also recognizes that could have been the best possible option to kick off such an ambitious series.
“The other thing might’ve been to just straight-on tackle it as television first," Howard said. "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."0comments
There are plans for a Dark Tower series on Amazon next year, and the series will likely reboot the concept instead of continuing the original plan.