Doctor Sleep Director Calls The Dark Tower the "Holy Grail" Stephen King Adaptation He'd Want to Make

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan has tackled a number of Stephen King adaptations, having helmed Gerald's Game for Netflix and last year's Doctor Sleep, a sequel to The Shining, but of all of King's impressive library of genre masterpieces, Flanagan thinks his The Dark Tower series would be the "Holy Grail" of stories to bring to life. Flanagan isn't the only one to feel this way about the story, as its ambitious nature is not only its own compelling story but also connects to corners of a number of King novels, which makes it a seminal entry into his impressive catalog of fantastical tales.

"I've got the answer that most Stephen King fans are going to have," Flanagan shared with Mick Garris during a panel for the Fantasia International Film Festival. "The Dark Tower is forever going to be the story I wish I could tell. 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."

Speaking to the difficulties of such an endeavor, 2017 saw an adaptation of The Dark Tower land in theaters and, despite starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and the revived interest in King, it was considered both financial and critical disappointment. Given that the original narrative spans eight novels, Amazon Studios was attempting to develop the project as a TV series, only for that endeavor to ultimately be scrapped. Understandably, it's a testament to the dense nature of the narrative that a long-form series also fell apart, let alone the 90-minute theatrical outing's failure to convey the compelling narrative.

Given how beloved The Shining is, last year's Doctor Sleep was one of the year's most anticipated horror events, and despite earning critical success, the film fell somewhat flat with audiences, only confirming the difficulty of developing any King adaptation for audiences.

"That for me would be the one. I don't know how that would happen, or if it could happen," the filmmaker confessed. "That property, it's daunting. Just to think about even taking first steps toward it."

If anyone would be able to pull off an adaptation of The Dark Tower, Flanagan might be the best choice, especially given how long he had been attempting to develop a Gerald's Game adaptation, a feat which even King thought would be an impossible task.

Flanagan's next project, The Haunting of Bly Manor, lands on Netflix on October 9th.


Would you like to see the filmmaker take on The Dark Tower? Let us know in the comments below or contact Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to talk all things horror and Star Wars!