Michael Rooker Reunites with Former Walking Dead Showrunner for The Dark Tower TV Series

The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy star Michael Rooker has joined the Amazon Studios television adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, Rooker’s official website reports.

Rooker’s role in the pilot, now filming on location in Croatia, has not yet been revealed. The Dark Tower reunites Rooker with executive producer and showrunner Glen Mazzara, who served as showrunner on Seasons 2 and 3 of The Walking Dead — the latter marking Rooker’s final turn as Merle Dixon, elder brother of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus).

In March, Variety reported Sam Strike (Nightflyers) and Jasper Pääkkönen (BlacKkKlansman) were cast in the pilot as Roland Deschain, a.k.a. The Gunslinger, and Marten Broadcloak, a.k.a. The Man in Black, respectively. The series promises to be a more faithful adaptation of King’s novels than the 2017 film that starred Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.

“I liked everybody involved with that movie and I liked some of the casting choices for it. I liked [Media Rights Capital producer] Modi Wiczyk, the producer, the director, everybody. So you know I’m always careful what I say about it,” King told EW in December 2017 when admitting the movie failed because it turned the material into a PG-13 tentpole.

“But I will say this, okay. The real problem, as far as I’m concerned is, they went in to this movie, and I think this was a studio edict pretty much: this is going to be a PG-13 movie. It’s going to be a tentpole movie. We want to make sure that we get people in there from the ages of, let’s say, 12 right on up to whatever the target age is. Let’s say 12 to 35. That’s what we want.

“So it has to be PG-13, and when they did that I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, ‘Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before.’”

The Nikolaj Arcel-directed film adaptation grossed just $111 million worldwide on a $60 million budget after winning just a 16% approval rating from critics. King’s attempts to advise the project went unheeded.

“There was a decision made, too, to start it pretty much in the middle, and when they actually made the movie I had doubts about it from the beginning, and expressed them, and didn’t really get too far,” he said.

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“Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know? It doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back. And I thought to myself, ‘Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this,’ and they were. So there was some of that problem, too.”

Amazon has not yet revealed a release date for the series.

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