The Dark Tower: Ron Howard Looks Back on Mistakes

"We always felt like we were kind of holding back something." Ron Howard reminisces about The Dark Tower movie.

Ron Howard has been chatting about where he thinks he and his team may have gone wrong with The Dark Tower. The Stephen King adaptation, directed by Nikolaj Arcel and produced by Howard, was highly anticipated before its release back in 2017, with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey snagged for plum roles. Unfortunately, upon its debut, the film was met with middling-to-savage reviews and a disappointing box office for Columbia and Sony.

Now, Howard has been reflecting on the endeavor and thinking about what they could have done differently when adapting The Dark Tower as a feature film.

“I think it should’ve been horror,” Howard mused on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast (via Collider). “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… 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.”

Howard also senses that the project might well have been a better fit for the small screen:

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“The other thing might’ve been to just straight-on tackle it as television first. 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.”

Indeed, Amazon Studios is still working on bringing The Dark Tower to television as we speak, with Sam Strike (Nightflyers) cast as Roland Deschain and Jasper Pääkkönen (BlacKkKlansman) playing The Man In Black. Former The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara has been overseeing the series, but progress has been quite slow on it so far.