The Dark Tower on film

The Dark Tower is a series of seven books written by Stephen King. They are his answer to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and they are EPIC… epically awesome!

The first time I read through them was my sophomore year of college (the first time). I remember having a discussion with Mike S. (who doesn’t have a blog to link to… I mean besides the Curtain Call production blog. Okay, I’ll link to that one then) about how the first book is very unlike the two that follow.

Ever since I read the series and made the decision to make music my life, I had hoped that eventually I would be in a position to be part of the team that worked on the music if the series were ever put on the silver screen or the small screen.

It looks like I’ve missed the boat for both mediums (TV and movie). I saw a link from Mike yesterday that led me to  a deadline article discussing the deal that was recently reached. This deal would allow Ron Howard, Akiva Goldsman, and Brian Grazer to produce the books into three feature length films and a TV series with Universal/NBC.

Obviously, its my dream to see these books as visual media, but I definitely felt a lot more comfortable when JJ Abrams had secured the rights to create the films. I felt that his style would be more in line with the style of the books, but that fell through due to Abrams’ schedule (apparently he’s popular right now?!).

So now, its the team team that created A Beautiful Mind, and The Da Vinci Code. Both decent films, but a far cry from the subject matter that is The Dark Tower.

That’s all neither here nor there. It’s going to happen sometime, by someone. I can only hope that its going to be good. But now that it has potential again, everyone and their mom are making armchair casting decisions… so why not me?

Here’s the plan. Howard says that he’s going to direct the first film, and the first season of the television series with Goldsman writing. So my thoughts are that the entire production doesn’t necessarily need to have only one composer (not that any of them have only one anyway. I mean just look at the first season of Fringe, which has three separate credited composers. And look at Kick Ass, which has 5 credited composers.)

Who would be the good choice for composer on this project/s (besides me… anyone? Please?)?

  • Michael Giacchino – If this project had only one person scoring the entire thing, I would want it to be Michael. If there were one overseer of other composers for this project, I would want it to be Michael. With the work that he’s done on Lost, Fringe, Star Trek, and his countless other great scores, I would completely trust him with the sound palette and music for the Dark Tower universe. Potentially this choice may be my lingering feelings of having Abrams lead the project.
  • Marco Beltrami – He’s done some great stuff. I would like him to contribute to the music from Roland’s younger years. Maybe this is some typecasting from 3:10 to Yuma, but I’d like to hear it.
  • Carter Burwell – I think if Carter tapped his Fargo side, he could write some tunes for the Calla.
  • Mark Isham – I wouldn’t want him as the singular composer for the project, but I think his style would be great for some of the episodic material. Very ambient and atmospheric, I think he’d write some great stuff for following the beam.
  • John Powell – I think John would be great for blending the orchestral with the electronic. He would be one I would consider as overseer for the entire project. Powell is still my number one choice for Ender’s Game though, so if that project came up and were to conflict with The Dark Tower, then he’d only be able to contribute a small portion of music. If that were the case, I would want to hear Powell’s “Blaine”.

Overall, I based my decisions on the subject matter. I don’t think a purely orchestral score will completely fit this project, because of the dimension hopping, the timelines involved, etc… But one cool thing about this story is that it has flavors of many things. It has classic western, New York City, crazy weird fantastical locales, Stephen King’s home, alternate realities.

I’m not saying that this project couldn’t be done by a few different huge names (ie. Hans Zimmer) but I just want the music to go a little deeper than what he may do… although I wasn’t disappointed with Inception, but it still sounded like the samples that he uses for everything else. Nor would I mind if John Williams were on this project, but I think it needs more than brilliant huge orchestral writing and development of leitmotifs.

In one article (or article’s comments) someone said that if the developers don’t consider this project their legacy, they may do a huge disservice to the material. For me, this also applies to the score. Much like Howard Shore’s approach to LOTR, whoever does this project I hope considers this their magnum opus. The project to which the rest of their life’s work will be compared. No pressure, but if this isn’t good… that would be bad.

All this being said, Ron Howard has most often worked with James Horner, who I wouldn’t mind taking this project. Danger motif, here we come.

So there you have it. Now it’s all up to KA. But in the meantime, have you read these books? If so, who would you choose?


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