Allow me to put aside my belief that the capable if workman-like Ron Howard is a poor choice to direct a film version of Stephen King's epic fantasy science fiction horror western adventure series, The Dark Tower.
Allow me to ignore the fact that the hit-and-miss Akiva Goldsman will be handling screenwriting duties (the human race will never let him forget that he wrote a little movie called Batman and Robin).
Instead, allow me to concentrate on the extraordinary way the duo plans to bring the massive, sprawling, amazing and messy seven book series to a new audience.
The Dark Tower will be a hybrid movie trilogy and TV series. No, it won't be a movie trilogy followed by a series or a TV series followed by a movie trilogy. There will be one film, then a season of television bridging the gap to the next film, then another season of television (which will act as a prequel to the entire story) and then the final film, wrapping everything up in one epic package.
To say that this is unprecedented would be an understatement. Sure, TV shows have inspired movies and movies have inspired TV shows, but to plan one story to be told across two mediums from the outset requires not only a lot of clout (which Howard has in spades), but an amount of raw nerve I simply wasn't expecting from Howard, who has always struck me as a work-for-hire in the past. There's got to be some kind of passionate commitment driving this thing.
They won't be the first to attempt to adapt the story of post-apocalyptic Gunslinger Roland and his ka-tet as they journey across the world and through a variety of dimensions to reach the Dark Tower and save the universe. JJ Abrams and Lost writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse tried and failed a few years back. Anyone who has read the series can tell you why. It's not just a matter of size and scope and sheer amount of story, it's the fact that the series gets a little, well, bonkers by the end. And by bonkers I mean self-aware, post-modern and totally meta and not in a way that many fans of the series found appropriate.
Will Goldsman and Howard try to literally adapt the books? Will they smooth over some of the rough, weird edges? Will they keep the controversial ending? How much involvement will King (who will be a producer) have on the project? Will his involvement be a good thing or a bad thing?
I'm trying to imagine what The Dark Tower would look like directed by Ron Howard and I'm coming up with a blank. I feel like how I imagine so many Lord of the Rings fans felt when Peter Jackson was originally announced as director of those films: nervous, a little angry but somehow, still glad to see something happening.
Mr. Howard and Mr. Goldsman, you get 100 points for ambition. Now do this thing right. Prove me wrong and shut me up.