Remember "synergy," that neat watchword that every big media company used to rationalize gobbling up smaller companies or merging and wiping out rivals? Well, synergy is alive and well at Universal, where the conglomerate's film and TV divisions are joining forces to adapt Stephen King's fantasy series 'The Dark Tower' -- as three films and a TV show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ron Howard will direct the first film and first season of the TV show, which will be written by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman. In 'The Dark Tower,' Roland Deschain, the last of a mysterious order of gunslingers, travels across a desolate and vaguely post-apocalyptic American landscape, searching for a black tower in an attempt to save the crumbling civilization. The first film in the trilogy will be immediately followed by a TV series that will bridge to the second film; after that film, the TV series will act as a bridge to the third film and beyond. King's series has sold more than 30 million copies to date across 40 countries worldwide. Remember "synergy," that neat watchword that every big media company used to rationalize gobbling up smaller companies or merging and wiping out rivals? Well, synergy is alive and well at Universal, where the conglomerate's film and TV divisions are joining forces to adapt Stephen King's fantasy series 'The Dark Tower' -- as three films and a TV show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ron Howard will direct the first film and first season of the TV show, which will be written by Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman. In 'The Dark Tower,' Roland Deschain, the last of a mysterious order of gunslingers, travels across a desolate and vaguely post-apocalyptic American landscape, searching for a black tower in an attempt to save the crumbling civilization. The first film in the trilogy will be immediately followed by a TV series that will bridge to the second film; after that film, the TV series will act as a bridge to the third film and beyond. King's series has sold more than 30 million copies to date across 40 countries worldwide.

Castings: Christina Hendricks of TV's 'Mad Men' will join Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston and Oscar Isaacs in 'Drive,' a thriller that revolves around a Hollywood stunt driver (Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver in L.A.'s criminal underworld and finds himself in trouble when a job goes wrong [Variety] ... Malin Akerman will star alongside Ethan Hawke in the CIA thriller 'The Numbers Station,' about a disgraced black ops agent who comes under attack when he's assigned to protect a young woman in the middle of the Nevada desert [Variety] ... 'X-Men: First Class' star Michael Fassbender will star in 'Shame,' about a thirtysomething New Yorker who has difficulty managing his sex life; the film is being directed by Steve McQueen, who directed Fassbender in 2008's 'Hunger.' [The Wrap]

Sweet dreams from Hollywood ...

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