Based on reports from some inside sources Variety is reporting that The Dark Tower had a very rock production. This might not come as a surprise since the entire process of bringing Stephen King’s book series to any size screen has taken more than 10 years, but evidently post-production got pretty complex with the film as director Nikolaj Arcel turned in an early edit that was confusing and hard to follow.
After testing incredibly poorly with audiences who couldn’t follow the plot or the complex mythos that the story takes place in Modi Wiczyk, co-founder of Media Rights Capital, and Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman considered bringing in another director to finish the film off. Rotham evidently spent hours in the editing bay with Arcel trying to get the film to work. Reshoots brought in an entirely new part of the film that helped explain the world and reinforce why Roland (Idris Elba) hates the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey). The sources say the only reason Arcel wasn’t replaced was because of costs.
Of course the producers and Arcel deny this all, saying that they worked happily together. Arcel even states that if anyone had come into his editing room he’d have walked.
“On a film with two studios and powerful producers, obviously there is much passionate creative debate on how to work certain ideas or beats,” he said. “But I felt supported throughout, and they all looked to me for answers. If someone had jumped into my editing room and taken over — I would have left instantly.”
Honestly, The Dark Tower is an incredibly hard series to adapt. Since King (who got veto power over everything, adding another layer of approval to the film) wrote the series over so many years it often wanders into itself. It’s a brilliant series, but it can vary in quality and only gains complexity with each novel as world jumping, time travel, and trips down memory lane occur. It’s also insanely meta, having a lot to do with King’s own creative process and the worlds he’s created. There’s a high bar of entry here and Arcel has never directed anything this complex. So all of this could just be what happens when you try to adapt something that no one could adapt for 10 straight years.
SMALL SPOILERS FOR THE BOOKS BELOW
For my part I’m still really excited to see the movie. Once I heard that it wasn’t just a remake of the books, but considered another cycle in Roland’s journey I was fully on board. That’s the right way to do this, and with King already giving his approval of the film I find it hard to believe it came out that poorly. Troubled shoots aren’t always a sign of a bad outcome.