The ever shifting saga of attaching directors to Stephen King adaptations continues. Deadline reports that Sony has pegged Danish screenwriter and filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel to rewrite and direct the first film in the fantasy/science-fiction/western/horror franchise, The Gunslinger. If the deal goes through, Arcel will be replacing the previous team of Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman who’ve been attached to the project for years following the departure of J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. Howard and Goldsman will still serve as producer’s on the project, but hopefully this puts an end to the rumors of Russell Crowe playing Roland.
I’m unfamiliar with Arcel’s body of work, with the exception of his co-writing duties on the 2009 Swedish adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Arcel has directed four features and his film A Royal Affair was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards in 2013. While The Gunslinger would be his first English film, Deadline also reports that Arcel is a huge King fan and taught himself English in order to read King’s books in the language in which they were originally written. It’s admittedly relieving to have someone who’s such a fan on board, and apparently the script that’s being passed around now stays true to the first novel and is very character focused. Sony is reportedly looking to maintain the dark tone of books, which was a large part of bringing Arcel on board.
The plan remains for the film adaptations to be supported with a TV series meant to cover some of the backstory and larger narratives in King’s massive tomes. As I’ve mentioned before, I am major fan Stephen King and his Dark Tower series, so I couldn’t be happier to see the franchise finally gaining some momentum after years spent in development hell at Universal and Warner Bros. If Sony and Arcel need casting ideas, they need look no further than our very own fantasy draft casting. May they aim true and aim with their eye.