Happy New Year, everyone! Can’t believe this is my first post of 2011. And what news we have! Though several actors have been named as possible candidates to play the part of Roland in the Dark Tower movie/TV adaptation, the word today (confirmed by King’s office) is that Javier Bardem has been offered the role. No word yet on whether he has accepted, but this announcement has stirred some passioned responses. The main complaints seem to be that 1) he doesn’t look the way people envision Roland (especially the eyes) and 2) he has an accent. Neither of those issues matters to me. Give him blue contacts and a few months with a dialect coach and those matters will vanish. I think this he’s a good choice. We’ve seen him do stone cold killer before. If we can’t have Timothy Olyphant (from Justified), Bardem will do just fine.

Ron Howard has talked a little bit about his plans for the series in recent interviews. He will be directing at least the first movie and perhaps all three. He will also direct the intervening TV series, which are now better described as limited-run miniseries (six to eight hours), which will probably air on an NBC affiliate like SyFy or USA. The same actors will appear on the big screen and on the TV miniseries. Akiva Goldsman is scripting the first movie, and will write the TV component as well. One report says that the second TV series will be the flashback to Roland’s youth.

In related news, the second issue of the Marvel adaptation of Little Sisters of Eluria is out this week and the hardcover collection of The Journey Begins is out today as well. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with the standalone issue Sheemie’s Tale, which was originally slated for last fall. Some reports have it coming out this week as well.

If you missed King’s U-stream chat last fall, it can now be seen on the Full Dark, No Stars web site. In that interview he reveals that he’s written a screenplay for “A Good Marriage” and hopes it’s made into a film. He was supposed to provide details about his next book, but due to technical difficulties toward the end that question didn’t get asked, so now we’ll have to wait for a while to find out more.

In early January, King said that he would no longer be writing regular columns for Entertainment Weekly. After his three Top 10 columns in December (Top 10 Books, Top 10 TV shows, Top 10 Movies), he published one final column, So Long, My Friends. “After seven years of waxing philosophical about all things pop culture, Uncle Stevie says goodbye.” (not yet online).

For an interesting glimpse behind the scenes, check out this podcast: A peek inside the office with Marsha DeFilippo.

In the January issue of Down East magazine, a columnist asks King about his concept of “the real Maine.” He replied, “My idea of the real Maine is lunch at Rosie’s Diner in Lovell. Especially in the fall, after the summer folks go home. Grab a copy of the local paper (the Bridgton News), sit at the counter, and order the blueberry pancakes (with real maple syrup). Bacon on the side’s optional. The cook wears a Red Sox hat, there’s a picture of Elvis over the specials board,and the locals talk politics and football while the leaves fall outside. If you like, when you finish your lunch, you can stroll across to the public library. Not bad.”