An Interview with ‘The Dark Tower’ Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman

In March, 2012, while I was writing The Dark Tower Companion, I spoke with Akiva Goldsman about his plans to adapt the Dark Tower series with Ron Howard. Clearly things have changed significantly in the past five years, but his thoughts at the time show where he was coming from and might indicate where the adaptations could be headed. As we anticipate this week’s release of The Dark Tower, enjoy this excerpt from that interview.Continue Reading

News from the Dead Zone #156

Since we last spoke, my book The Dark Tower Companion came out in trade paperback and eBook (Kindle | Nook). The reviews have been rolling in, so if you’re on the fence about buying a copy, check them out here. One of my favorites says, in part, “Bev Vincent … is so fluent in Mid-World, one gets the feeling he has gone through a doorway and visited. Really, you have the sense that he’s been there.”

Did you miss your chance to see Ghost Brothers of Darkland County when it played in Atlanta last year? If so, don’t despair. There are a couple of options available that will allow you to experience the show. First, you can order the soundtrack on iTunes or various other places. There’s a one-disc version that has the songs interspersed with select dialog from the play and a 2-disc deluxe set that comes with a trade paperback of the libretto and a DVD containing a Making of Ghost Brothers mini-documentary, featuring in-depth interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with the digital libretto and other bonus material. Then there’s the  3-disc version that has an additional CD that is just the music (no dialog) and a hardcover version of the libretto. The soundtrack will be available on June 4. Rolling Stone has been featuring individual tracks recently, including one of my favorite songs from the musical, Home Again.

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather see the play itself. If so, you may be pleased to hear that the show is going on tour, playing in 20 cities in the Midwest and Southeast beginning October 10 in Bloomington, IN, and ending November 6 in Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 17 at 10am at aeglive.com. The full list of cities and dates can be found here.

June 4 is also publication day for Joyland. Check out issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine for my review and an interview with Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai. Thus far the only review has been from Publishers Weekly, and it’s a good one. The audiobook will be narrated by Michael Kelly. Last week it was announced that Tate Taylor (The Help) has optioned the film rights.

Cemetery Dance has revealed some of Vincent Chong’s spectacular artwork for their limited edition of Doctor Sleep here and here.

A Dollar Baby Film Festival will be part of Comicpalooza in Houston on the Memorial Day weekend. Twenty of these short films will be screened. I will be attending as a special guest. Shawn S. Lealos is hosting the event, screening his adaptation of “I Know What You Need” and promoting his upcoming book Dollar Deal: The Stories of the Dollar Baby Filmmakers.

The film adaptation of A Good Marriage is getting in gear. Filming will start in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia star as husband and wife, with Kristen Connolly playing their daughter. Stephen Lang plays a retired investigator from the Maine Attorney General’s office who is obsessed with solving a crime. Peter Askin is directing from King’s screenplay.

Only six more weeks until the premiere of Under the Dome, the summer series on CBS. Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), who plays Big Jim Rennie, tweeted a picture from the set with King recently. Cast members and producers discussed the series recently at Wondercon. You can see video of that panel at the bottom of this page. It’s hard to turn on ABC these days without seeing a promo for the show, but just in case you’ve missed them, here’s the latest teaser trailer. Be on the lookout for a shout-out to The Simpsons when the show airs. The plan is for this to be an ongoing series rather than a limited miniseries.

JJ Abrams has stepped in with a proposal to turn 11/22/63 into a TV series after Jonathan Demme recused himself from the project.

Season 4 of Haven began production recently. Eureka’s Colin Ferguson joins the cast as (what else?) a mysterious stranger.

The Dark Tower comics from Marvel are nearing the end of their run. The second issue of Evil Ground, the prequel to The Little Sisters of Eluria, comes out this month. Then, in July, a one-shot called So Fell Lord Perth ends the series.

Could the Dark Tower adaptation find its way to Netflix? Chief Creative Officer Ted Sarandos has revealed that he has talked to Ron Howard about the possibility. He says that he and Howard plan to continue their discussions after Arrested Development is finished.

Hard Listening is a forthcoming e-book by members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. It is a collection of essays, stories, musings, group email exchanges, candid conversations, compromising photographs, and audio and video (semi-musical) clips, as well as interactive quizzes. It will feature a new King story, as well as stories by some of his collaborators written to imitate him.

On July 18, King will appear at The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut, in conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe. Proceeds from the event benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum. He and son Owen will headline the PEN Canada annual benefit on October 24. The Q&A discussion will be moderated by the award-winning mystery writer, Louise Penny.

Want to blow your mind? Check out this flowchart of The Stephen King Universe. You may think you’ve seen it before, but it was recently updated to include the Dark Tower series.

 

News from the Dead Zone #154

The end is drawing nigh. The end of the world? Pshaw. The end of the year, certainly. This will probably be my last update for 2012, and what better day to do it than on 12/12/12?

Last Friday, King made an appearance at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. During the day, he talked to a creative writing class and that evening he took part in a conversation with faculty member and writer Andre Dubus III. Dubus interviewed him for the first 30 minutes, and King took questions from the audience during the final 30 minutes. In the middle, he treated the audience to the world premiere of a new short story called “Afterlife,” which is not scheduled for publication at this time. Earlier in the day, he talked at length about the novel he is currently working on, describing the genesis and how it developed from a short story idea into a 500 page manuscript. Mr. Mercedes is more of a mystery novel and it has no supernatural elements. You can find video of the entire event at the UMass Lowell website.

Look for the rare King short story “The Glass Floor” in issue #69 of Cemetery Dance magazine. This is the Glenn Chadbourne issue, and my buddy Glenn has put together special illustrations for this creepy tale, King’s first professional sale, originally published in 1967 and only reprinted once since then.

The 24-part graphic adaptation of “Little Green God of Agony” is now finished.

The long-delayed soundtrack for Ghost Brothers of Darkland County will be released on March 19th, 2013. The (enhanced CD) Standard Edition features the complete soundtrack, dialog excerpts and digital libretto. The (2CD/1DVD) Deluxe Edition contains the complete soundtrack (with and without dialog), deluxe art work, handwritten lyrics, specially printed libretto and the “Making of Ghost Brothers” mini-documentary DVD featuring in-depth interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with other bonus material. Digital editions for tablets, smartphones and e-readers will allow users to interact with the complete soundtrack + digital libretto, as well as exclusive video and graphic materials. King and Mellencamp are still exploring the possibility of bringing the show to Broadway, and King thinks that it might make a good movie, too.

Under the Dome will be a series on CBS next summer. This isn’t going to be a literal translation, though, and neither is it going to be a miniseries. Writer Brian K. Vaughan is using the novel as a launch pad for an open-ended series that could potentially continue beyond the initial 13-week run. Perhaps it will be something like The Dead Zone series, which ran for several years, or like SyFy’s Haven, which has been renewed for a fourth season.

John Cusack will play the lead in an adaptation of Cell from Cargo Entertainment. Richard Saperstein, who produced 1408, will co-produce this feature. No word on when production might begin. And in other casting news, Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead) and Joel Courtney (Super 8) are joining the cast of Mercy, a feature based on “Gramma.”

Ben Affleck is having a hard time wrapping his head around his proposed adaptation of The Stand. “I like the idea,” he told GQ. “It’s like The Lord of the Rings in America. And it’s about how we would reinvent ourselves as a society. If we started all over again, what would we do?” The film is still on his radar, but it won’t be the next thing he works on. “The script is not ready yet, it needs a lot more work.”

Jonathan Demme had sufficient problems with 11/22/63 that he decided to step away from the project. “This is a big book, with lots in it,” he told Indiewire. “And I loved certain parts of the book for the film more than Stephen did. We’re friends, and I had a lot of fun working on the script, but we were too apart on what we felt should be in and what should be out of the script. I had an option and I let it go. But I hope it’s moving forward, I really want to see that movie.”

The San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne on Sept. 18 next year, the first of six performances running through October 4.  The libretto is by J.D. McClatchy. Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick will sing the title character, soprano Elizabeth Futral will perform Vera Donovan, Susannah Biller the daughter Selena St. George, Wayne Tigges the husband Joe St. George, and Greg Fedderly will be Detective Thibodeau. George Manahan conducts and James Robinson directs.

Remember that famous “Study, Dammit” cover from the Maine Campus? The one adapted at King’s website to say “Read the FAQ, Dammit”? Well, the original artwork was discovered recently and you can now purchase copies, with proceeds going to support both The Maine Campus and scholarships at the University of Maine. Visit http://www.studydammit.com/.

Cemetery Dance announced the publication of my signed, limited edition chapbook, Twenty-First Century King recently. The 50-page booklet compiles my reviews of every book King has published in the 21st century, starting with “Riding the Bullet” and ending with The Wind Through the Keyhole. That adds up to 21 reviews and 21,000 words of text. Seems like a theme—the mystical number 21. There are only 750 copies. They make great stocking stuffers for the King fan in your life.

And, last but not least, I recently announced my third book, The Dark Tower Companion, to be published by New American Library (Penguin) in April 2013. This massive companion is 50% longer than The Road to the Dark Tower. It covers not only the eight books in the series, but also the Marvel graphic novel adaptations. I interviewed King for the book, along with Robin Furth, Richard Isanove (colorist), Peter David (script), Jae Lee (artist) and most of the subsequent artists. I also, much to my great delight, got to talk with Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman about how they plan to adapt the series. The book features a comprehensive glossary and two maps drawn by none other than…me! It will be published as a trade paperback and a Kindle eBook, both of which can be pre-ordered at Amazon.