Stephen King thinks Columbia Pictures made a big mistake in adapting his fan-favorite series The Dark Tower to film last summer. According to King, the movie should have had an R-rating. King cites the studio’s decision to make a PG-13 Dark Tower as the primary problem with the film in an interview reflecting back on the year with Entertainment Weekly.
“The real problem, as far as I’m concerned is, they went in to this movie, and I think this was a studio edict pretty much: this is going to be a PG-13 movie,” King said after the standard disclaimers about not meaning any offense to the movie’s cast or director. “It’s going to be a tentpole movie. We want to make sure that we get people in there from the ages of, let’s say, 12 right on up to whatever the target age is. Let’s say 12 to 35. That’s what we want.”
According to King, that rating led to decisions that watered down the story: “So it has to be PG-13, and when they did that I think that they lost a lot of the toughness of it and it became something where people went to it and said, Well yeah, but it’s really not anything that we haven’t seen before.”
King also revealed that he tried to give feedback to the creative team behind the movie, but described it as like hitting a rubber wall.
“There was a decision made, too, to start it pretty much in the middle, and when they actually made the movie I had doubts about it from the beginning, and expressed them, and didn’t really get too far,” King said. “Sometimes when people have made up their mind, the creative team that’s actually going to go and shoot the movie, it’s a little bit like hitting your fist against hard rubber, you know? It doesn’t really hurt, but you don’t get anywhere. It just sort of bounces back. And I thought to myself, Well, people are going to be really puzzled by this, and they were. So there was some of that problem, too.”
So is there any hope for redemption for the franchise? According to King, another shot at the Dark Tower is possible, and this time as a Game of Thrones-type cable or streaming drama, something that has been rumored off and on throughout the various stages of the property’s development, and was supposed to be a part of the long-term plans for the movie franchise, at least until the movie tanked at the box office.
“That might happen,” King said when asked about the prospect. “It might happen.”
King’s answer actually represents a bit of a change in tone since he last spoke about the project in October. At that time, King told bird-themed pop culture website Vulture that the TV series was actively in development (while also taking shots at the PG-13 rating), and that it would be a complete reboot of the movie. Back in August, when the pain of the box office bomb was still fresh, King also said that he hoped a sequel to the movie would be R-rated.
Read the full interview with King at EW.