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The Dark Tower director Nikolaj Arcel clashed with producers over the final cut of the fantasy film, and was nearly replaced during the post-production process claims a new report. Adapted from a series of novels by Stephen King, The Dark Tower follows the mysterious gunslinger Roland (Idris Elba) as he does battle across multiple dimensions with the all-powerful Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey).
After a failed attempt by Universal Pictures to get a Dark Tower franchise off the ground with planned movie and TV projects involved and Ron Howard attached as creative point-man, Media Rights Capital co-founder Modi Wiczyk took over the property and got things going via a co-financing deal with Sony. A Royal Affair filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel was chosen in 2015 to co-write and direct the difficult adaptation of Stephen King’s dense and intricate work, which takes place in various realities and involves an
incredibly detailed Tolkien-esque mythology .
A new report by Variety details the major post-production problems that set in for The Dark Tower after Modi Wiczyk and Sony executive Tom Rothman viewed Arcel’s early cut of the film. According to the report, the execs were so displeased with Arcel’s cut that they considered removing him from the film and bringing in another director to recut his footage. The execs’ concerns seemed to be borne out when test audiences reacted negatively to Arcel’s cut, becoming confused by the film’s labyrinthine mythology.
Ultimately says the Variety report, execs elected to stick with Arcel but became more involved in the post-production process, with one source claiming Rothman spent hours personally helping recut the film. Ron Howard was reportedly brought aboard to advise on the film’s music, and co-writer Akiva Goldsman also came in to offer his further input. Re-shoots were done to add more backstory explaining Roland and the Man in Black’s long adversarial relationship, and a new scene was shot to better explain the film’s crucial Mid-World setting. Arcel, Wiczyk and Rothman have all denied reports of clashes during post-production, with Arcel saying he would have quit the project had anyone tried to take over editing his movie.
According to Variety, matters were further complicated by the movie’s unusual production set-up, which divided power among Wiczyk’s Media Rights Capital group, Sony and Stephen King himself, with King maintaining veto rights over almost every aspect of the movie. King ultimately would give the film his seal of approval, but negative Internet buzz still plagued the film, especially after Sony
pushed the movie back from February to July and finally to August.
The Dark Tower is a towering story among Stephen King fans, and making those devoted followers happy must be paramount in the eyes of Sony, MRC and Arcel, especially if they have plans for any sequels or television follow-ups . At the same time, with the film reportedly coming in at a budget of $66 million, the general audience must also be considered. The big issue at the heart of the reported clashes between Arcel and his producers seems to have been finding a middle ground between a true Stephen King nerd version of the story – and Arcel is an avowed King nerd – and one that will not totally perplex and befuddle your average Joe, who is not conversant with the massive and multi-layered Dark Tower mythology.