Now that it’s official that Universal will produce three films, interspersed with two seasons of a television series on NBC, and that this will be helmed by Ron Howard and scripted by Akiva Goldsman, I must first of all breath a sigh of relief. And that is, of course, followed by a shriek of WTF. Hopefully, this is the project that will return the Grazer/Howard/Goldsman team to its true potential, but they will have to travel the Wastelands and more to prove it.
I’m glad this recipe of film/tv/film/tv/film was concocted, as it seems the best way to do it. Even Lord of the Rings was supposedly impossible to bring to cinema, but Peter Jackson managed it with three long films (and a lot of commitment from production). Mr. Howard and Mr. Grazer are not without huge obstacles in their quest, either.
For one thing, the part of Jake needs to be especially tended to in the planning, writing, and shooting stages. If this project is to go on for many years, Jake needs to be someone who doesn’t age/change much physically during that time. Even if he does during the last phase, Jake is key to the entire Gunslinger theme, and needs to be a solid child actor. Eddie and Susannah are also key roles, and while many will speculate on casting of those two, I wish those two to be unknowns.
As for the Gunslinger, there may be hoots and hollers for Josh Brolin or some other marquee star, but for my money, the one actor I see fitting the bill as a badass with a heart of stone, but a scrap of compassion, and who has proved himself in a successful TV series with a Stephen King fanbase… is Josh Holloway.
He has the potential to pull off all of Roland’s traits, from stoicism to sarcasm to dancing the rice dance. And looking like a hardcase the whole time.