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The Dark Tower

Roland Deschain and producer Ron Howard have hit yet another bump on the road to "The Dark Tower."

The proposed multi-platform adaptation of Stephen King's saga has never suffered from a lack of ambition, but now it is in desperate need of funding. According to a Variety report, Warner Bros., the second studio to consider the project after Universal passed, has turned it down.

The sprawling epic would play out over three films and two intermediate seasons of television, most likely for HBO. After Universal passed, WB voiced budget concerns and one-time attached star Javier Bardem exited, there has not been much good news for "The Dark Tower," but hope may not be lost just yet.

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There might be some life left in "The Dark Tower" after all. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's ambitious three-films-and-two-TV-series adaptation plan might have had Universal running for the hills, but it got HBO interested in the TV portion and now reportedly has another studio looking to produce the films as well.

Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros is "very close" to making a deal to allow Howard to at least direct the first "Dark Tower" film. Since both the WB and HBO are owned by Time Warner, it feels like a match made in heaven. HBO is a perfect home for King's brand of fantasy, and Warner Bros is already hard at work bringing an adaptation of "The Stand" to the big screen, so the pairing makes sense.

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Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's attempt to adapt Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series over multiple films and television seasons has hit something of a snag: sporting a high price tag and an unprecedented rollout plan, "Dark Tower" proved too ambitious for Universal to handle. But if Grazer is to be believed, "The Dark Tower" isn't too big for HBO.

Speaking with MTV News at the "Tower Heist" press junket this past weekend, Grazer revealed that "The Dark Tower" is still very much on track, so much so that that HBO has come on board.

"We're going to do ['The Dark Tower'] with HBO," Grazer told us. "We'll do the TV with HBO, and we'll do the movie with… to be determined. We'll do it right."

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Johnny DeppThe diagnosis isn't quite so grim as we might have thought on cancelled film projects "The Lone Ranger" and "The Dark Tower."

Bad news first: The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Gore Verbinski and the folks with "The Lone Ranger" have been trying to resolve the budget crisis that led Disney to pull the plug on the flick, but it might be to no avail. The "Pirates of the Caribbean" director managed to drop the film's planned budget from $244 million to $242 million, but Disney wants it to be closer to $220. That will involve some cutbacks from the cast and crew that THR doesn't think they're willing to make. Still, negotiations are negotiations, and there might be some wiggle room to get this Johnny Depp-starring movie off the ground.

Fortunately, things are looking up for Ron Howard's "The Dark Tower" adaptation.

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Cabin in the WoodsHorror cameos are all the rage in this week's Horror Bites, where the scare classics "Evil Dead" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" will be seeing some famous faces in their reboots of the terror tales.

You'll probably shed a tear learning that Ron Howard's "Dark Tower" adaptation was slashed by Universal, but news that the long-awaited "Cabin in the Woods" – from "Cloverfield" writer Drew Goddard, who co-wrote the screenplay with "The Avengers" director Joss Whedon – is finally getting a release date should quicken your pulse. Friday the 13th in 2012 is going to be a memorable year for the horror spoof about a group of friends who hit the woods for some R&R, but end up fighting for their lives (snarky style).

Check out this week's best horror news past the break.

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Dark TowerSo… is Javier Bardem not locked in for "The Dark Tower" after all?

In a new interview about the project, director Ron Howard confirms that production has been pushed back due to "budget delays and ongoing story development and logistical interviews," but it's his comments about Bardem that have our eyebrows raised.

"I can't really say who'll be in it yet, but Javier Bardem has shown a great deal of interest," he told Entertainment Weekly. "We'll know by the end of the summer, when our flashing green light goes solid."

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Kevin James got love advice from Will Smith in "Hitch," and that worked out pretty well for the guy. Let's see how he does when lions and gorillas are the ones playing matchmaker.

Yahoo Movies has premiered the full-length trailer for "Zookeeper," the former "King of Queens" comedian's latest movie. James stars as a zookeeper who contemplates leaving his job to pursue a more socially accepted path and, hopefully as a result, the girl of his dreams. But when the zoo's animals reveal that they can talk, they implore their favorite zookeeper to stay exactly where he is — and better still, they'll help him win his dream girl.

Check out the rest of today's news after the jump, including an early look at "Super 8" and Tim Burton's departure from "Maleficent."

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Things aren't looking good for "The Dark Tower," Ron Howard's ambitious film trilogy and television adaptation of Stephen King's best-selling novel series. After getting off to a nice start with Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem in the lead role of Roland Deschain, it now appears that the plug might be pulled over rising budget costs and some creative concerns.

But until official word comes down the line telling us that the Gunslinger's journey is completely off the table, we'll keep our eyes out for future "Dark Tower" developments... which brings us to today's tease of a potential new cast member.

Casting rumors are a dime a dozen these days, so when we were browsing "The Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus' IMDB page last week, we didn't pay too much mind to his supposed attachment to "The Dark Tower" as recovering junkie turned gunslinger Eddie Dean. We caught up with the actor and gave him the opportunity to shoot down the rumor, but instead, Reedus only fanned the fire.

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The Dark TowerAfter several years and different versions of the project, it looked as if Ron Howard and his team at Imagine Entertainment were finally going to bring us to "The Dark Tower."

Now, not so sure. Several news outlets, including Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter, are hearing that Howard's ambitious plan to team with Universal for three film and two television adaptations of Stephen King's masterwork has been put on hold. Staff members working on the project have reportedly been put on "hiatus" as Universal contemplates ways to bring down the budget on the massive "Dark Tower" endeavor.

THR adds that Universal's current thinking regarding "Dark Tower" centers not just on budgetary concerns, but also a "creatively lacking" final portion of the project. The outlet indicates that the final call on whether or not to move forward is "expected soon." But Deadline reports that no matter what happens next, plans to start shooting in September have been scrapped.

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The Dark TowerThere are plenty of reasons to be excited for Ron Howard's planned "The Dark Tower" adaptation, and now here's another one to add to the pile. "Heroes," "Battlestar Galactica" and "Falling Skies" writer/producer Mark Verheiden has been tapped to co-write and produce the planned NBC TV series segment of "Dark Tower" along with producer Akiva Goldsman.

First, here's what we know. Javier Bardem has been chosen from a pool of hopefuls to play the Gunslinger, with names like Naomi Harris rumored for other roles. Ron Howard will be directing the initial "Dark Tower" film and the first season of the television series, with the director of the later movies and seasons to be determined at a later date. Goldsman will write both the first film and the series, and now Deadline has the news that Verheiden is co-writing the series, with Stephen King and Brian Grazer along as producers as well. Sounds like a solid enough plan to us!

But who is Verheiden? What makes him a smart choice for "The Dark Tower"?

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