Different Film Version of THE DARK TOWER Moving Forward?

Finally, The Dark Tower is getting a cinematic translation. But don't get too excited: it's NOT the Stephen King version.
John Johnson, the indie auteur behind such classics as Shadowhunters and Skeleton Key, has announced plans to make his own series of films based on Robert Browning's nihilistic poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," the same piece that inspired King's seven-volume epic.

Inspired by the song sung by the fake-crazy Edgar in William Shakespeare's King Lear and published as part of Men and Women, the Browning poem follows the titular hero -- "Childe" means a young man not yet knighted -- on his search for the legendary Tower, the literal significance of which never is explained.

Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest, Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ So many times among 'The Band' to wit, The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed Their steps - that just to fail as they, seemed best, And all the doubt was now - should I be fit?

Roland reaches the Tower, thus ending his quest...and his life.

Just as the poem's medieval world evokes dark horrors, Johnson intends to put his modern-era protagonist through a gauntlet of nightmares and dreamscapes as he seeks his lost love and, of course, the Dark Tower. Said Johnson, "I've had an obsession with a dark tower in my dreams since I was five years old. Guess it is time to face it in the best way I know how."

"Are you freakin' kidding me?" exclaimed JoBlo's AMMON GILBERT, clearly not convinced of the originality of Johnson's concept. "Sure, it's technically based on the original poem, but ... really, it's a way to rip off the great Stephen King's 30-year epic of Roland the Gunslinger."

Indeed, Johnson has admitted to being a big fan of King's novels and Marvel Comics' series based on them. However, while King set his epic in an anachronistic world of his own design, Johnson at least has decided to retain Browning's element of archaic concepts in the modern era, a conceit that was integral to the poem's theme of literary tradition in a much-changed society.

The Dark Tower, produced by Darkstone Entertainment, is slated to begin after Johnson's serious remake of the Edward D. Wood, Jr., classic Plan 9 From Outer Space (called simply Plan 9), which commences shooting in March toward a September release.

[Thanks to SparkNotes.com and to Fangoria's MICHAEL GINGOLD.]
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