Before the current version of the upcoming Dark Tower movie, there was a working script for the Ron Howard version of the flick. He, Ron Goldsman and Jeff Pinker are no longer part of the project but Quint over at Aint It Cool News got a look at a draft of the old script. He's not sure if any of the draft will make it into the Nicolaj Arcel version of the film that is currently in production, but it's an interesting read anyway.
Some highlights of the article below.
A word of warning first, though. There are a lot of unknowns surrounding this project right now. I've heard from sources who have told me that Arcel did a pretty hefty rewrite, so it's quite possible that all the pro-Goldsman draft talk in the EW interview was politics (saving face for Goldsman who is still producer on the film) and much of what I read is outdated.
If the movie is indeed starting off with “The Man In Black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed” then we can assume this is out. How could the Man in Black be fleeing if he's hanging in peaceful Devar-Toi? It also means we're very likely to meet our main character, Roland, earlier than in this draft, which doesn't happen until almost 15 pages in.
This is all good news because the first act is the worst part of Goldsman and Pinkner's adaptation. They start it weird and then spend time with young Jake in modern day-ish (2011 in this draft) New York. Jake is having nightmares about what's going on in Devar-Toi and is seeing a psychiatrist because he feels torn between his own world and what the adults in his life believe is an imaginary world.
This psychiatrist chat is hands down the worst part of the script. They totally play to the cheap seats. Within 5 minutes of the movie they have Jake fully explain exactly what the Dark Tower is while talking to a stuffy psychiatrist in an office somewhere. In other words they reveal the mystery of the title in the most boring way possible. It'd be like at the end of the pilot of Lost Charlie says “Guys, where are we?” and someone sits him down and explains exactly what the island is and what that strange creature in the trees used to be.
Another tidbit from the EW interview was the revelation that a good amount of the film takes place in our world, which threw many fans for a loop. In the books a lot of time is spent crossing between Mid-World and ours (known as Keystone Earth), but none of that happens in the first book, so what gives?
Jake is what gives. Goldsman and Pinkner decided to fold in Jake's journey to Roland's world from The Wastelands (complete with the fight with the Guardian in the old haunted house) with his entry into The Gunslinger.
If you're a constant reader your head is probably spinning a little bit right now. Lots of changes, but take my word for it not to get too hung up on those changes. They make the very smart decision to start Roland off with Horn of Eld, which is something I've been saying the adaptation needs to do since JJ Abrams got the rights way back when.
So, what of The Gunslinger book does make it? The showdown in Tull takes up most of the first act and Roland's reluctant bonding with Jake is most of the second act, but is done is a much different way than the book.
Jake's not a confused child who doesn't know why he's there. He's the one on a mission, convinced he's meant to help Roland find the Dark Tower, which is something Roland has no interest in. He's only after revenge. He has given up protecting the tower in order to focus on killing the Man in Black.
This Roland is a shell of a man. He has his feelings on lock down, much like the Roland from the books, but he's also worn out, defeated. It's an interesting take that took me a little while to warm up to, but I like how they used his growing feelings for Jake to kind of set him back on the path.
Jake is almost more of a central figure in this draft than Roland himself. He's not only Roland's moral compass, he's also the MacGuffin. They give Jake telepathic powers, which sounds silly, but it's not like he's throwing people around with his mind or anything. He sees things, is sensitive to thin spots between worlds, etc. They even call it “The Shine” a nod to King's Shining. He's powerful enough to be of interest to the Man in Black who wants to use him to destroy the Dark Tower.