5 Hollywood Rumors: ‘Dark Tower,’ ‘Westworld’ Updates, and More

Hollywood Rumors

Every week we tap into Hollywood’s psyche to give readers an in-depth look at the latest rumors, casting updates, and other entertainment beats of the sort. Everything you read has been incubating in the Hollywood world, and now it’s time to share it with you — Cheat Sheet readers. So, at long last, here is what has been pulsating throughout the web this week, including an update on The Dark Tower and HBO’s Westworld.

1. Stephen King discusses The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower VII book cover

The Dark Tower VII book cover | Source: Scribner via StephenKing.com

Mid to late May brought us some chatter about the production of The Dark Tower, a film tentatively set for release in February 2017. Stephen King, author of The Dark Tower series, discussed the book-to-screen adaptation on the EW podcast (this according to Nick Romano of Collider).

As Romano writes, in the interview, King said:

I expect that the movie will start where the books start. Y’ know, “The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed.” I think that nails it right in place for people … I’ve been pretty insistent on that, and I think everyone’s onboard with it.

On changes, according to Romano, King said:

It starts sort of in medias res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit. But they will get behind it, because it is the story.

King also noted that the movie primarily follows the events of The Gunslinger, the first novel, but will include elements from later novels as well.

The series of eight books follows Roland Deschain (“The Gunslinger,” to be played by Idris Elba), a “knight”/frontiersman whose weapons of choice are revolvers. Deschain lives in the fallen Mid-World — he wants to save, or redeem, this land, but to do so he must get to the dark tower, which defies time and space. However, he is chased down by Walter Padick (“The Man in Black,” to be played by Matthew McConaughey), a dark and deceptive sorcerer who wants to control the tower and all it holds.

The film is directed by Nikolaj Arcel (The Royal Affair), and co-stars Jackie Earle Haley, Abbey Lee, Fran Kranz, and Katheryn Winnick.

2. HBO’s Westworld footage is shown at ATX TV Festival

HBO's Westworld

Source: HBO

Westworld, one of HBO’s most highly anticipated new programs, has hit a few bumps in the road on the way to completion. Even still, showrunner Jonathan Nolan has remained confident. According to James Hibberd of Entertainment Weekly, Nolan attributed some of the show’s early (anticipated) success/hype and wide scope to Game of Thrones.

He said:

It was actually Game of Thrones that made us feel like we could pull this off. We actually pitched this as making Days of Heaven and Alien simultaneously and then cutting them together. Game of Thrones was the inspiration for this. Thrones had this commitment to practical production value, which is not necessarily what’s in vogue these days … [Westworld] had to have this big scope.

The comparisons have HBO viewers quite ready for a binge-worthy show. But up until June 11, fans did not have the opportunity to see Westworld in full form. That is, the only footage available online has been a 30-second teaser trailer — showing, among others, Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Robert Ford.

But last weekend, an extended trailer (yet to be made available online), set to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black,” was played for festival-goers at the ATX Television Festival. According to Hibberd, “the audience was hugely impressed.”

Hibberd continues, writing:

The trailer … included intense Western action along with horrifyingly creepy sci-fi moments. The premise turns Michael Crichton’s original 1973 film version of Westworld on its head … The series has … artificially intelligent robots taking center stage as they’re used and abused (by) humanity’s darkest impulses.

Nolan, who participated on a panel with fellow showrunner Lisa Joy, summed it up nicely, saying, “Our show is about the robots who don’t realize they’re in a fake Western.”

3. Teaser trailer released for HBO’s The Young Pope

Italian film director and screenwriter Paolo Sorrentino (Youth) has a new show coming to HBO in 2016, and it stars Jude Law as “the young pope.” Law is fictional American pope, Pius XIII, who struggles with his new, worldly responsibilities.

On the new original series, Digital Spy’s Naomi Gordon writes:

Law plays the charming and enigmatic Lenny Belardo … whose election at first glance appears to be an effective media strategy by the College of Cardinals. But it soon becomes clear that Pius XIII is a mysterious and contradictory figure trying to walk the long path of human loneliness to find a God for mankind — and himself.

It will premiere on Sky Atlantic in the U.K., HBO in the U.S., and Canal+ in France. The cast features: Diane Keaton, James Cromwell, and Silvio Orlando, among others.

4. Teaser released for ITV’s Victoria

The U.K.’s ITV has a new monarchical drama coming out in 2016, and it features actors from the Doctor Who universe. Victoria will be released in 2016 in the U.K., and features Jenna Coleman (Who‘s Clara Oswald) as the young queen of the British Empire. According to Justin Harp of Digital Spy, the show will focus on Victoria’s ascension to the throne at 18, and her eventual marriage to Prince Albert (played by Tom Hughes).

The cast also includes: Eve Myles (Broadchurch), Tommy Knight (The Sarah Jane Adventures), Rufus Sewell (The Man in the High Castle), and Peter Firth (Spooks). The former producer of Homefront and Pulling, Daisy Goodwin, is behind this project.

5. James Wan “has idea” for a possible Conjuring 3

The Conjuring 2

The Conjuring 2 | Warner Bros. Pictures

The Conjuring 2 had many people closing their eyes or shielding their faces last weekend, but not because the movie was tasteless. James Wan’s sequel film is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and was the No. 1 movie in America last weekend. So far it has grossed over $100 million worldwide (and was the best opening for a horror film in 30 markets, according to Borys Kit of the Hollywood Reporter).

All that buzz — and profit — has studio execs thinking of a possible Conjuring 3. There has already been a Conjuring spinoff (Annabelle, which was a commercial success and has a sequel in the works), and another one may be coming soon with the nun from 2.

But what does James Wan, who has spearheaded the franchise, have to say? Chris Tilly of IGN writes:

When pushed on the subject, Wan revealed he even has a particular (Ed and Lorraine Warren) case in mind. “I do have something specific but I’m not going to say it,” (Wan said). “But I will say this – I do think Conjuring 1 and 2 are both set in the 70s, I think Conjuring 3 has got to be set in the 80s.”

And on the topic of the nun, HR reported that New Line has already hired David Leslie Johnson to write The Nun. Wan and Peter Safran are set to produce. And, as an interesting tidbit, HR’s Kit writes that the nun did not become a part of The Conjuring 2 until late re-shoots (as late as March 2016, with the film set to be released in June!).

Let’s see what becomes of this ever-expanding Conjuring universe.

Follow Dan Gunderman on Twitter @dangun127

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