Budget concerns put upcoming Javier Bardem film in doubt

Los Angeles: Universal Pictures has growing concerns about the big investment needed to produce `The Dark Tower`, a literary saga by Stephen King in which Javier Bardem will play the leading role, according to the Hollywood showbiz medium The Wrap.

Studio executives have been meeting over the last few weeks to try and reduce the estimated production costs and are "still trying to figure out whether to proceed with it at all", The Wrap said Friday, adding that "the very expensive `Dark Tower` clearly has attracted the attention of the people in charge of the money".

The original idea consisted of making the audiovisual version of King`s seven books in three feature films and two TV mini-series.

The first instalment of "The Dark Tower" was planned to start shooting this summer, though Universal`s rethinking of the project means filming is bound to be delayed.

Exactly how long the project is likely to be postponed has not been revealed, nor how it could affect the participation of Bardem and Ron Howard, director of `The Da Vinci Code` and `Angels and Demons`, who have signed on for at least the first film, whose premiere is set for May 2013.

In case Universal Pictures fails to start production before July 2012, film rights revert to the author.

"The Dark Tower" is Stephen King`s personal vision of the Far West, where the fantasy of a magical universe blends with his own brand of terror and elements typical of the traditional western.

The project has been compared in its magnitude by some of the media to "The Lord of the Rings".

Bardem is to play pistol-packing Roland Deschain, who has spent his life in search of the Dark Tower, humanity`s last chance to save civilization.

Together with the feature films and television series, a video game has also been announced, while a comic strip of the saga created with King`s participation already exists.


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