Ron Howard Eying Viggo Mortensen To Star In 'The Dark Tower' Movies?

Viggo MortensenThe tentative release date for the first "Dark Tower" film is still three years away, but potential director Ron Howard can't get Stephen King's beloved fantasy series out of his head.

"I really can't stop thinking about it," Howard told the Los Angeles Times. "We've been meeting and talking and I've been reading and researching and just kind of living with it... We're finding the shape of it. We're moving quickly now, as quickly as we can, and I feel challenged in the most exciting ways."

He should feel challenged, considering the plan for bringing the seven-book series to life involves three films and two television series that would bridge the gap between the release of the films. But the plan has King's approval and some potential leading men on board, so it shows all signs of being ready for the 2013 release of the first film. The best part is that Howard has tapped himself into the "Dark Tower" fans perspectives and acknowledges their casting selections for the role of Roland the Gunslinger. So yes, he knows they're all about getting Viggo Mortensen for the part and even suggested the "Lord of the Rings" actor would be a good fit.

Some of the other names being tossed around are Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Jon Hamm, but Howard's first concern is actually getting the project green-lit by Universal Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment. Releasing the first film in 2013, then airing the first season of the television series which would lead up to the second film, and then doing it again in preparation for the third film is a bold plan, but Howard is less concerned about that than he is about the fact he got King's approval for the adaptation.

"We're really early on, but he and I do know that [King] loves what he's hearing and he's excited about it," Howard said. "He has just been so welcoming. 'Welcome aboard' is how I would describe the reception we got... I think he has a genuine curiosity, even at this point in his amazing career, about the way his work can be taken to another medium and therefore a kind of openness and freedom about what those stories will look like. I hope it goes great. I hope it goes the way we think it will. It never does, really. But sometimes it goes better."

Howard added, "We worked on it for a year before we even met with him. It was all about putting something together that was good enough and getting such an understanding of the material that Stephen King would say, 'Yes, that's the way into this story."

For his part, King said in a statement: "I've been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world. Ron, Akiva, Brian, along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for the 'The Dark Tower' series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in 'The Dark Tower' that fans have come to love."

Are you excited for Ron Howard's vision for "The Dark Tower" series?