×

‘Dark Tower’ Footage References Overlook Hotel From ‘The Shining’

The Dark Tower” is widely considered to be Stephen King’s masterpiece, but its mind-bending plot and intricate special effects have delayed its transition to the big screen.

Sony is banking that fans of the series of adventure novels will turn out in force this summer, helping the dark fantasy break through at the crowded summer box office. “The Dark Tower” stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger on a mission, and Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black, a mysterious sorcerer. Newcomer Tom Taylor plays an 11-year-old named Jake who dreams about an alternate universe, and discovers a portal to another world.

On Monday, the studio gave theater owners at CinemaCon a sneak peek at the epic battles and elaborate standoffs in store when the film opens on July 28. It was the first time audiences have gotten a look at a project that’s been shrouded in secrecy.

There were plenty of slo-motion shootouts, including one in which McConaughey’s character catches a bullet in his fingers while his back is turned to Elba.

“You’re trying to save the world, but you can’t even save yourself,” McConaughey taunts Elba, promising that the titular tower will crumble.

Popular on Variety

“They say what happens in one world echoes in others,” Elba’s character mutters.

One particularly crowd-pleasing moment saw Elba’s character use his augmented sense of hearing to identify where a creepy-looking assailant is and to save Taylor’s character with a well-placed shot that ricochets off of a house and takes down the bad guy from several yards away.

There have been previous efforts to bring “The Dark Tower” to the big screen, with filmmakers such as J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard circling the project at various points. However, they have been canceled over budget concerns or for artistic reasons. This time, the producers think they’ve cracked the code.

In interviews that accompanied the preview, the filmmakers enthused about bringing King’s world to life, with producer Akiva Goldsman calling it the writer’s “magnum opus.” Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer said that “The Dark Tower” has links to the rest of King’s oeuvre, a group of best-sellers that includes “It” and “Salem’s Lot.”

There may have been a nod to those connections in the footage that screened at CinemaCon. Jake is telling his psychiatrist about his visions and there’s a quick shot of a photograph that appears to show an elaborate mountain resort. It’s a dead ringer for the Overlook Hotel, the creepy retreat where Jack Torrance slowly went insane in King’s classic novel “The Shining.”

More Film

  • Kathy Valentine, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin,

    The Go-Go's on Sundance Doc: Neither 'America's Sweethearts' Nor 'Drug-Crazed Demons'

    Some people might come to a Go-Go’s documentary wanting a purely fun, bubbly experience, based on the effervescence the group projected at its breakthrough peak in the early ’80s. Others might want a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll tell-all, if they’re aware of the tensions and bad habits that led the all-female band to [...]

  • 'The Dissident' Review: Powerful Look at

    'The Dissident': Film Review

    It’s become common, if not cliché, for a critic reviewing a documentary about a turbulent real-world event to write something like, “It exerts the power of a true-life thriller!” Well, make no mistake: “The Dissident” does. Directed by Bryan Fogel, who in 2017 made the Oscar-winning “Icarus” (about the Russian doping of Olympic athletes), the [...]

  • Cathy Yan, Chris Messina, Mary Elizabeth

    Margot Robbie, 'Birds of Prey' Co-Stars Justify the Movie’s R-Rating, Violence and Cussing

    Following the success of “Joker” last year, DC Films is continuing its gritty streak with “Birds of Prey,” a slam-bang adventure about Harley Quinn. Though DC Film’s 2016 tentpole “Suicide Squad” took a critical bashing at the time, filmgoers quickly took a liking to Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn. “Birds of Prey” gives the [...]

  • Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) has

    Film News Roundup: 'The Irishman,' 'Marriage Story' Added to Criterion Collection

    In today’s film news roundup, four Netflix titles have been added to the Criterion Collection, Slamdance and ArcLight are partnering, Steven Grayhm is starring in and directing a paranormal drama, and The Mammoth Film Festival sets its lineup. CRITERION COLLECTION Four Netflix titles will be released on Blu-ray through the Criterion Collection — Martin Scorsese’s [...]

  • Bong Joon Ho 'Parasite' Director

    Listen: Who Will Take Home the Oscars for Best Director and Picture?

    The Oscars are just two weeks away, so it’s time to start making final predictions about who is going to win. On this week’s episode of “The Big Ticket,” Variety and iHeart’s movie podcast, I invited the magazine’s deputy awards and features editor (and my “Pick of the Week” co-host) Jenelle Riley onto the show [...]

  • Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

    'Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets': Film Review

    “Smile for the camera, motherf—ers,” warns the graffiti outside the Roaring Twenties, a Las Vegas dive bar where spirits are high because the end is nigh. The boozers who’ve braved this dim red cave, in Bill and Turner Ross’ bitterly funny docufiction film “Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets,” have signed on to play themselves in an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content