For the second time, a movie adaptation of the classic book serial has fallen apart. Also today: Law & Order rips from a new headline, Helen Mirren pinch hits, and some exciting Game of Thrones news.

  • Yes, once again a big-time adaptation of Stephen King's book series The Dark Tower, a sort of sci-fi horror western, has fallen through. The first time it was J.J. Abrams trying to put together a project, this time it was Ron Howard. Howard actually got kind of far, going so far as to cast Javier Bardem in the lead and everything. But now the enterprise — the three movies, the spin-off TV series — has crumbled and Universal has officially shut the whole damn thing down. I guess it's just too big a project to tackle. That or it's, y'know, cursed. I mean it is a Stephen King story. They have trouble adapting lots of his stuff! It's spooky! Though luckily, and spookily, for all of us, Michele Bachmann's joint adaptation of Carrie and Cujo, with a little Zelda from Pet Sematary thrown in for good measure, appears to be going along smoothly. [THR]
  • Remember a few months ago when everyone found out that Arnold Schwarzenegger is basically Lord Walder Frey in that he has a billion kids from a billion different moms? (Sorry for the Game of Nerds reference!) It was a big deal and everyone tsk-tsked, but thankfully no murders happened because of it. Until now! Yes, because of course, Law & Order: Sexy Victims' Units has ripped the Arnie story from the headlines and will make a made-up murder story about it for their little program. Obviously it's about Manhattan power players instead of California ones, BUT there is a "wealthy, entitled son, Tripp" which is very exciting because that's supposed to be Patrick Schwarzenegger and we all know how everyone feels about Patrick Schwarzenegger. (Chaste and friendly because he's a child.) Also: "Tripp." That is a perfect name for that character. I am excited about this! Too bad B.D. Wong won't be around to analyze everyone's mental condish. [TV Line]
  • Oh speaking of Game of Thrones! HBO has announced casting for two big second-season characters. The great Stephen Dillane (The Hours, John Adams) has been cast as stern, humorless Stannis Baratheon, which is very solid casting. And a Dutch actress named Carice van Houten (Black Book, Tom Cruise's wife in Valkyrie) has been cast as the priestess/sorceress/who-knows-what Melisandre, who gives counsel to Stannis in his quest for the throne. Ugh, that sounds like such a Fantasy Novel plotline, and it is, but it's also good and interesting! I have these books a bit on my brain right now because I'm nearing the end of the third one and something HUGEMONGOUS just happened and I want to talk about itttttttt. Ahem. Professionalism. Doctor says to try to quiet my brain noises as often as I can. Professionalism. Sorry. Here's where you can read about this news item: [EW]
  • Bette Midler had to step out of HBO's upcoming Phil Spector biopic (in which Al Pacino is lookin' good) because of a herniated disc, so in steps Helen freakin' Mirren, playing Spector's lawyer for his first murder trial. Hm. Are Bette Midler and Helen Mirren really analogues of each other? Seems strange. And in a weird way I'd much rather see Midler in that role, just because it's so out-of-the-box for her. We know Mirren can do it, because she does everything. But darn it, it'd be fun to see Bette do some drama again. Get outta the bathhouse and into the, I don't know, outhouse? Where the shit goes down? Ew. Sorry. Anyway, there you have it. [Deadline]
  • Dreamy gay person Dustin Lance Black has written a play, or sort of culled together a bunch of actual quotes à la The Laramie Project, about Proposition 8. 8, which is mostly based on transcripts from the trial against Prop 8 and will get a Broadway reading directed by gay theater man of the moment Joe Mantello in September, is also going to be staged at colleges around the country much in the fashion of The Vagina Monologues. So, really nothing silly to say about that! Sounds good and, y'know, important or whatevurrrrrrrrr. Duhduhduh. Let's talk about more fantasy magicks. [NYT]
  • Bloodthirsty wildling from the frozen north of Beyond-the-Wall Sarah Palin recently had that documentary The Undefeated made about her, and now that documentary is adding theaters in its second week of release. Yes, "the film will open in additional AMC Theatres in Tucson, Ariz., West Palm Beach, Fla., Milwaukee, Wis., Charlotte, N.C., and Ontario, Calif." Hm. Where is Northampton, MA? Where is Rockridge, CA? Where is Austin, TX?? I don't understand why this movie is only available in certain places. It's almost as if this isn't a super-informative documentary all, just a piece of rah-rah'ing about certain people's hero and it's just for them to go see and feel good. Which is fine! Just maybe don't act like it's some informative thing or whatever. [THR]