With Dark Tower Dead, Ron Howard Focuses on Mormons

Earlier this week, Universal pulled the plug on Ron Howard’s ambitious plan to turn Stephen King’s Dark Tower into three movies and a television series, presumably because it was too expensive and they hate gingers. But a man as attractive as Howard isn’t one to be without a dance partner long, and he quickly dipped his pasty red balls into an adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven, an exposé of sorts on the history of Mormonism, with Milk‘s Dustin Lance Black writing the script.

Here’s the book description, from Amazon:

In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers’ claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged. The Mormon Church was founded, in part, on the idea that true believers could speak directly with God. But while the mainstream church attempted to be more palatable to the general public by rejecting the controversial tenet of polygamy, fundamentalist splinter groups saw this as apostasy and took to the hills to live what they believed to be a righteous life. When their beliefs are challenged or their patriarchal, cult-like order defied, these still-active groups, according to Krakauer, are capable of fighting back with tremendous violence. [AmazonReview]

Black is actually a former Mormon himself, who has written for Big Love on HBO and recently wrote a play about Prop 8, a 2006 gay marriage ban in California that the Mormon church helped fund.

Black should know the material well and it sounds like this could have Oscar potential. Mainly because it’s easy to imagine Hollywood’s most powerful Scientologists championing a film about the dark heart of Mormonism. Probably while slowly backing away from the alien-spirit Geiger counter thingie they use to cure autistic kids. “What? No, I don’t know what that is, or whose. …Hey, did you hear about that Momo who murdered his family? Pretty cuckoo, right? Some people will believe the wackiest stuff.”