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Ron Howard moves from “Dark Tower” to “Banner of Heaven”

By G. Clay Whittaker Warner Bros. has announced its intent to have Ron Howard as director for a major adaptation of “Under the Banner of Heaven,” just days after Universal rejected another adaptation project.

In the 2003 Jon Krakauer book of the same name, two members of a fundamentalist Mormon sect claim that they murdered the wife and child of their brother on orders from god. The story traces the history of the fundamentalist sect and its place in the whole of Mormonism.

The Wrap reported that the deal and the rights acquisition are moving ahead. Thankfully Dustin Lance Black has been tapped to write the script. His previous credits (Gus Van Sant’s “Milk” and Clint Eastwood’s upcoming “J. Edgar”), and the Oscar sitting on his desk, give the scriptwriting enough bona fides not to worry critics. The concern is that Howard may be spread too thin.

It’s been kind of a what-the-f#%@ year for Howard. Universal is passing on his TV-and-film adaptation of Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series, which was constructed (ambitiously and poorly) to be split between the small and silver screens.

But Howard is also currently working on “Rush,” a Formula-1 racing biopic with Chris Hemsworth of “Thor” fame. And we’ll assume that if the “Arrested Development” movie ever happens, he’ll be required to do some narration work. IMDb can’t keep up, and it’s probably going to be hard for Howard to keep up either.

So where will he fit all of this in? There’s probably an Andy Griffith episode about biting off more than you can chew, but they all run together. Here’s hoping the same doesn’t happen with all of these projects, because for now it looks like Howard is in over his head.

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