It’s been one long winding road, but the adaptation for Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower is finally here. Last year, both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey were in talks to appear in the film.
Now after some negotiation, it appears that the two are confirmed for these roles. More on the story below.
King confirmed the casting on Twitter, which was followed up by tweets from both Elba and McConaughey. We have embedded both tweets here. As you can see, Elba will be playing The Gunslinger, the protagonist of the film. He will be pursuing McConaughey, who plays the film’s big bad villain, The Man In Black.
EW says The Dark Tower will film in South Africa for seven weeks. King is fully behind Elba’s casting, calling him “a terrific actor” and “one of the best working in the business now.” He does admit he saw “[Clint] Eastwood as Roland,” but then added that Eastwood’s roles in those spaghetti westerns served as an inspiration and that the character of Roland became its own person.
The Man In Black has a mysterious brooding essence to him. Some have compared him to the shark in Jaws because you never really see him. The fact that he also goes by many different aliases adds to that mystery.
The film will be directed by co-writer Nikolaj Arcel (2009’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Royal Affair). Here’s what Arcel had to say about casting McConaughey as The Man in Black:
“Matthew is an incredible actor who can do anything. That’s how I feel about Walter Padick. He could do anything.”
What makes this character particularly special is that he has also appeared in other Stephen King novels. The same villain has appeared in both The Stand and the fantasy The Eyes of the Dragon. Here’s what Arcel had to say about the character:
“He is this timeless sorcerer, and being a Stephen King fan, I’ve read and experienced Walter in various iterations. He has a very interesting way of seeing the world. He sees it with a sort of delight, even though he is obviously on the wrong side of the light-and-dark spectrum. He’s someone I’ve been having a lot of fun with.”
The Dark Tower is a six-shooter-and-sorcery tale that spans eight novels, assorted comic books, and short stories. Arcel would not say which novel he would adapt for the screenplay, only providing this cryptic hint: “A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world.” King however, offered this answer:
“[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they’ll get behind it, because it is the story.”
For those who may not be familiar with the series of novels, The Dark Tower is set in an alternate version of the American Old West, where magic and sorcery exist. Instead of sword-wielding knights being legendary heroes, there are cowboys with six-shooters and revolvers. The Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, is on a quest to catch the man in black and reach the titular Dark Tower, which stands at the nexus point in time and space.
The adaptation has been through a series of ups and downs, which includes conceptual changes, actors like Russell Crowe and Javier Bardem being attached, and studio changes. In the end, Sony would be the one to pick up the distribution rights for the film, and gave Arcel the job to direct the film.
Sony Pictures will release The Dark Tower into theaters on January 13, 2017.