It’s been a long time in the making, but The Dark Tower is finally getting a film adaptation and what a cast it’s assembling. Confirming long-standing casting rumours, author Stephen King said both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey had been recruited to star as The Gunslinger and The Man in Black and respectively.
King and the movie’s director, Nikolaj Arcel, spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the plan to begin adapting the sprawling magnum opus of King’s bibliography: “The thing is, it’s been a looong trip from the books to the film,” King said.
“When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little sh-tty cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally this thing is actually in pre-production now.”
He added: “I’m delighted, and I’m a little bit surprised.”
Arcel says the studio are aiming for a July 2017 release and was full of praise for King: “What Stephen King does best is mixing the everyday, or what you might call the mundane, with the fantastical,” he said. “In my view, [The Dark Tower] novels are a mix between sci-fi and fantasy and modern times. That exact mix is so Stephen King.”
And in what will be pleasing for hardened King fans, the movie will open with the very first line from the first book (The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed) : “It should start that way,” King said. “I’ve been pretty insistent about that.”
However, the fans may not be pleased to know the story starts halfway through the book: “[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.”
Arcel explained his logic behind casting Elba as Roland Deschain: “For me, it just clicked. He’s such a formidable man,” says Arcel, who says he’s been a fan of Elba’s since The Wire. “I had to go to Idris and tell him my vision for the entire journey with Roland and the ka-tet. We discussed, who is this character? What’s he about? What’s his quest? What’s his psychology? We tried to figure out if we saw the same guy. And we absolutely had all the same ideas and thoughts. He had a unique vision for who Roland would be.”