nerd radio

Get ready for the new daily show

Stephen King talks The Dark Tower movie risks PLUS new international trailer hits…

July 14th, 2017 by Marc 1 Comment

We all know that Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter were big leaps of faith when it came to putting them on the big screen, but for many there’s another big book series that is more important than any other and feels like a big risk transferring to the big screen… Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.

I, personally, first dipped into the world of The Dark Tower when I was 13-years-old; I was already a fan of Stephen King but nothing could prepare me for my finding of the world of Roland of Gilead and Mid-World. And the agonising wait in-between books after the third one came out.

It was a series that I have revisited several times over the years and I always find myself connected to Roland and his Ka-tet in a way no other story has ever made me feel. Yes, even Star Wars.

And I’ll not lie, I’m worried about the movie version which comes out next month. For several reasons. I’m worried about the casting of Idris Elba – and not because I have an issue with a black actor in a role written for a white man (I’m a massive fan of Elba) but because his race is actually part of the story on the page and, as far as I can see, it means we’ll never see Suzannah/Odetta in the movies – a strong, fierce black woman who seems to have been written out of this tale and it seems it was partly because of Roland now being black.

I’m also worried because the movie looks like an action movie – don’t get me wrong, the tale has plenty of action – but it’s primarily a journey into history, mythology and pop culture to name but a few aspects. The tone looks, well, wrong and my fear is that this could easily become the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie in comparison to the original source material.

And it seems that creator/writer/wordslinger Stephen King realises there are risks here too: “It never seemed likely to me that someone would come along and want to make a film out of it,” King says of the journey to bring the Tower to a new cinema-going audience.

“There were things from time to time, when people would talk about the possibility, but I never took it seriously.”

Of course fans of the Tower (and this site) will know that the journey has indeed been interesting with JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse trying to make it happen in 2007 then, in 2010, Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman had Javier Bardem in the lead role as Roland Deschain (now played by Elba) with several movies and a TV series the plan. A plan which may still happen with this adaptation.

However, while Goldsman is still on writing duties Howard has been replaced by first time director (and fan of the source material) Nikolaj Arcel who, to his extreme credit, was writer of the Swedish version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo adaptation.

“I like Akiva Goldsman as a writer very much,” says King. “[Akiva] said, ‘Why don’t we start in media res, in the middle of the story?’ Akiva’s idea and Nic’s idea, was to say, ‘Maybe this is the second time around for Roland Deschain…’”

This makes the movie a more interesting prospect than most book-film adaptations because it is actually acting as a sequel and a retelling of the story as it is established SPOILERS in the books that Roland may have carried out his quest several times but will continue to do so until it is completed SPOILERS END.

While King approved the casting of Elba he adds: “in the books, it’s never said that Roland Deschain is a Caucasian person” and while the word is never used explicitly, he is numerous times referred to as being white – especially by Suzannah/Odetta – and is described as looking like Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. And, as I said before, this forms a very big part of who he is in relation to who Suzannah is in the tale – a big part of the adventure and how it pans out.

As for Matthew McConaughey as Walter/The Man In black, King says: “to me, he was always Walter, pretty much the way I’d imagined him. When people fall back from him in fear, you understand why”.

King adds that the risk is big with this adventure as it “is something completely new that melds the Western with fantasy. This is a risky project. It’s not backed up by a bunch of comic books. [It’s] scary. But I’m happy with what we’ve got.

Well, there has been eight novels (so far) and there has even been a load of comics too (although nowhere near as many as Batman, Superman or Avengers, true) but ultimately it will all come down to just how much of King’s tale comes through in the new script and on to the screen. That’s the challenge and the scary part…

We’ll all know if it paid off come August.

In the meantime, long days and pleasant nights…

Oh and here’s a new International trailer for the movie:

Source: Empire

Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….