Last month, we got word that the long-gestating adaptation of Stephen King’s epic fantasy series The Dark Tower has dragged itself out of development hell, with Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) set to direct Idris Elba (Luther) as the gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as the villainous Man in Black.
Yesterday, Stephen King took to Twitter to confirm the news, quoting the first line of The Gunslinger, the first book in the series, and also spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the adaptation…
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 1, 2016
“The thing is, it’s been a looong trip from the books to the film,” states King. “When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little shitty cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally this thing is actually in pre-production now. I’m delighted, and I’m a little bit surprised… [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.”
“I visualized [Clint] Eastwood as Roland,” states King, with regards to the casting of the gunslinger. “I loved the Spaghetti Westerns and all those widescreen close-ups of his face, especially the ones where he’d been left out in the desert and was all covered with blisters and sunburn. I thought, ‘That’s my Roland.’ As the years went by, [the character] became a more particular individual in my own mind. He wasn’t Eastwood anymore. He was just … Roland. For me the character is still the character. It’s almost a Sergio Leone character, like ‘the man with no name’. He can be white or black, it makes no difference to me. I think it opens all kind of exciting possibilities for the backstory.”
“Other people have tried fantasy spectacle,” King continues. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it works really well when it’s based on a series of books, like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, and sometimes it doesn’t. What I have to go back to is this: We have Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, two great actors. You’ve got a great production team and Akiva Goldsman as the primary script writer. The team is in place, so we’ll hope for the best.”
King will serve as executive producer on The Dark Tower, along with Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins.