As far back as I can remember, I've been an avid reader. From the days of looking for Where the Wild Things Are to saying Goodnight Moon. I spent hours reading about what would happen If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and I snuggled up with The Giving Tree while eating my Green Eggs and Ham. Once I grew, my taste in books grew as well. I started looking for books with more substance, and when I found what I was looking for I couldn't put the books down. I fell in love with The Giver, spent countless hours getting Goosebumps, solved mysteries with The Hardy Boys, and changed it up with the Animorphs.
I read them all. If I could get my hands on a book I read-no-devoured it. My books brought me to new worlds and gave me inspiration to imagine myself in the stories. Reading as avidly as I did led me to discover new stories, new characters and new authors. Then one day I was given a book that would ultimately change my understanding of what made a story more than just words on the page. That book was called The Gunslinger by Stephen King. I was 14 and my entire world changed as I read:
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
Wait, what!? Who is the man in black, who is the gunslinger? How I got drawn into the story with only these 12 words I will never know but I am so glad that I found this brilliantly crafted story of the gunslinger, Roland Deschain. I sped through the book, devouring every word that Stephen King, my new favorite wordsmith, had crafted. I had never read Stephen King before, so I went to the library to see if he had written anything else. Little did I know that he had countless other works to read, to top off my excitement, there were 3 other books in the Dark Tower series, which the Gunslinger serving as just the beginning.
I let out a quiet squeal as I ran to the mystery section of the library and grabbed all that I could fit my arms around and I sped home on my bike to read every last sentence. I flipped through the pages of: The Drawing of the Three, The Wasteland and finally Wizard and Glass and before long I was craving more. I needed more of the story. I felt I needed it like I needed air in my lungs. I waited anxiously for the next additions to the story to be published. While I waited, I re-read the books that I now owned.
I found myself disappearing into the deserts of the 'world that has moved on' all the time. I would imagine the scenes described as if I were truly there, experiencing it and becoming a part of the story.
I was filled with a childlike joy when I discovered that there was a movie in the making. I couldn't believe that my favorite story was becoming a feature film. I waited anxiously for any tidbit that I could find, yet my hopes were dashed as year after year my beloved Roland was wasting away in development hell. I felt as though I would never find peace until I saw Roland grace the screen, and over the last few years I've been gathering small whiffs of rumors about the future of The Dark Tower Franchise. For years the movie has bounced from production house to production house and has had many directorial attachments, from Steven Spielberg to Ron Howard and J.J. Abrams at one point. I had almost lost hope of it ever reaching a studio and director that could get it off the ground.
Then last week, I saw the confirmation that there is finally a director to helm this grandiose world. Nikolaj Arcel has confirmed his attachment to the film. Arcel is known primarily for his writing rather than his directing, although he has had some stellar films released in Denmark. Arcel, as I stated is known for his writing and screenplay work: Antboy, A Royal Affair, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and several other works. This gives me great faith in the potential of the film. With that confirmation, it's also been announced that the production team of Sony & Mrc are gearing The Dark Tower to be it's franchise to combat with Marvel, DC & Star Wars. A big task and a difficult one for sure but I think one that is plausible given the epic story line to work with.
So the director is on board. The story is written (sort of), and although it will go through a few revisions with the newly named director, the only question that remains is who could star in this big screen rendition of my all-time favorite story. Here are my choices:
Roland's character gets his name from a Browning poem entitled "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" but his mannerisms and looks came from a spaghetti Western film starring Clint Eastwood. Roland is the last surviving gunslinger, whose life goal is to climb to the top of the Dark Tower assuming it to be the very center of existence. He pursues the man in black as he strives to right all the wrongs in this land. Roland strives for the Tower obsessively to the point that success is his only option. Survival is his only purpose, and he cannot imagine any other outcome besides finding the Tower. Roland broods and is filled with an uncaring, unflinching drive to finish what he started.
So finding an actor based on Clint Eastwood that can embody this relentless desire to live and reach the fable Dark Tower is a tall order, but I can think of a couple possible actors who could claim the mantle of The Gunslinger.
These four actors are my short list to fill Roland's shoes. Roland is ruthless and cunning, driven by the loss of all that he held dear. He is a tragic hero, in the sense that he carries such guilt for his hand in the losses he has endured. All 4 of these actors could easily convey the mannerism that I have grown to love about Roland.
Jake, the symbolic son of Roland, (eventually becoming his adopted son) is the strongest bond that the Gunslinger has in his travels to reach the Dark Tower. Jake is an eleven year old boy from New York. He accompanies Roland on his quest in pursuit of the Man in Black. He is resourceful and through a series of tragic and odd events he joins the curmudgeon we know as Roland.
Jake is fearless, and has a strong survival instinct. He has a reserved personality and takes signs and hints from the universe very seriously, often overwhelmed by it all. He desires to find where he belongs in the greater scheme of questing for the Dark Tower.
Both of these young actors could play the role of Jake well. Filling the reserved demeanor and ability to sense things that will be of significance later would be an easy task for either of these actors.
The Man in Black
The Dark Tower series is full of villains, but none has the far reaching and overarching impact as the Man in Black. He goes by many names: Walter O'Dim, Marten Broadcloak and ultimately, Randall Flagg. He is a demonic sorcerer and emissary of the Crimson King, the ultimate evil known across the land. At a young age, he burned down his home and sought his father Maerlyn, a sorcerer and demon.
As far as villains go, these 3 can easily portray the sinister aspects well. They have the ability to ooze nasty and dastardly scheming.