Okay, okay here's the deal: Stephen King's The Dark Tower novel series is far and away my favorite collection of books, by about a million miles. Forgive me Dana, but even The Lord of the Rings doesn't compare in my mind, and that's why it's so exciting to find out that my favorite fictional characters are finally that much closer to having their story shared on film. The Dark Tower series is a set of 8 books published over the span of 30 years and totaling over 4,250 pages. These books can also be linked to several of King's other works through characters and settings. Ultimately, The Dark Tower Octology (if that's a word) truly is King's magnum opus; his crowning literary jewel.
The books are set in a distant Land known as Mid-World, and they follow the story of Roland Deschaine who was descended from the heroic legend, King Arthur. The story carries a great deal of American Wild West similarities while infusing both magical and spiritual elements into the narrative. The Dark Tower focuses on Roland, also known as The Gunslinger, as he travels across his world in an attempt to reach The Dark Tower, which is said to be the nexus of all universes.
The Dark Tower series is one of those books that immediately drew me in, I was hooked from the first page, heck even the first full paragraph had me wanting for more..
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts, huge, standing to the sky for what looked like eternity in all directions. It was white and blinding and waterless and without feature save for the faint, cloudy haze of the mountains which sketched themselves on the horizon and the devil-grass which brought sweet dreams, nightmares, death. An occasional tombstone sign pointed the way, for once the drifted track that cut its way through the thick crust of alkali had been a highway. Coaches and buckas had followed it. The world had moved on since then. The world had emptied.
Roland's story is as deep and powerful as any other that's been written - which is why I've been chomping at the bit to see it come to Hollywood. For a while fans of the series thought that it would never see the light of day. There has been rumor after rumor swirling about the series finally becoming a feature film. With every rumor our hopes were dashed as the rights to the film were passed between studios -Universal then Warner Brothers - before finally coming to Tom Rothman at Sony Pictures. Sony has decided that they want to bring The Dark Tower to theaters and have it be their cinematic universe as the films (much like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings) will be too expansive to fit into one simple movie. Sony has made it clear that they hope to share the entire story of The Gunslinger, with this first movie focusing primarily on the first book, aptly titled 'The Gunslinger.'
Just as rumors swirled about whether the book would become a movie, so did the rumors of who would be cast as the leading man. Over the years we've seen names thrown at it like Russell Crowe, Javier Bardem, Clint Eastwood and even Matthew McConoughey given his choice of either The Gunslinger, or the antagonist, The Man in Black (rumors are that he's the front runner for the latter character). Now, a new rumor has been circulating, and it seems to be so out of left field, that I now couldn't imagine it not being this actor anymore. Idris Elba is rumored to be in early talks to take on the mantle of The Gunslinger, Roland Deschaine.
This is far from official though
Regardless of its validity, it would be a huge leap forward for The Dark Tower saga-to-be-movie. Now, putting aside all the purist complaints that Roland was originally a white protagonist, and bringing Elba in to fill the stoic gunslinger could be an incredibly inspired casting call. Elba can play the badass gunslinger (The Losers, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Beasts of No Nation), as well as play the stoic yet quick-witted hero (Prometheus, Pacific Rim, Thor).
Bringing the talents and prestige that an actor like Idris Elba into Stephen King's epic story would bring new life into the brilliant tale. It would also give director Nikolaj Arcel some high-caliber talent to push out what is bound to be an incredible initial installment to the film series.