After years of ups and downs and development hell, the Stephen King adaptation THE DARK TOWER is finally moving forward, with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey officially signed on to play the gunslinger Roland and his adversary The Man in Black.
Filming will begin in South Africa in seven weeks, with Nikolaj Arcel directing from a screenplay he wrote with Anders Thomas Jensen, Akiva Goldsman, and Jeff Pinkner. Goldsman is producing through his company Weed Road, along with Imagine Entertainment's Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Erica Huggins. Pinkner is executive producing.
For a while, the plan was to adapt King's eight novel saga into a trilogy, with seasons of a TV series airing between the films. There is still hope that the filmmakers will be able to put a version of that very ambitious plan into play, but it depends on the success of this first movie. As of right now, this is the only DARK TOWER film being planned.
THE DARK TOWER will not be a direct adaptation of the first novel in the series, The Gunslinger, although King assures fans that the film will begin with that book's opening line: "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed." The story pulls inspiration from other books in the series; King says that the movie starts "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 adds, "A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world." That makes me think there might be a good amount of the second novel, The Drawing of the Three, in there.
King and Arcel did an extensive interview with Entertainment Weekly where they discuss the decisions that are being made for the adaptation and address the controversy surrounding Elba's casting. I highly recommend that fans go over to EW.com and give it a read.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD's Abbey Lee is said to be in talks to play a character named Tirana, but Arcel focused solely on Elba and McConaughey for this announcement.
THE DARK TOWER is expected to reach theatres on January 13, 2017.