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Idris Elba & Matthew McConaughey sign on for Stephen King's The Dark Tower

03.01.2016

It's official: THE DARK TOWER is happening, and it's going to feature Idris Elba as the gunslinger Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black. Not only have the two actors tweeted about their involvement with the film, but writer Stephen King had plenty to say regarding his mythic fantasy finally coming to live under the directorial stylings of Nikolaj Arcel (A ROYAL AFFAIR). The story follows a magical gunslinger, Roland, and his quest to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Stephen King spoke at great length to Entertainment Weekly about the film coming to fruition, but I've pulled some of the highlights for you below!

Stephen King on THE DARK TOWER:

The thing is, it’s been a looong trip from the books to the film. 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.

Regarding Idris Elba as The Gunslinger:

I love it. I think he’s a terrific actor, one of the best working in the business now. For me the character is still the character. I [initially] visualized [Clint] Eastwood as Roland. 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. 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.

On Matthew McConaughey playing The Man in Black:

I never really thought of him, but [in the movie] he becomes a character who isn’t just a mirage that Roland is chasing. The way things are set up, he’s right there.

Regarding other fantasy spectacles:

Other people have tried fantasy spectacle. 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.

Production is gearing up to start in 7 weeks' time, with a January 2017 release date in mind. At the moment, the plan is just for the single film, but it's possible that this may branch out into a TV series to help flesh out its story and characters. While I'm wholly unfamiliar with the books of the same name, I know enough people who are insanely excited about this finally coming to life, which in turn piques my curiosity! Story aside, I don't see how you could go wrong with actors like Elba and McConaughey heading up this thing!

THE DARK TOWER is scheduled to hit theaters on January 13, 2017.

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