If you’re like me, the Tower has been calling to you since the moment you shut the cover on the controversial epilogue to the seventh book. (And then again when the 2012 Wind Through the Keyhole Book 4.5 came out.) Maybe you fulfill your cravings with the comic books, but likely the announcement of The Dark Tower film filled you with hope and longing. So many failed movie and TV series attempts had shattered our dreams, but now it’s the real deal.
Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Dark Tower series.
Before Game of Thrones became an HBO series, I’d only heard of it from one friend in my D&D group who read the books fanatically; now it’s a household name. I imagine The Dark Tower will have a similar response. Right now I am one of the rabid fans anxious for the story to be handled with care. I can quote you the important lines, show you the obsessive chart I’ve made of which of King’s books serve the tower (“all things serve the Beam”), gush to you about the tattoo I’ve been planning for years, but most people stare at me blankly. What is this book series you’re obsessed with? What is this movie about?
The latter question is an important one. As more information has been released about the upcoming film, I’ve been asking the same question. Then Entertainment Weekly reported that this movie will be somewhat of a “sequel” to the books and not an adaptation of the first in the series. Here’s what we know so far:
1. The main character, Roland Deschain, has been cast perfectly
Roland Deschain was named after the Robert Browning poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.” I work in a building called the Tower, and I named my laptop Roland so that I may bring this small electrical knight to the tower each day. The story in the eight books centers around this man, this gunslinger, who is antihero, cowboy, and lover. Idris Elba will bring him to the big screen, and nothing has ever been more perfect.
There is a Welsh tale of “Idris Gawr,” or Idris the Giant who was an early Welsh king. Idris Elba too is a giant among mere mortals. Watch Luther, you’ll see what I mean. Stephen King, author of the Dark Tower series, said the actor, “Idris Elba can act with his face. He’s terrific at it. He projects that sense of combined menace and security. [Roland] is the Western hero, the strong, silent type: ‘Yep,’ ‘Nope,’ and ‘Draw.’”
2. The director, Nikolaj Arcel, is a fan
From Entertainment Weekly: “Among King’s obsessive readers is The Dark Tower director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel, a Danish filmmaker who says he learned English as a teen just so he could read King’s books in their native language.”
Arcel is no stranger to dark, gritty stories. He was the screenwriter for the Swedish Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, i.e., the best version of that movie. He also won two Silver Bears (and was nominated for a Globe) for En kongelig affære (A Royal Affair), which starred one of my favorite villain-faced actors, Mads Mikkelsen.
3. Matthew McConaughey
McConaughey was born in 1969, in Uvalde, Texas. He’s the son of an oil
baron company manager, relative of a Confederate soldier, and well-known romantic comedy actor. Thus, perfect to play the character voted most Satanic by those along the Beam.
The How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days actor will play Randall Flagg, evil jerk come to ruin everyone’s day, also seen in such delights as The Stand. The photos of him so far remind me a bit too much of Loki, but after True Detective I believe in McConaughey.
4. Jake will be in this movie
When it was announced that the movie would be a sequel and not an adaptation, I grew concerned. Would Jake be cut from the plot? No, not only will newcomer Tom Taylor certainly be playing the young boy, but the story will center on his character. Co-writer Akiva Goldsman told EW, “The single biggest structural conceit is Jake as the point of entry. Doesn’t every kid at one point think that the things in the shadows are real? Doesn’t every little boy imagine that there is a world that you can’t quite see? New York is literally like that. There’s the feeling of a labyrinth behind the face of the city, and I think that’s really consistent with a child’s imagination and the sense of a magical world hiding just beneath the surface.”
My real question is: WHERE IS ((O)DETTA) SUSANNAH?
5. The internet is a great place for Tower lovers
Information about the film has been steadily rolling out, and the hype is being successfully built. As many fans witnessed, Elba and McConaughey found the perfect social media era way to honor the books:
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) March 1, 2016
— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) March 1, 2016
(For those of you not in the know, the first line of the series is, “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”)
This is a heavy burden, to bring to life the dreams of a fandom such as this. All I ask of the team is that they remember the faces of their fathers.