The Dark tower
The adaptation of Stephen King’s epic heptalogy is finally underway
With a core story originally spanning seven books, and an expanded universe comprising of not just an eighth novel but nearly all of its author’s oeuvre, The Dark Tower is Stephen King’s magnum opus. The legend of gunslinger Roland Deschain and his expedition through the land of Mid-World to reach the eponymous Dark Tower was inspired in equal parts by The Lord Of The Rings and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – and the post-apocalyptic Western trek is finally set to leap from the page and into cinemas next year.
The series is no stranger to talks of adaptations; its history with Hollywood is almost as arduous as Roland’s journey through a world “moved on”. Back in 2007, JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof were in discussions to bring the saga to the big screen across multiple films until progress halted in 2009. Ron Howard was then linked to the project in 2010, which had morphed into a trilogy of films and a tie-in TV series with HBO, but it was passed up by multiple studios. All was not lost, as Sony Pictures announced a reworked project in 2015. Now set to be a single movie helmed by Danish director Nikolaj Arcel, there’s potential for further films or TV expansions if it’s deemed a success.
Filming has already begun in South Africa, and the initial casting announcements have been met with considerable praise. Idris Elba will play Roland Deschain, a character originally based upon Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name. He’ll be squaring off against Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey, who’s the “man in black” Walter Padick – a recurring antagonist in King’s works who also crops up as Randall Flagg in The Stand.
The Magnificent seven
How will Arcel squeeze seven books into a single film? He won’t. Stephen King has already revealed that the film picks up midway through the saga, dashing hopes that this would be an adaptation of just The Gunslinger or The Drawing Of The Three. Watchmen’s Jackie Earle Haley has been cast as Richard Sayre, a character first introduced in book five, suggesting that Wolves Of The Calla could be the entry point.
king for a Day
From Salem’s Lot’s Father Callahan to Hearts In Atlantis’s Ted Brautigan, The Dark Tower shares many characters with King’s other novels. One of the most critical characters of all, however, is Stephen King himself. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the author has dismissed the idea of playing himself if this story arc makes it into an adaptation – surely his son, author Joe Hill, would be the next best choice?
When will Roland serve The beam?
If all goes to plan, the man in black will flee across the desert and the gunslinger will follow on 17 February 2017.