The Dark tower

The adap­ta­tion of Stephen King’s epic hep­ta­l­ogy is fi­nally un­der­way

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Spotlight -

Dark­ness falls

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.

Howard’s End

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.

Tower rangers

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.

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