Interlude: The Dark Tower

Day 56. 193 pages, 91,217 words.

Did you know this was probably-sort-of-maybe happening?

Did you know they’d offered Matthew McConaughey the part of Walter?

Did you know that Aaron Paul was talking about playing Eddie?

Did you know they were looking at IDRIS ELBA FOR THE PART OF ROLAND?

Well, now you know.

I had absolutely no idea this was happening. I haven’t really followed Dark Tower news since the book series ended. I know there’s a comic book adaptation which is meant to be great, and there has been talk about movies, television shows, mini-series and all sorts, forever. But it’s just such a huge project.

I still suspect it’s going to wind up in Production Hell, and I even more strongly suspect that Elba was just pipped here in order to generate buzz, both positive and negative. So what the heck, I don’t care, I’ll add to the buzz. I really like the idea of Elba as Roland. He’s maybe a bit too well-built – I consider Roland’s lankiness to be his defining characteristic – but otherwise, really cool. I mean, they can’t get a 40-year-old Clint Eastwood, so any alternative is going to be a distant second. I hear “Scott Eastwood” thrown around, but I don’t know about that.

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Idris Elba in EVERYTHING!

Anyway, sure, I think there’s definitely such a thing as a flavour-of-the-month actor being cast in all sorts of stuff just because it’s fashionable, and that can get irritating. And I’m awkwardly aware that there are probably political / racial / cultural motivations at work here. But I can’t help but think this would be fun to see. Mainly, I think I’m excited about the Dark Tower series happening any way it possibly can, and if it can have decent actors involved that would be a bonus. And Idris Elba can act. Simple as that. I haven’t seen him do a bad job yet, and he has spent a couple of movies holding a sword and wearing gold contact lenses[1], and then there was that movie where he was called Stacker Pentecost. And I still liked it.

[1] Because everybody cared that the Norse Gods probably didn’t have a token black guy, did they?

There were some really interesting points in the comments sections of these various stories, though. I know you don’t often see someone say that, but I suppose Nerdist has a decent readership. Issues worth thinking about include the problematic pop culture references (snitches and lightsabers, for example), and how they’re going to deal with that. Also, possibly, tie-ins with other King movies (particularly The Stand). Will they do that shit? Will they re-make those parts, or will they just gloss over it all?

Stephen King, of course, could play himself at last. They’d better get a move on with the films though, because he’s not getting any younger (and those minivan drivers aren’t getting any more careful … sorry).

The character of Susannah was also cited as an issue once Elba was suggested as the lead. This sort of makes sense because the main character and plot arc with Odetta / Detta / Susannah is entirely to do with her race. On the other hand, Roland is from another world entirely so I don’t see how his colour is going to have much bearing on that. It will probably affect their interaction (she won’t be able to call him a HONK MAFAH), but I can see several ways the writers could get around it.

All in all, I’m excited about this and it looks like 2017 is shaping up to be a great year. But if they make a whole movie series out of the books, I’m worried that they’re going to end up with the same problem the Narnia series had – specifically, that the final few books are comparatively weak and definitely less popular, and getting the audience to follow them into three or four 2-hour-plus movies (not to mention a television series) might be a challenge.

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12 Responses to Interlude: The Dark Tower

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    Can you play that gif you used in the comment yesterday in reverse for my reaction to your questions here? I’m not even going to apologize for not being OK with just switching what is CLEARLY the identified race of the main character of one of my favorite series of all time, because “white privilege”. The less said here, the better. I can see, of COURSE, the problems with the movie (Detta, primarily), if they DIDN’T make a move like this. I don’t care. Make the movie match the books, or I can’t promise I’ll watch it.

    • stchucky says:

      Sure, I don’t see that as a problem. Whether or not you like the idea of someone playing the role of a storybook character is entirely subject to your interpretation of and feelings about that character. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Cheers, bruv. (I learned more British slang this week) Thinking about it more, this is exactly it, because I have pictured these books in my head as movies over and over as I read them. This, even with just the change to the main character, is a different movie. And I would watch that movie if it weren’t trying to be THIS movie. Didn’t see Django yet because violent movies are hard on the missus, but I fully intend to. Make more of those movies and I’ll watch them, that IS a promise. As long as they’re good, LOL

    • stchucky says:

      And I repeat, I tend to doubt this will ever actually happen, and certainly not with Elba. I’m thinking he probably wouldn’t touch this project with a fifty-foot pole.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        “And I repeat, I tend to doubt this will ever actually happen, and certainly not with Elba. I’m thinking he probably wouldn’t touch this project with a fifty-foot pole.”

        Just because he’s too busy, or for other reasons? Because your idiom there at the end implies more than just not having time.

      • stchucky says:

        The aforementioned Production Hell. And this being a story with so many moving parts, it seems almost doomed to fail. I just think he’d be too canny to sign on for it (not that I know a damn thing about him, and judging by the critical receptions of each of his separate works there’s not exactly a pattern there – I’m just giving him some credit for knowing the business).

        Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see it done and I’d love even more to see it done perfectly. But there are a lot of Stephen King adaptations out there, and it’s really mainly the little ones that turn out right.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Fair enough. I tend to believe that lessons have been learned from those failures of the past, and (this casting “option” aside) the industry is far more capable, and SK far richer and therefore likewise more capable, of making something like this work. Which of course has nothing to do with how Elba would view it.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Wow, I set off a small twitter firestorm, tweeting about that to SargonofAkkad. Turns out he’s a fan of the series as I had hoped, and the rest is history. Predictable history. He actually replied in ALL CAPS XD

        Can’t wait for his epic video.

      • stchucky says:

        Bahahaha neat! This I have to see.

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        I see what you did there *points to twitter*

      • stchucky says:

        Pluggers gotta plug.

  2. Pingback: The Dark Tower (a review) | Hatboy's Hatstand

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