Every once in a while, casting decisions, or even rumors of casting potentials, lead fans of a franchise to run to their keyboards in outrage, so that they can post their (generally negative) opinions all over the internet for anyone willing to read them. Sometimes, the fans are completely off the mark, such as the anger with Health Ledger’s assignment as The Joker in The Dark Knight, and other times, such as with the excitement to see Daniel Craig pick up the role of James Bond, those fans are spot on. Recently, fans of Stephen King’s magnum opus, The Dark Tower, were ecstatic to learn that the long awaited big screen adaptation of the series was finally on its way. Information on the project has been sparse since the announcement, to say the least, but rumors of Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba being eyed as the series’ stars managed to slip, though their involvement remained unconfirmed. Until now. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, author Stephen King managed to confirm that maybe those rumors aren’t so crazy after all.
For those unfamiliar with the story, The Dark Tower centers around the world’s last gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and his quest to save all of existence by saving The Dark Tower. On his quest, Roland follows The Man in Black, who may finally lead him to his goal, and manages to draw three people from different points in time from New York into his world to help him on his journey. If the series had to be described in pop culture terms, think one part Star Wars, one part Lord of the Rings, and one part Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name series, and you will be in the general vicinity. Every single fan of the series has their opinion on who should play each character, of course, but the biggest question mark has come with the casting of Roland and The Man in Black. Recent rumors place Luther’s Idris Alba in the role of Roland with Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey in the role of his nemesis. Speaking with Rolling Stone about his upcoming Hulu series, 11/22/63, King confirmed the rumors are in fact true. Maybe.
“I think that it’s more likely than not that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey will be in it. But I can’t say with any certainty. I know that they’re trying to make deals with these actors [and] with Sony, and that’s the extent of my knowledge.
So, yes, Sony may indeed be in talks with the duo but interestingly, King’s response doesn’t confirm exactly WHICH roles for which Sony is looking at the pair. There is no doubt that each of the two are great actors who will own any role they are given but when it comes to Elba’s casting as Roland, Sony may be barking up the wrong tree.
Roland is a gunslinger in every sense of the word. When being described, a reader could easily picture Clint Eastwood stepping right into that character. Could McConaughey pull off the role? Absolutely. Could Elba do the same? Well, he could with no problem, if not for one huge complication: Detta Walker.
Without giving too much away, Detta Walker is a woman who is drawn from 1960’s New York, a time rife with civil injustice for African Americans. Detta herself is African American and more than a bit racist when it comes to Roland, referring to him and Eddie Dean, another of Roland’s group drawn from New York, as “honky mahfahs”. For much of the introduction to Detta’s twisted mind, the relationship between her and her unwanted companions is almost fully based on her hatred of anyone white. Casting Elba as Roland would dramatically change that relationship and would affect the story as well. Could the screenwriters somehow work their way around this complication? Sure. Should they? Absolutely not. Fans have been waiting for decades to see Roland and his ka-tet brought to life and while Sony is no doubt more concerned with dollars and cents than fan loyalty, straying so far from such an important relationship would be a very bad idea. Now, Elba as The Man in Black? Yep, pretty sure the fans would be ALL in for that one.
Do you feel that Roland’s relationship with Detta should keep Elba from the role? Which character are you most excited to see on screen?
Source: Rolling Stone