Matthew McConaughey in recent years has moved past romantic comedies and into the spotlight as one of the best and most prominent actors working. Between The Lincoln Lawyer, Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, Kubo and the Two Strings, Gold, or his television turn on True Detective season one, McConaughey built up a quick track record of outstanding performances. It is because of this rise, dubbed the “McConaissance,” that he has continued to get offers to join big franchises, but has instead chosen to help launch a potential one with The Dark Tower.
McConaughey will play Man in Black in The Dark Tower opposite of Idris Elba’s Gunslinger in a live-action adaptation of Stephen King’s novel series of the same name. It is because of the creative freedom he has as an actor with this role that he chose this franchise over others.
He explained this decision during an interview with Playboy, where they brought up his multiple chances to join pre-existing franchises. For McConaughey, the appeal of The Dark Tower over something like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was the chance to be the creator of this character and not being simply filling the big name actor void that every sequel tries to have:
I like Guardians of the Galaxy, but what I saw was “It’s successful, and now we’ve got room to make a colorful part for another big-name actor.” I’d feel like an amendment. The Dark Tower script was well written, I like the director and his take on it, and I can be the creator, the author of the Man in Black—a.k.a. the Devil—in my version of this Stephen King novel. We’ve done the first one. It’s a fantastic thriller that takes place in another realm, an alternate universe, but it’s very much grounded. For instance, the gunslinger’s weapon isn’t a lightsaber or something; it’s a pistol. I enjoyed approaching my character as if I were the Devil having a good time, getting turned on by exposing human hypocrisies wherever he finds them.
It is not entirely surprising that McConaughey passed on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in favor of The Dark Tower after hearing his rational. Even though he would have creative freedom with whatever character he would’ve played in the sequel, The Dark Tower gives him complete control over the character and the chance to be one of the biggest reasons why audiences come to the theater. He would have simply been the cherry on top of the Guardians franchise if he joined, and if he was a villain, there is not a strong likelihood that he would stick around for long.
Even so, McConaughey should have no regrets about his choice when everything is said and done as The Dark Tower remains one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Should it be as successful as they are hoping, McConaughey will have launched a franchise in his own right that he will have the chance to continue to be involved with for years to come.