Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series has been struggling to make it to the big screen for years; J.J. Abrams was connected to the project in 2007, Universal Studios picked it up in 2010, it moved to Warner Bros. in 2012, and then ended up at Sony Pictures in 2015. Sony set a release date in 2017 for the first film in the series, with production expected to start in early 2016.
Now, word comes that a major character in the series may be cast soon, with Matthew McConaughey filling the role. Conflicting reports have come out as to which character McConaughey might be playing, however.
News originally broke at The Wrap that McConaughey is in the running to play the gunslinger himself, Roland Deschain, but THR later reported that McConaughey was actually up for the part of villain Walter Padick (also known as the Man in Black or Randall Flagg.) The Wrap updated its story with news that McConaughey had actually been offered both parts and was leaning more toward the villain than the hero. All of the sources involved agree that the actor is only in early negotiations for the part, though.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that McConaughey has been linked with the character of Randall Flagg. About a year ago, rumors were circulating that McConaughey was being courted for the role of Flagg in director Josh Boone’s film adaptation of The Stand, a rumor that Boone denied while admitting that he was interested in McConaughey for a different role. Little has been said of that project since it was announced that it was slated for release as a four-film series a year ago, however.
It seems a bit strange that McConaughey would play two different characters in at least somewhat related Stephen King properties, so it’s possible that McConaughey was never attached to The Stand. In a perfect world, the casting and filming schedules of the two films would line up in such a way that McConaughey could play the Flagg role in both of them (despite Boone’s insistence that he wasn’t interested in the actor for the part of Flagg.) Even if that doesn’t happen, it would be interesting to see him in the role of Flagg in The Dark Tower since he generally fills the role of protagonist in his films.
Of course, any property with as many fans as The Dark Tower likely has countless fan castings that don’t include Matthew McConaughey in any role. He doesn’t seem like that bad of a fit for either Deschain or Flagg, however, especially given the generally laid back “down home” personality that he typically has onscreen.
The Dark Tower: Gunslinger is currently slated for release on January 13, 2017.