Idris Elba says the relationship between The Gunslinger and Jake Chambers will be an essential part of The Dark Tower. Nikolaj Arcel’s cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s epic body of work, The Dark Tower, is just a few months from release. The first trailer for the movie introduced the characters; Roland Deschain (Elba), The Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), and Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor).
Roland and the Man in Black are not of this world; The Man in Black spans all worlds and timelines, while Roland comes from Mid-World, somewhere that is akin to our Wild West of old. Mid-World is now in ruins, and Roland is the last in the line of Gunslingers. On a quest to reach the titular Dark Tower, he meets a young boy, Jake, who is from our world.
Since The Dark Tower movie draws influence from across all of King’s books in the series, viewers will see Jake bringing Roland back to modern day New York, something that is bound to raise eyebrows on both sides. In an interview with Empire, Elba stated that the relationship between the old, world-weary Gunslinger, and the young, inquisitive and enthusiastic Jake, is at the center of the movie throughout:
“The relationship is the central heartbeat. The worlds are huge and weird, and it’s a lot to take in if you haven’t got anything to bite onto.”
That relationship is also the focus of the books, along with other characters who later join the pair, so fans of King’s work will be pleased to note that it remains so in the movie. It will be a steep learning curve for both. In The Dark Tower books, though Roland first visits New York without Jake, it is one of the more humorous moments of the story, as he discovers hot dogs, soda, and aspirin, among other things. In the accompanying movie still released (see above), Roland doesn’t exactly blend in as he and Jake walk down the street, but neither does Jake seem to care.
Again, that’s one of the beauties of King’s work; the relationship that Roland and Jake build is odd in the eyes of others, but never so for them. There’s definitely an element of parent/child there, and student/teacher. but there’s also a deep rooted affection and friendship, and it’ll be good to see that focused on. Whether events for Jake and Roland will follow the course of the first book, remain to be seen, but undoubtedly, The Man in Black will try to use that relationship against Roland, and for his own advantage.