A film adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel series, The Dark Tower, has been in development for nearly ten years, with the project changing format – from a movie trilogy with a TV series that tied in, to (at the least) one movie – as well as studios, from Universal, to Warner Bros., to Sony Pictures. Not only that, but the project has also had various directors attached during the course of its development, including J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard, as well as various casting possibilities.
In March of this year, however, things were finally made concrete, when King confirmed the movie was going ahead under the guidance of Swedish director, Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair), who has also co-written with Anders Thomas Jansen (In a Better World), Akiva Goldsman (The Divergent Series: Insurgent) and Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2). King also confirmed the casting of the two main roles, with Matthew McConaughey as “The Man in Black”, and Idris Elba as Roland “The Gunslinger” Deschain.
With an ambitious (tentative) release date of February 2017, production has gotten underway quickly, and now the first photos of Elba on set in his “Gunslinger” costume, have emerged. Filming in Cape Town, Elba was spotted walking towards set and also on set against a green screen background. Check out the photos below from Mail Online (via Cinelander Twitter).
The Dark Tower series consists of eight books, and has proven to be one of King’s most popular works. The saga follows Deschain as he tries to track down “The Man in Black” and find the legendary Dark Tower. The western-inspired sci-fi/horror tale is filled with some of King’s best characters – and given its popularity, plus the influence King holds and the fact that Elba is a hot name right now, it makes sense that a strong casting lineup has also been unveiled for the film version.
Joining Elba and McConaughey are Tom Taylor (The Last Kingdom) as Jake Chambers, Deschain’s protege; Michael Barbieri (Little Men) as Timmy; and Fran Kranz (Cabin in the Woods), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road) as “low men”, supporting characters which are on the side of The Man in Black; and Katheryn Winnick (Vikings), who is thought to be playing Jake’s mother.
There’s no doubt that many are looking forward to seeing both Elba and McConaughey tackling these roles; in the photos above, Elba looks the perfect personification of The Gunslinger, but there is still confusion over how Sony is tackling such an large piece of work. Given that Timmy doesn’t appear until the third book in the series, it looks like the decision has been made for some cuts to the novels as they stand, in order to write a screenplay that combines at least three books.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing; fans of King’s novels will attest that he often has a way of weaving many smaller stories in among the main plot points, and some of those could easily be missed out of The Dark Tower movie without losing any of the content surrounding the two main characters. Also, if Sony are making the decision to tackle, say, only the first three or four books, then there is, of course, the potential for there to be at least one sequel made, should The Dark Tower movie prove itself to be popular with fans who have taken the beloved saga to their hearts.
The Dark Tower is set to be released in U.S. theaters on February 17th, 2017.