Javier Bardem or Viggo Mortensen To Lead ‘The Dark Tower’ Franchise?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

In what is looking like one of the coveted roles in Hollywood, the search is now on for who will lead the movie and TV adaptation of Stephen King’s monumental book series, The Dark Tower.

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer have already mentioned a few names as possibilities to lead The Dark Tower, including Viggo Mortensen, Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman and Jon Hamm (who is also rumored to play Superman in the upcoming reboot). However, there are fresh rumors now floating around of a new candidate being thrown into the mix.

According to sources over at NY Post, The Dark Tower adaptation has set off a “casting frenzy” in Hollywood for the lead role of Roland Deschain. Reportedly the top contender for the sought-after role is Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), with Mortensen as “a close second.” There’s no mention of whether or not the aforementioned Craig, Jackman or Hamm still have a shot, but I imagine the list of wannabes is pretty long.

I find it interesting that Bardem is the frontrunner for the lead role and not Mortensen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Bardem isn’t suited to the role or couldn’t pull it off if: his Oscar-winning performance as the chilling Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men – itself a sort of modern day Western – is proof enough that he can embody at least some of the characteristics that Deschain possesses in the books (he is described as often being detached or unsympathetic).

the dark tower Javier Bardem or Viggo Mortensen To Lead The Dark Tower Franchise?

However, in my opinion Mortensen seems best suited to the role. I can totally see him in character as Deschain, mixing darkness with a strong sense of heroism. He also has experience with epic fantasy in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Westerns in Appaloosa and Young Guns II, and with dystopian survival tales in The Road.

Mortensen has also been the number one choice for the role on The Dark Tower fansites and blogs everywhere – should Hollywood listen to fans on this particular occasion?

Viggo Mortensen might lead The Dark Tower Javier Bardem or Viggo Mortensen To Lead The Dark Tower Franchise?

Viggo Mortensen in 'Appaloosa'

Whomever Howard, Grazer and Co. end up choosing as the lead, they are going to have an insane amount of work ahead of them since not only is The Dark Tower being turned into a movie but also a simultaneous TV series. The plan is to start with a movie, then jump to a season of the TV show, then back to a second movie, then a second season of the show and finally to round things off with a third movie. That’s a helluva task they’ve set themselves but I think many Dark Tower fans would agree the books deserve that sort of unprecedented treatment.

One interesting thing to note in the NY Post‘s article is that the TV series will supposedly be about Deschain as a younger man – does this mean that whoever plays the character in the movies WON’T play him in the TV series? I personally would rather things be kept consistent across both mediums, but it’s understandable that they would want to mine King’s rich and vivid fantasy world for as much material as they can use. So long as both the Dark Tower movie and TV show turn out well, one medium could inevitably feed the other. I will be interesting to see how the audience responds.

the dark tower stephen king movie Javier Bardem or Viggo Mortensen To Lead The Dark Tower Franchise?

Luckily the man directing the adaptation, Ron Howard, seems enthused and very motivated about it all; Howard recently revealed that he “can’t stop thinking” about how to make it work. If nothing else, it’s good having the adaptation in the hands of a filmmaker who is extremely passionate about The Dark Tower source material, as opposed to a random director chosen for convenience and budget’s sake.

While we wait to hear who is ultimately cast as Deschain in The Dark Tower, let the speculation and discussion begin! Leave your personal choice for the role in the comments below.

Source: NY Post

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  1. Either Bardem of Mortensen would be fantastic in this role… I couldn’t imagine either one fo them doing television, however. Particularly Bardem — it almost seems unlikely to get him in a role that would require future appearances even in movies, given his personal preferences.

  2. I believe that Mortensen would fit the part the best. He is the type of person I pictured in my mind when I was reading all the Dark Tower books. Just my personal opinion. Doesn’t really matter to me at all I have just been waiting for years, hoping that someone would make these books into a movie or a series and now it looks like Ron Howard is going to do both. I can’t wait.

  3. I think Viggo fits the role from the book well and has the starker features needed.

    • yh viggo would be good for this role

  4. Daniel Craig is my choice for Roland Deschain. Although I haven’t liked a single movie Ron Howard has been director or producer of. Hopefully he doesn’t deviate far from King’s books.

  5. I think the big stumbling block with Viggo would be his paycheck for not only the film but the TV series. He is a star and deserves to be paid for his acting talent, but how much are the producers willing to spend to get the right talent?

  6. Have they said what TV network will be airing this? I’m just excited to see this get made and any of those actors sound good(although if Craig or Jackman are cast they need to lose some muscle mass).

    • Nope, not yet. It’s a bit early at this stage for networks. I imagine they have their eye on a bidding war between the networks when the time comes ;)

      • Thanks Ross!

      • I would assume they are looking towards HBO/Showtime so it can be rated R. If it ends up on cable it will end up on SYFY. King has a good working relationship with them and I would say they will have dibs.

  7. While reading the books I always saw Clint Eastwood as Roland, but I think Viggo could also do a very good job. Still if it were up to me, and he would do it, it would be Clint.

    • Diane, you know Clint is just simply too old these days right?

    • Well Stephen King’s main inspiration for Roland was Eastwood’s “Man with No Name” character.

  8. Roland with an accent? NO!!! Mortensen is better off playing him than anyone else. Who are they gonna cast as Stephen King? King himself should play himself.

  9. I would assume that since the TV series is reported to feature a younger Deschain; the TV series will be based on the book’s flashbacks (the marvel graphic novel series), whereas the trilogy of movies will be based on the series main storyline. That way they won’t have to worry about backstory in the movies, therefore shortening the list of stuff they need to fit into the movies.

    • Sounds plausible, if not highly likely. That’d certainly be an interesting way to do it – leave the backstory to the series, that way if people just watch the movies and not the series they can still keep up with what’s going in the main (movie) storyline.

      • Still the transition from big screen to small screen wont work right. The book are rated R as most of Kings books are, they’ll get away with a lot less on TV and that will take away some darker tones of the books.

        • Unless HBO is the one who ends up with it… we can always hope :P

          • Well the films HAVE to be R, anything less will be a gross injustice to Kings books.

  10. Age is a factor here. I don’t know if you’ve seen Viggo Mortensen as of lately but in this latest picture he’s looking quite OLD….

    • He always had a slightly washed out look, probably because he doesnt have eyebrows.

    • I think that works to his advantage. Roland was the only one of the Gunslingers that visibly got older as the books progressed. By the time he reaches the tower he is beat to crap. I think Viggo could display that well.

  11. I give Viggo the edge on this, but either would do very well.

  12. I think Viggo could do the role perfectly! In movies age is seldom a factor either, makeup, lighting, even camera lenses can fix that & IMHO Viggo is not too old, hes only 51….that being said, i wonder if he would make such a huge commitment in regards to his time, he came very close to turning down LOTR, until his son talked him into accepting the role…..the question is – will he make such a commitment again?

  13. Mortensen is a strong candidate for the part, King describes Roland as part diplomat part killer. He’s supposed to be good with languages, musically inclined, quiet, introspective, etc etc etc. Find a Mortensen bio somewhere, besides all of the shooting people for a living they are pretty much like the same guy. Mortensen throws himself into parts, really gets into the lore, and the feel of what he is playing, plus it doesn’t seem like he is only out for money, and instead likes to challenge himself. Check out the Spanish film Alatriste, I doubt he did that for the pay cheque.

    • Please not Hugh Jackman — he doesn’t have time for this.
      I’m sure he could do it, but he has too many other commitments.
      He should go back to Broadway and one or two of the musicals in the works there before he forgets how to sing. Just saying.

  14. Hmmm…I would accept either one. Really the question is who would King invision for the role.

    • Umm someone that doesnt have a thick accent.

  15. Not only does Viggo have the height and facial features. Viggo has the eyes. That is one thing that King drove into your skull were those bullshooters eyes. They were they color of old blue jeans and were surprisingly as much of the Gunslinger as the two guns he carried.

  16. I swear they better pick Mortensen… the other guy is not a good actor. and how No Country For Old Men got the critical acclaim it did is beyond me, it was the most excrutiatingly and unbelievably boring movie Ive ever seen, and Bardem’s acting was no exception. GIVE IT TO MORTENSEN!!!!

    • Fox, No Country was great IMO, i know a lot here would agree as well. But Bardim is all wrong for this part

      • It has to be Bardem. I don’t understand why people think Viggo Mortensen is a good actor. Unless he is portraying violence or naked, he is pretty boring. Plus he is way too old-looking now. I don’t think lighting will help me him now. Bardem can do any accent he likes since he is an actor. I seriously doubt he would do the role in in a spanish accent.

        Yes, the very talented, extremely sexy younger Bardem.

  17. I also wanna know who is gonna play Marten. I’m still very leery of this considering it will be using different mediums. I’d like to see Darabont involved with this as well, he has made some of the BEST King adaptations ever filmed, and knows his work inside and out.

    • Good thing this is directed by Ron Howard and not Tim Burton. Otherwise Broadcloak would be Johnny Depp. I always pictured Martin Short when I read the books. He changed through out the series into many different people but in the 1st book, he was Martin Short all the way.

  18. Viggo

  19. I’ve been rooting for Viggo the entire time, even before i heard anyone else toss his name out there. He’s the only guy i can really picture as Roland. Jackman would be my second choice.

    Bardem, i worry about because he’s not… neutral enough, if that makes sense. He looks and sounds like he’s from somewhere in our world. Viggo just has that timeless quality. The right look in his eye.

  20. Mortensen would be great, but also Guy Pearce could pull it off.

    • Pearce would be a great choice, I don’t know how that guy doesn’t get more work.

  21. Both sound good but like some mentioned Bardems accent might be a problem. Have any of you guys seen biutiful cuz it didnt show close to where I live.

  22. Switching back and forth between a movie and television series? Uuhh.. Hm. Not sure if that’ll work. I don’t like cross-media things myself, but with HD television become increasingly popular and accessible, I think it might. I don’t know. I like Viggo, but someone like Javier would be excellent. Just not Daniel Craig. I don’t have anything against him. He just doesn’t seem quite “right.” That’s a tough call. I really couldn’t put an actor into that role. That’s a tough one. A young Clint Eastwood would have fit the bill perfectly, but that’s not possible.

    • Doug, I’m also concerned about the cross media usage here, I just don’t see how it can work. And they are gonna be drawing some source material from the comics too? That’s another reg flag for me as well.

      • no one cares negative nancy

        • Tankd, evidently YOU cared enough to reply back, so stuff it pal, thanks :)

      • If they do it like they are talking and have it were all of his flashbacks are done in the TV version, I think it will be awesome. You also have to think, this kinda fixes the problem of Jake. If they carry the series too long then they will have to use 3-4 different actors as Jake. He stays the same age thru the entire series. That is not a big problem with Roland, Eddie, or Suz but for him that is a major problem. Now they can plod on thru without entire movies being based on a flashback.

    • If you want a young Client Eastwood, it would be Hugh Jackman. Though he obviously wouldn’t take the roll due to the requirements of filming for TV, take a look at some pics of Eastwood in his thirties, and compare them to Jackman. It’s uncanny.
      As far as Craig goes, he’s actually my favorite for the roll. He has the build (tall and lanky, but still solid) and he definately has the eyes. Roland is several times described as having piercing bright blue eyes. Craig also just has that sort of “no face” look about him. His features are chiseled, but at the same time, they’re somehow vague and mysterious.
      Plus – he’s an excellent actor. I’m hoping that Howard, after working with Craig in Cowboys and Aliens” will see that he’s perfect for the roll.

  23. Mortensen yes, Bardem no.

  24. Ron Howard? Epic fail. Everything he’s done has put me to sleep.

    • Well then go back to sleep and shut up.

  25. Viggo is my top pick, handsdown. Bardem was good in No Country but he doesn’t suit the role in my opinion. Neither does Jackman or Craig. Guy Pearce, Sean Patrick Flannery or Paul Bettany would be hood secondary picks if Viggo doesn’t get the part.

  26. Javier Bardem?… I can see that… Ill watch this regardless of who (with the exception of paris hilton or someone like that) gets the role… just kidding… seriously though, this is stephan kings best work here… if you havent read any… do it…

  27. I don’t think casting is going to be an issue given the direction and production people involved here. What I’m curious about is how much pressure there will be to change to a Hollywood style ending when the time comes for the third film. Big time props if they stick with the books interpretation.

  28. Clint Eastwood would have been phenomenal, that’s how I pictured Roland when I read the books. However, Viggo is hands down the best choice. I thought of him when they started talking about making the movies. If they do a trilogy with Viggo and the tv series are the flashbacks of younger Roland, I think it could work. Also, Viggo is not money hungry, granted he deserves to be paid for his talent but if he cares for a project he will do it just for that reason like he did with Appaloosa. I’m excited to see what other actors are being considered for the rest of the cast…

  29. How about Josh Holloway, from LOST?