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).

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 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.

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