As the long journey for The Dark Tower movies draws to a close, news from the production is streaming through at an incredible rate. Anticipation for the movie is already high, with many fans of Stephen King’s novels having waited decades to see the world brought to life. The long wait is nearly over now, as the first movie gears up for release early next year.
Bringing on Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) as the heroic Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar) as The Man in Black, a.k.a., Walter was a coup for the film. And although many questions still remain about how The Dark Tower films will play out, one if its stars spoke about his role, and how he thinks the movies will be received.
McConaughey spoke with EW about playing The Man in Black as part of the magazine’s special coverage of the upcoming film. The interview provided insight into the nature of his role and his connection to the story overall. In addition, the actor provided a few key tidbits that offer hints about the direction of the would-be film series. On his character himself, McConaughey said:
“Well, he is a man, actually. They wanted to go very human and grounded with this. Obviously there are mythical proportions of good and evil in Walter. But we didn’t want to go overly fantastic. That would drop the humanity. So Walter, for me, is a man who exposes hypocrisies. You know, he’s not literally the Devil, but I sure as hell think about him like the Devil. I think like the Devil would… There’s a great Black Sabbath line that fits the guy very well. ‘Follow me now / and you will not regret / leaving the life you led / before we met.’”
McConaughey also spoke at length about the balance between Walter and Roland, and how that plays into the overall narrative. The two are very much opposite sides of the same coin, and while their endgames are entirely different, to The Man in Black’s mind, Roland is a necessary and desired agent for his own dark plans.
“I revere him. He’s really the only true adversary I have. I expose hypocrisies, and he’s the closest to pure there is. It’s his persistent, resilience to be good and altruistic. He’s very precious to me. I almost don’t want to see him go. So many times I’m just pumping him up, through sorcery, almost like the man in the corner of the ring for a boxer. ’Come on … you can do this … stay in the game,’ because I want to keep him, I want to keep his vengeance to find me. I want to keep that very vital, you know? My want, my need, my mission is to bring down the Tower. My love, my adoration, my muse, my shadow, is Roland.”
It may seem contradictory for a villain to cheer on his opponent, but Walter is a man of contradictions. As long as Roland is in the game, The Man in Black has reason to stay in it himself. That creates an interesting dynamic between the hero and his villain throughout the books, even though their aims are opposed. For Roland, it’s to ensure the continued safety of The Dark Tower. For Walter, it’s to destroy The Dark Tower, and with it, all of existence.
“All the gaps between the worlds are filled with blackness and evil. Once I bring the Tower down, and take a seat next to the Crimson King, I’ve got my own plans from there as well."
The Crimson King, of course, is the ultimate evil in the universe, the one who would rule over the shattered remnants of all reality should Walter succeed in bringing the tower down. In discussing this, McConaughey reveals the role of Tom Taylor's character Jake and his relationship to the story. In the films, Jake has been tapped as a psychic of immense ability who, should he side with Walter, will be instrumental in bringing the tower down and resurrecting the Crimson King. As Walter seeks Jake, Roland seeks Walter, setting the stage for the first battle of the film series.
“The Devil likes New York. Let’s go sing and dance and do some detective work and find the boy with The Shine and bring him back and use him!”
All in all, it sounds as though McConaughey has a deep appreciation for his character. These are all positive signs for the film ahead of its release. The wait may have been long, but it’s shorter now than it’s ever been.
The Dark Tower is set for release on February 17, 2017.