As far as journeys from books to movie screens go, The Dark Tower has had one of the more circuitous routes in modern movie history. Full of fits and starts, rights losses, interested directors, and rumored stars, the long-gestating project had, until recently, been seen as a lost cause. Now, however, fans of horror master Stephen King’s magnum opus of fantasy fiction have something to look forward to, and as they’ll so often tell you, the Tower draws near.
The first installment of the series, based on book one of the novels, The Gunslinger, is now moving full speed ahead in advance of its release next year. Directed by Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair), the film stars Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) as the titular gunslinger, Roland Deschain and Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar) as his adversary Walter, a.k.a. the Man in Black. While other key roles have yet to be announced, news that one of Roland’s companions has been cast was officially confirmed today.
Variety reports that the role of Jake Chambers was filled by relative newcomer Tom Taylor, best known for small roles on the TV series Legends, The Last Kingdom, and Doctor Foster. The casting follows a worldwide search to find the right actor to play the young Chambers, who becomes a partner to Roland in his search for The Dark Tower.
Jake’s role in the series is a tricky one; the young man hails from our world and is pulled into Roland’s and drawn into an epic struggle of good versus evil involving the mysterious Tower, which serves as the support structure for all universes. While we don’t know how closely The Dark Tower movies will follow the books, hopefully this casting means the universe-hopping framework will stay intact.
While the casting of Jake is an important step forward for The Dark Tower, there are still plenty of roles left to be filled. Most importantly, the roles of Eddie (previously rumored to be portrayed by Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul) and Susannah, other key characters who join Roland on his quest in finding the Dark Tower.
Obviously there are many questions circulating about how a complex, intertwining tale such as The Dark Tower can be translated to the big screen. As it stands, the series is faced with the task of fleshing out the complicated backstory of Roland Deschain and his world, as well as his ongoing conflict with the Man in Black and all the drama that entails. Despite lingering questions about how the actual adaptation will play out, along with who's playing who and when they will be announced, one thing’s for sure: after so many years in development hell, production of The Dark Tower is finally in full-swing, which is great news for King fans and fantasy buffs alike.
The Dark Tower is expected February 17, 2017.