Last week, a new report claimed that Idris Elba is Sony Pictures' front runner to play Roland Deschain, a.k.a. The Gunslinger in their long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. The news caused a bit of a stir with some fans, since the iconic character is presumed to be a white male in the beloved novel series, which spans seven books. The casting hasn't been confirmed yet, but while we wait to hear who will play The Gunslinger, author Stephen King himself chimed in on the potential casting. While he didn't list Idris Elba by name, the author did reveal that the color of Roland Deschain's skin "doesn't matter."
"To me, the color of the gunslinger doesn't matter. What I care about is how fast he can draw...and that he takes care of the ka-tet."
It's worth noting that, when the project was set up at Universal Pictures, Spanish actor Javier Bardem was considered the top choice to play Roland Deschain. The actor was also in the running for this new incarnation at Sony Pictures, but now Idris Elba is said to be the top choice, even though it isn't known if an official offer has been extended to the actor. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that certain fans have spoken out about casting, based on race. Several fans spoke out against the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four, while others took issue with John Boyega's casting in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The Dark Tower was initially set up at Universal in 2011, when Ron Howard was set to direct a trilogy of movies. The studio was also setting up two limited-run TV series set to air on NBC in between the films, before the project became too costly and was ultimately dropped. Warner Bros. was then eyeing the project, but they eventually passed, and the project appeared to be dead, when Sony Pictures picked up the rights back in April. Sony will be teaming with Media Rights Capital to co-finance the movies, with a "complimentary" TV series also being planned. It isn't clear if the TV series will feature either Roland Deschain or Randall Flagg, or if it will follow secondary characters in this universe.
The Dark Tower adaptation will bring Stephen King's series of seven novels to life, which follows Roland Deschain, a.k.a. The Gunslinger, who sets off on a journey to find The Dark Tower, rumored to be a portal to other worlds. This movie adaptation will be based on the author's first novel in this series, The Gunslinger, which centers on Roland's relationship with a young boy named Jake, who is from a different time and place. Randall Flagg is the primary villain in the novels, who tries to stop Roland from reaching The Dark Tower. Director Nikolaj Arcel is currently working on a rewrite of the script with Anders Thomas Jensen (Election Night). Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner worked on the initial draft.
We reported in November that Matthew McConaughey was actually offered both the Roland Deschain and Randall Flagg roles, and that the actor was "leaning" towards playing the villain. It isn't known when production will begin, but the studio has set a January 13, 2017 release date for the adaptation. Take a look at Stephen King's tweet below, and let us know what you think about Idris Elba playing Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower.
To me, the color of the gunslinger doesn't matter. What I care about is how fast he can draw...and that he takes care of the ka-tet.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 12, 2015