After years of delays, the long-awaited adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower is finally moving forward at Sony Pictures. The studio has set a January 13, 2017 release date, with Nikolaj Arcel (A Royal Affair) set to direct. Today we have word from Deadline that Idris Elba is the front runner to play the lead character Roland Deschain, with Matthew McConaughey in talks to play the villainous Randall Flagg, a.k.a. The Man in Black.
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. As for the Roland Deschain role, the most recent discussions were down to Idris Elba and Javier Bardem, who was originally sought for the role when it was being set up at Universal Pictures, but Idris Elba is now the top choice. No deal has been made yet, and it isn't known if an official offer has been extended to the actor quite yet.
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.
Idris Elba can currently be seen in the critically-acclaimed Netflix drama Beasts of No Nation, which has been getting some Oscar buzz as of late. The actor will next be seen in Star Trek Beyond, and he is also providing voices for upcoming animated movies such as Zootopia, The Jungle Book and Finding Dory. Do you think Idris Elba is a good choice to play Roland Deschain? Stay tuned for more updates on The Dark Tower as casting continues.