In yet another case of 2016 being “The Year that Stuff We Didn’t Think Would Happen Happened,” Stephen King unleashed a shockwave on his Twitter account earlier today when he confirmed that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey had been cast in the adaption of his Fantasy/Western series The Dark Tower.
The series concerns the quest of Roland Deschain (Elba) to reach the titular dark tower – a kind of mystical pillar that exists between the various worlds of King and Joe Hill’s multiverse. This quest takes Deschain through a number of dimensions, including Mid-World (a post-apocalyptic western-inspired fantasy landscape with lashings of Americana) and even our own world – where (if the series decides to stick to the source material) King himself will be a character. In the books, Deschain is the last of The Gunslingers, a semi-knightly order dedicated to keeping the peace in the now lost realm of Gilead, as well as a descendant of King Arthur. Badass.
McConaughey will play The Man in Black, also known as Walter: a former ally of Deschain’s father who betrayed him and the Kingdom of Gilead. In King’s vast mythology, The Man in Black is an iteration of Randall Flagg – who has previously been portrayed by Jamey Sheridan in the 1994 miniseries adaption of The Stand. Christopher Walken, James Woods, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Robert Duvall and Miguel Ferrer have previously been considered for the role.
The Dark Tower will be written and directed by Nikolaj Arcel, who will share screenwriting credit with Anders Thomas Jensen (who won an Oscar in 1998 for his film Election Night), Akiva Goldsman (who won an Oscar in 2001 for A Beautiful Mind), and Jeff Pinkner (who is known for his work in television). The producers will be Goldman and his Weed Road company; Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Erica Huggins of Imagine Entertainment.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Sony Pictures plans to have The Dark Tower in theaters on Jan. 13, 2017.