It’s a big day for Stephen King fans — the “Dark Tower” movie is a go, the author revealed on Twitter, writing, “It’s official: The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. #DarkTowerMovie @McConaughey @Idris Elba.”
The tweets are in reference to their casting — Elba is the gunslinger, Roland Deschain, and McConaughey is the man in black (known by many names, but usually Walter Padick or Walter O’Dim). Both characters are trying to reach the tower that stands the pinnacle of space and time. Roland is seeking to save the world, while the man in black seeks power to rule over it.
Both King and Nikolaj Arcel, who is the movie’s director and co-writer, spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the movie, which begins shooting in South Africa in seven weeks and is set to be released Jan. 13, 2017.
King reveals that he’s pretty insistent the movie open with the first line from the first book, which is what he tweeted Tuesday (March 1) when he revealed the movie news. However, the movie will not be encompassing all eight novels, nor will it start at the beginning.
“[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they’ll get behind it, because it is the story,” King says.
While they won’t say where exactly the story starts and which books it will encompass, Arcel says that “a lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world,” which EW speculates means the movie will start in “The Waste Lands,” which is the third book in the series.
The interview also does not rule out the possibility of more than one film, or a TV series.
In 2010, Ron Howard’s plan was to make a trilogy of movies accompanied by a cable TV series that would serve as a prequel, filling in backstory. Howard is still involved with “The Dark Tower” movie as executive producer and King says a successful film could revive Howard’s previous plan, which is why the earlier part of Roland’s life will not be a part of the film.
“They’re still holding on to this idea that they can do a TV series, and they’ve got it pegged for that,” says King.
“Other people have tried fantasy spectacle. Sometimes it works, sometimes it works really well when it’s based on a series of books, like ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Harry Potter,’ and sometimes it doesn’t,” King says. “What I have to go back to is this: We have Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, two great actors. You’ve got a great production team and Akiva Goldsman as the primary script writer. The team is in place, so we’ll hope for the best.”