Nikolaj Arcel’s upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower novel series will pull elements from each of the entries.
The Dark Tower movie, which stars Idris Elba as Roland the Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black, will hit screens next February and producers have been dropping hints like gargoyles drop stones. Entertainmnet Weekly was allowed to pick up those stones for a preview on what the movie will borrow from each book.
The first book, The Gunslinger, which King published in 1982, sets up the revenge story that pits the Gunslinger against the Man in Black. It also introduces Jake, a mysterious boy who becomes Roland’s sidekick, because every gunslinger needs a sidekick.
The Drawing of the Three came out in 1987 and it introduces Eddie and Susannah, two people from contemporary earth, who are adopted into their destined “ka-tet.”
The Waste Lands, which was published in 1991, brings the reader to New York, where Jake is from. Katheryn Winnick from History’s Vikings, plays Jake’s mom. She is worried that her son is going crazy because he’s been seeing visions of gunslinger, a Man in Black, and an dark imposing Tower. They also venture to Brooklyn, where an old mansion called Dutch Hill comes alive to protect a portal to Mid-World.
Wizard and Glass, which came out in 1997, flashed back to the gunslinger’s past. It gets further into the mythology of the books and introduces glass orbs that peer into other times and places.
The Wind Through The Keyhole from 2012 introduces the concept that people can bend reality through the power of fantasy.
Wolves of the Calla (2003) calls on the shaman of Manni village who can traverse the worlds. Claudia Kim from Avengers: Age of Ultron will play a tribe member. This book brought in more science fiction elements.
Song of Susannah from 2004 introduces NYC hole-in-the-wall restaurant the Dixie Pig, a kind of Mall of America, in the movie, for nasty otherworldly beings.
The Dark Tower from 2004 introduced The Sombra Group, which also does business as Keystone Earth. It is a front company for followers of the evil Crimson King, who are rooting for the Tower to fall.
Last week, Sony offered an app from TheSombraGroup.com that can be downloaded for Apple or Android. The app allows users to add a VR rose to any photo. Red roses and the number 19 recur in the book and foretell forbodings.
Roland the Gunslinger will have the Horn of Eld in the movie, allowing him another turn on the wheel of Ka, which reboots the universe.
Sometimes I think we’d all be better off if the people who mean well would just creep away and die. EW has been doing a series of exclusive reports on the film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel series The Dark Tower, which is good for everyone, but today the magazine spilled some spoilers, blared them out in the subheads. The Dark Tower film will be a secret sequel and Eddie and Susannah, the books’ two main characters, won’t be in it.
The film will be directed by Danish filmmaker Nikolaj Arcel, who made A Royal Affair.
“The hardcore fans of The Dark Tower series will know that this is actually a sequel to the books in a way,” Arcel told EW. “It has a lot of the same elements, a lot of the same characters, but it is a different journey.”
There’s some old gunslinger saying about how dead men tell no tales. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower novels are in the western genre. They were set in the far far west, beyond the sunset in an alternate reality. King’s series was set in Mid-World, which is kind of like a haunted Old West. The Dark Tower is King’s magnum opus. It topped out at 4,250 pages over eight novels. King has said he was inspired by the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning, but also threw The Lord of the Rings, King Arthur and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly into the nix.
King is best known for his horror classics, like Carrie, The Shining, Cujo, Christine, Firestarter, Misery, The Stand and It all of which were brought skillfully and successfully to screens big and small. His non-horror works like The Body, which became the film Stand By Me, and The Shawshank Redemption proved that he was just as relevant in more human genres. Hell, sometimes he really messed with us, like Duma Key, where you get a thousand pages into the book before you get the first hints that it’s horror.
Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, will be played by Idris Elba. Matthew McConaughey will play the Man in Black, the Gunslinger’s prey. 28-year-old Australian actress Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road) will play the movie’s female lead, Tirana, who was a minor character in the books. Jackie Earle Haley will Richard Sayre, a member of the Sombra Corporation.
At the end of the books, Roland gets the chance to roll the dice on destiny when get gets hold of the Horn of Eld, an ancient artifact.
Starting with the second book, The Drawing of the Three from 1987, the series featured two people from earth, or maybe earth’s “present,” in the event that Mid-World is set in the future, Eddie, a heroin junkie who got clean, and Susannah, an amputee with multiple personalities. They won’t be in the movie. They are saving them for a sequel, in the event the movie doesn’t crap out.
“They’re certainly out there,” Arcel told EW. “I think the entire story deserves to be told and should be told. I would certainly be disappointed in myself or my collaborators if we didn’t bring them in. They’re such a huge part of the story.”
Did this bug King?
“All I can say is that Steve is our partner all the way through, so we don’t make a move without Stephen telling us, ‘That is The Dark Tower’ and when Stephen says, ‘It isn’t,’ which he has at times, we go, ‘Okay, let’s try something else,” co-screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) told EW.
“I’m fine with it,” King told EW. “I know exactly where Akiva always planned to bring them in and that’s cool with me.”
King chilled the script with his own changes, making the Gunslinger the strong, nearly totally silent type, like the heroes of the old time westerns.
“I took a pen and cut Roland’s dialogue to the bone,” King told EW. “The less he says the better off, and why not? Idris Elba can act with his face. He’s terrific at it. He projects that sense of combined menace and security. [Roland] is the Western hero, the strong, silent type: ‘Yep,’ ‘Nope,’ and ‘Draw.’”
“The Dark Tower is about how we carry around our past, which of our ghosts travel with us, and how do we attend to them,” he says. “The ghosts of history, the ghosts of the people we’ve lost in order to get to whatever our Tower is.”
Sony Pictures tentatively scheduled the release date for The Dark Tower on February 17, 2017.