Idris Elba: Forget 007, He’s The Gunslinger

Idris Elba was going to be the next James Bond, so said the innumerable Hollywood rumors, according to Fox News. Although that may not be true yet, the star is definitely going to play the Gunslinger in an onscreen version of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

The movie’s director and the co-writer Nikolaj Arcel talked to Entertainment Weekly about the project. The book spans eight novels and is a mix of comic books and short stories.

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Stephen King was surely happy about the turn the book has taken. He said he started writing the book in a cabin in Maine, and now, it is at the pre-production stage as a motion picture.

“The thing is, it’s been a long trip from the books to the film,” King says, putting it right in context, “When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little s****y cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally this thing is actually in pre-production now.” He laughs. “I’m delighted, and I’m a little bit surprised.”

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Arcel, the director, is known for co-writing several movies that have been adapted from books. He’s known for the Danish film, A Royal Affair, and he has also co-written The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. He said The Dark Tower will start shooting in South Africa. Sony Pictures plans to release it in theaters on January 13, 2017.

Nikolaj Arcel said he likes Stephen King’s work for the way he mixes the mundane with the fantastical. “What Stephen King does best is mixing the everyday, or what you might call the mundane, with the fantastical,” says Arcel. “In my view, [The Dark Tower] novels are a mix between sci-fi and fantasy and modern times. That exact mix is so Stephen King.”

However, the film is not going to adapt the plot of the first book, The Gunslinger, that was published in 1982.

King says the movie starts, in what he calls, media res, that is the middle of the story than the beginning. King is aware that it may upset the fans a bit.

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However, Arcel did not say which books he was going to focus on. But he did give out one little clue: “A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world.”

The Dark Tower series tell the story of Mid-World through the eyes of Roland Deschain, who is a frontiersman knight and whose primary weapon is revolvers.

On why he Elba was the right choice for the role, Arcel said, “For me, it just clicked. He’s such a formidable man.” Arcel went on to say that he is a big fan of Elba from The Wire.

Arcel said he discussed his vision with Elba. He said he talked to him about his entire vision of the journey Ronald takes on. “We discussed, who is this character? What’s he about? What’s his quest? What’s his psychology? We tried to figure out if we saw the same guy. And we absolutely had all the same ideas and thoughts. He had a unique vision for who Roland would be.”

And Stephen King says he is very happy with the choice of Elba. “I love it. I think he’s a terrific actor, one of the best working in the business now,” the author says.

However, King said he himself had imagined Clint Eastwood as the Gunslinger. However, he admits that as the time passed by and he started to write about it more, the character “wasn’t Eastwood anymore.”

King goes on to say that Roland is a man who could be black or white, and it makes no difference to him.

[Photo By John Phillips/Getty Images]