Stephen King and Nikolaj Arcel Talk The Dark Tower Movie, Confirm Idris Elba’s Casting

Stephen King and Nikolaj Arcel talk The Dark Tower movie, confirm Idris Elba as Roland

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. So began the first entry in The Dark Tower novel series, The Gunslinger, but the journey for Stephen King’s famous book series to the big screen has been just as long and harrowing as Roland’s journey to the Dark Tower. Now it’s finally happening.

Both King and the film’s director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel spoke with EW about the film, which Arcel revealed will begin shooting in South Africa in just seven weeks, and confirmed that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey will star as the film’s hero and villain.

“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.”

King went on to reveal that the Dark Tower movie will open with the first line from the book as read above, but that the film itself will jump into the middle of the story instead of starting with the first book.

“[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning,” King says. “Which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they’ll get behind it, because it is the story.”

Arcel went on to tease the film further, saying: “A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world.”

This could mean that the film will be adapting The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands, the novel that sees Roland and his ka-tet members Eddie and Susannah attempting to bring a young boy, Jake, to their world from New York City.

Arcel went on to talk about casting Idris Elba in the role, saying:

“For me, it just clicked. He’s such a formidable man,” says Arcel. “I had to go to Idris and tell him my vision for the entire journey with Roland and the ka-tet. 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.”

On the flip side, Arcel says the casting of Matthew McConaughey made just as much sense.

“Matthew is an incredible actor who can do anything. That’s how I feel about Walter Padick. He could do anything…He is this timeless sorcerer, and being a Stephen King fan, I’ve read and experienced Walter in various iterations. He has a very interesting way of seeing the world. He sees it with a sort of delight, even though he is obviously on the wrong side of the light-and-dark spectrum. He’s someone I’ve been having a lot of fun with.”

Sony currently has The Dark Tower set for a release on January 13, 2017. Expect even more announcements from Mid-World in the coming weeks.

(Photo credit: FayesVision/