Brace yourselves, Stephen King fans: A movie version of “The Dark Tower” is finally happening. (Probably. We hope.)
The longtime on-again, off-again project now has two of Hollywood’s biggest stars attached to it. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey will star in the film adaptation of King’s iconic book series, Entertainment Weekly reports.
Elba will play Roland Deschain, the gunslinger who desperately tries to find the titular tower, and McConaughey will star as Randall Flagg, the evil “Man in Black” who tries to stop Deschain.
“The thing is, it’s been a looong trip from the books to the film,” King told Entertainment Weekly. “When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little ... cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally this thing is actually in pre-production now.”
Stephen King fans have been waiting a looong time for the eight-book series to come to screens. There have been several attempts at adaptation, with J.J. Abrams planning a seven-film series that never happened and Ron Howard involved in a version that would have had combined three films and two television seasons but that failed to gel. (Howard is co-producing Nikolaj Arcel’s film.) At various points, Javier Bardem, Russell Crowe and Viggo Mortenson have been connected to the projects-in-progress.
Part of the challenge of bringing the books to screen is that the series is long, spanning over 4,000 pages. The first volume in the series, “The Gunslinger,” was published in 1982; the most recent book, “The Wind Through the Keyhole,” came out in 2012.
King and Arcel are staying mum about which books this one movie will cover, although King said the film “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.”
The film will be directed by the Danish filmmaker Arcel (“A Royal Affair”), with a screenplay by Arcel, Anders Thomas Jensen, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner. If all goes as planned — and fans can only hope — the movie will start filming in South Africa next month, and is scheduled for release next January.
King seemed thrilled about the project on Twitter, where he posted a tweet quoting the first line of the book series: “It’s official: The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. #DarkTowerMovie.”
He tagged Elba and McConaughey in the tweet, and both actors responded. “You have one new follower,” Elba tweeted to McConaughey.
“Come and get me,” McConaughey responded. “I look forward to it.”