Idris Elba has been announced as the lead role of the gunslinger, Roland Deschain, in the long-awaited film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Matthew McConaughey has also been cast as the gunslinger’s nemesis, the man in black.
King announced the news on Twitter by tweeting the series’ opening line along with McConaughey and Elba’s twitter handles. Mad Max: Fury Road actress Abbey Lee has also been cast in an unspecified role. No other cast members have been announced yet.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 1, 2016
The film has been in development for years, with the project being passed between studios and directors. The project began moving forward last year when Sony Pictures picked it up from Warner Bros, with reports of developing a trilogy of films and a planned TV series. Danish filmmaker Nicolaj Arcel will direct as well as co-write the screenplay.
The Dark Tower series began with 1982’s The Gunslinger and is comprised of eight novels as well as comic books and online games. The series is also referenced in much of King’s other work. King himself considers the series his “magnum opus”.
Set in the fictional land of Mid-World, the story follows Roland Deschain, a mysterious man who is the last of “the gunslingers”, an order similar to the Knights of the Round Table. The series follows his journey to find the Dark Tower and save his world from the man in black. The series blends several genres together, including fantasy, science fiction and western.
The film adaptation will reportedly differ from the novels, with the first film not adapting the first novel, The Gunslinger. Neither Arcel nor King have specified which part of the series is being adapted, but have offered hints of the story being more of a set up, with sections of it being set in our present day Earth.
Director Arcel has announced that shooting will begin in seven weeks in South Africa. The film is currently set for release on Jan. 13, 2017.