The Dark Tower film confirms Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey

Yes! It’s actually happening! The Dark Tower movie is happening!

Well, those long-rumoured Dark Tower rumours have been confirmed and we couldn’t be happier.

Idris Elba will play The Gunslinger
Idris Elba will play The Gunslinger

Stephen King himself tweeted that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey have joined Nikolaj Arcel’s film of The Dark Tower, following months of rumours that they would be playing Roland Deschain (The Gunslinger) and The Man In Black respectively.

Elba’s tweet also made us very happy indeed…

…and it was promptly answered.

Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe
Matthew McConaughey in Killer Joe

King told EW “The thing is, it’s been a looong trip from the books to the film. When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little sh-tty cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally this thing is actually in pre-production now. I’m delighted, and I’m a little bit surprised.”

The site reports that the movie will begin production in South Africa in seven weeks, so we can expect more casting announcements pretty soon. Arcel is best-known for his work on the Danish drama A Royal Affair, starring Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander.

“What Stephen King does best is mixing the everyday, or what you might call the mundane, with the fantastical,” Arcel told EW. “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.”

Rather than starting with the first book, King reveals that the movie will throw the viewer right into the midst of the Dark Tower saga.

“[The movie] 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,” he said. “A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world,” adds Arcel.

There’s some nice history in the piece about how King originally envisioned Roland and the Man In Black (unsurprisingly Eastwood was an inspiration for the former), and why he and Arcel are so excited about their casting choices. Abbey Lee’s rumoured casting as Tirana is noted in the article but not addressed by either King or Arcel.

King also rules out playing himself if the movies ever get that far, and Arcel allays fan fears that the casting of Elba will affect the relationship between Roland and the character of Susannah.

“Some fans are asking, understandably, ‘What about the racial tension?’” he said. “But as the story progresses that will be made clear, how we’ll deal with all those things.”

The article also notes that the film is currently proceeding as a single movie with the possibility of more if it’s a success, rather than embarking immediately on a franchise.

“Other people have tried fantasy spectacle. Sometimes it works, sometimes it works really well when it’s based on a series of books, like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter, and sometimes it doesn’t,” says King. “What I have to go back to is this: We have Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, two great actors. You’ve got a great production team and Akiva Goldsman as the primary script writer. The team is in place, so we’ll hope for the best.”

The Dark Tower will be released in cinemas on 13 January 2017 – you can download Stephen King: The Complete Manual now. For more news about the biggest movies, pick up the latest issue of SciFiNow.