After false starts and months of speculation, a movie adaptation of Stephen King’s “magnum opus” The Dark Tower is going ahead, and will star Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.
The news came from the most official of sources: the acclaimed author himself.
King tweeted: “It’s official: The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed,” invoking the opening line of the first book in the epic series, which has covered eight novels as well as comics and other iterations. He then tagged Elba and McConaughey’s Twitter accounts.
Elba will play Roland Deschain, aka the Gunslinger, with McConaughey tasked with playing ageless sorcerer the Man in Black.
Director Nikolj Arcel told Entertainment Weekly he thought Elba was the perfect fit for the hero of the novels.
“For me, it just clicked. He’s such a formidable man,” said Arcel. “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.”
King is a fan of the choice, and says he’s looking forward to seeing Elba bring Roland to life. “I love it. I think he’s a terrific actor, one of the best working in the business now,” he said.
The author also acknowledged the long journey to get these books to the screen, which involved a failed bid by Ron Howard to adapt the series with Javier Bardem in the role of the Gunslinger, and earlier rumors that suggested J.J. Abrams had taken the helm, with Russell Crowe touted as a contender for the main role.
King told the magazine: “When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little sh— cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally this thing is actually in pre-production now.”
Arcel, who is best known for the 2012 Danish film A Royal Affair, says he will start shooting The Dark Tower in South Africa in seven weeks, with Sony Pictures planning to have it in theaters on January 13, 2017.
And within minutes of King announcing the news, the stars were playing the part:
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 1, 2016
— Idris Elba (@idriselba) March 1, 2016
— Matthew McConaughey (@McConaughey) March 1, 2016