To say that there are high expectations on The Dark Tower might be a bit of an understatement. The beloved eight-book series by horror master Stephen King blends sci-fi, horror, and an urban super hero story to follow a "gunslinger" Roland Deschain on his many adventures. A film version has been in the works since 2007 and has been rumored to have directors like J.J. Abrams to direct and stars like Javier Bardem up for Roland.
But after years of waiting and months of anticipation, The Dark Tower is finally here with Idris Elba stepping into Roland’s gunslinging shoes where Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) an 11-year-old boy who accidentally winds up escorting Roland on his search for the Dark Tower after finding himself in a mysterious other dimension called "Mid World." If Roland doesn’t reach the point between time and space in "End World," he may not be able to save the world from extinction. And with Walter Padick (Matthew McConaughey), an evil sorcerer hunting them down, it’s possible that they might not make it there in one piece.
After checking out the amazing trailer below, check out what Elba had to say about the upcoming film, Stephen King, and fan expectations.
Were you familiar with the novels before signing on to the film? Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
I was definitely familiar with Stephen King. Of course, he’s a great writer of fantastic books resulting in some wonderful films. I was excited to sign on for the role because he does create complex, well-rounded characters with a lot of depth—and Roland Deschain in particular is a character that has a massive, massive journey throughout the book series. Whether you have read the books or not, you are going into a rich, well-thought-out world, where you will meet incredible characters.
Since the film has been in development for so long, there's huge fan expectation for this film. Did that put a certain amount of responsibility on your shoulders?
Yes, I want the fans to be satisfied by the character I portray especially since the characters are so well written in the book. However the wonderful thing with being an actor in film is that I am able to interpret the character and I hope the fans are proud of our interpretation.
How was working with Matthew McConaughey—especially since you guys play foes in the film?
Because of the way movies are scheduled, Matthew joined the film nine weeks after we started working extensively in South Africa. What that meant was that I avoided seeing him until we had the scene where we meet for the first time, which was great for the actual chemistry on the film. Of course, Matthew’s a wonderful actor; he brings real depth and a sense of humor to the character. The Man in Black is one of Stephen King’s great characters—he is a likable bad guy.
How much training did you have to do to become a Gunslinger legendary for his aim and combat skills?
Interestingly enough at the time I was training to be a professional K1 fighter so was locked into a hard training schedule and gun training around that. Turned out naturally I have a good aim! I used a variety of guns to practice with in rehearsals, but actually in production, we only used one type of gun.
What's your favorite new word or phrase from the Dark Tower vocabulary?
Crimson King—because I am going to take him down.
The Dark Tower hits theaters on August 4th.