Two of our most awesome televised brooding detectives will face off in Nikolaj Arcel's adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. Confirming what was already rumored, King himself today announced the news that Idris Elba will star as the hero Gunslinger and McConaughey as the villainous Man in Black, tweeting, "It's official: The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. #DarkTowerMovie @McConaughey @IdrisElba."
Though the author has in no way hidden that The Dark Tower's hero, gunslinger Roland Deschain, was pretty blatantly meant to just be Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name, King also voiced his support of this highly un-Eastwood-like casting.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, King, who apparently "raves about Elba's recent work in the child-soldier drama Beasts of No Nation," said, "I love it. I think [Elba is] a terrific actor, one of the best working in the business now."
"For me the character is still the character," King continued. "He can be white or black, it makes no difference to me. I think it opens all kind of exciting possibilities for the backstory."
One such possibility: that now they can and have sorted out how to do something new with the story's racial tension. In this film, as in the real world, you need not worry there will suddenly be a lack of unfortunate racial tension. From EW:
[Director] Arcel acknowledges that skin color actually was an important factor in the relationship between Roland and Susannah, the black amputee he drew into his world from her life in 1964. In the books, she is not thrilled to find herself yanked into another dimension by a grizzled white guy. "Some fans are asking, understandably, 'What about the racial tension?'" Arcel says. "But as the story progresses that will be made clear, how we'll deal with all those things."
King also says that the film--planned to potentially be the first in a franchise, naturally--will not be starting with the first book in the series. "[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning," King explained. "Which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they'll get behind it, because it is the story."
Arcel added, "A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world."
After spending years of development hell, the film will reportedly start shooting in late April for release January 17 of next year. So forget about the casting; if anything, worry about how they're going to try and bust this goddammer out in nine months.