The Dark Tower

If you see me on the tube this week, chances are that you’ll find me with my face buried in the pages of one of the books in The Dark Tower series. I’m up to Volume 5 (of 7) and I’m absolutely ruddy loving them so far. Admittedly, they’re probably taking me as long to read as it took Stephen King to write the magnum opus, but I’m getting there slowly but surely.

When I started on Volume 1: The Gunslinger; Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and J.J. Abrams were planning to bring the books to the big screen, but they stepped aside after finding the task too daunting. The current iteration of the project, spearheaded by Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman, still seems to have some way to go before receiving an official green light at Universal, who are busy turning their back on any project that seems remotely risky right now. Howard’s plan is to adapt the books into three films, with two television series bridging the gaps between them. It’s a pretty bold plan, and I hope it works out for him, but I’m fairly confident that even if his version doesn’t see the light of day, that would merely delay Roland’s journey to the big screen rather than destroy it.

But assuming that Howard’s project gets off the ground, shooting should begin next Spring. I can only speculate, but I’d imagine the first film would include the first two books in the series at the very least, thus introducing the entirety of Roland’s ka-tet at one point or another. And with that in mind, I thought I’d proffer some suggestions for the roles that the Ronster’s due to cast.

Roland Deschain

King’s gunslinger is inspired by Clint Eastwood’s ‘Man with No Name’, but sadly he’s too old to take on the role. Javier Bardem is Ron Howard’s pick (although is yet to sign on officially), and while I love him as an actor, I can’t help but feel he’s not quite the perfect fit for the role. So who is? Let me throw some names at you…Viggo Mortensen, Timothy Olyphant, Ed Harris. They’d all be great, and it I would be happy to see any of them in the part – it just depends how old Howard wants his hero.

Eddie Dean

When we first meet the wisecracking Eddie he’s a junkie, so the role demands someone who can nail both the vulnerability and the cockiness of the character. Ben Foster would be a good fit, and I’ve always pictured Justin Chatwin when reading the books – although I’m not quite sure he has the acting chops. Someone who certainly does, however, and fits the bill perfectly, is Ryan Gosling.

Susannah Dean

Technically not just Susannah, but the multiple personalities she takes on throughout the course of the novels. She’s wheelchair bound and is drawn from the 1960’s by Roland, and is feisty and tender in equal measures. This is the one role for which the casting rumours are getting it right, and the two names most frequently mentioned and Zoe Saldana and Naomie Harris. I’d fly the flag for the latter.

Jake Chambers

This is tough, really tough. In the novels Jake is only 11, but I think you’d need to age the character for the adaptation or risk losing his essence with an inexperienced child actor. I quite like Kodi Smit-McPhee, but he’s a way behind my first choice. One of my favourite actors irregardless of age, and someone I’ve yet to see put a foot wrong on screen is Bill Milner, best start filming soon before he gets too old.

The Man In Black

Walter O’Dim is the man Roland pursues throughout the first novel, and he appears in many guises throughout the series (so could be played by multiple actors). As Walter, Roland’s nemesis is less physically imposing, a more haunting and disturbing character. I could picture the likes of John Malkovich or Alan Cumming under the hooded cloak, but would most like to see Eddie Marsan take it on.

So what do you think. Decent suggestions, or absolute nonsense? Let me know in the comments section, but try to avoid spoiling the last 3 books for me, please and thanks.

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