Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are officially heading up the forthcoming film adaptation of Stephen King's fantasy-horror series The Dark Tower. King confirmed the casting on Twitter this afternoon, putting a cap on months of speculation regarding the actors' involvement. Elba will play Roland Deschain, the gunslinger hunting for the titular tower, and McConaughey will play the "man in black," the mysterious sorcerer who finds himself pursued. The movie is still scheduled to be released on January 13th, 2017, and it's entering production now.
King and director / co-writer Nikolaj Arcel expanded on their plans to adapt King's magnum opus in an interview with Entertainment Weekly published this morning. The project has exchanged hands several times over the last decade-plus, passing through multiple studios and directors; it spans eight books, several supplementary releases, and a complex canon, making it a difficult subject for adaptation no matter the personnel involved. "It's been a looong trip from the books to the film," said King. "When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little shitty 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."
They're starting with just a single movie
King and Arcel are keeping some details close to the vest. They didn't specify which books the adaptation will cover — EW speculates it'll begin with 1993's The Waste Lands — and the bulk of the casting decisions beyond Elba and McConaughey have yet to be made. With that said, it seems like the adaptation is being relegated for a single movie for the time being, though "the possibility of more" exists. If you're drooling at the thought of a The Dark Tower universe, you'll have to show up at the theater for the first chapter come next January.