"They were close to the end of the beginning..."
The road to a film adaptation of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" has been long and winding but if ka will say so, let it be so. King took to Twitter this morning to confirm that the recent rumors will true, his tale of midworld, gunslingers, robots, and magic is coming to the big screen with Idris Elba as the titular gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as his foe, the man in black.
King also confirmed that the movie will begin with the line "The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed." though he was clear that the film will not be a direct adaptation of the series' first installment "The Gunslinger," instead the story will pick up at some point midway, no official story points have been confirmed but the director did say that much of the story takes place in our world indicating perhaps that we'll pick up somewhere in "The Drawing of the Three."
While I was hoping for, and would love to see, a direct adaptation, starting off in the second book actually makes a sort of sense, that's when the story begins in earnest with the forming of the ka-tet. It's also clear, based on the controversial casting of Roland that what we're getting is not a direct adaptation but instead a film version that will hopefully hold dear to the spirit of the story while altering certain story beats and elements.
Some fans of the series have been upset at the casting of Elba as Roland due, largely, to his skin color. In most roles, the ethnicity or skin tone of the actor is irrelevant so long as they can play the character right. In my estimation of Roland as a character, Elba hits about as close to home as is possible. That being said, there are some arguably legitimate concerns with how it will impact the story. Specifically that a large part of the story arc revolves around Roland's relationship with Detta, a black woman from the civil rights era who hates him initially, specifically because he's white. Casting a black actor as Roland does put that element of the story into a state of flux, but once again, it seems this won't be a direct adaptation of the source material and it might be best if fans accept that as truth now and save themselves the trouble.
Additionally, King has not only signed off on Elba but also on this version of the story. In the end, it's the spirit of the story that is important and we'll just have to wait and see if it is preserved when it hits the screen. Luckily, none of us will have to wait long. The movie is currently in pre-production, has a relatively short production time frame of seven weeks, and is slated to hit theaters January of next year.
Until then, long days and pleasant nights.