Idris Elba (Thor, Beasts of No Nation) plays the towering character Roland Deschain, AKA the Gunslinger in the big screen adaptation of the epic Stephen King novels, The Dark Tower (in Philippine cinemas August 30).
In the film, the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.
Roland Deschain is the last of the long Line of Eld – a legacy of Gunslingers who are peacekeepers and protectors of the Dark Tower, which protects the universe. After the slaughter of the rest of the gunslingers, Roland is now on a quest to save what is left of his world by reaching the mysterious Tower.
“When Stephen King created Roland, he created a character that was based on the biggest badass of the day,” says producer Ron Howard. “Over time, the character of Roland evolved beyond any one specific look or inspiration; the character just became Roland. We took that initial approach in casting Roland for the film – asking ourselves, ‘Who is the biggest badass of today? Who personifies Roland?’ That conversation started with Idris Elba. He is the embodiment of Roland, and he is also a phenomenal actor and has the chops to be able to bring the complex character of Roland to life.”
Director Nikolaj Arcel says for him it was a natural to cast Idris Elba as The Gunslinger. “I’ve been a fan of his since 'The Wire,' he’s a magnetic performer. The only question was whether we would have similar visions for the character, his journey and psychology, so it turned out that he did. It just clicked, and he was formidable.”
“As the last in the line of protectors, Roland is very respected, but by the time we meet him his heart has been broken and blackened,” says Elba. “He’s basically a ghost looking for something he can’t find: The Man in Black, who has goaded and taunted him for years, and who destroyed Roland’s world and in it everyone he loved. On this journey, Roland is propelled by fury to take revenge against his old nemesis.”
Elba says he was excited to take on the role of the Gunslinger as he knew Stephen King to be a creator of deep, complex, and big-universe characters. “He is a very clever, master character builder,” says Elba. “Roland has had a massive journey throughout the books.”
The Dark Tower is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.