Let me start by saying that I love the Dark Tower book series. When I started reading the series years ago, I was instantly pulled into this world created by Stephen King. The setting of this tale was so vivid, and as I read, I felt as if I was an extra member of the ka-tet (sorry, I needed one nerdy reference to kick things off).
To be honest, my initial feeling after finishing the series was “I really hope no one tries to ruin this by making it into a movie.” I knew that there has been uninspired adaptations of King’s work in the past, along with triumphs, but I was really hoping that this series wouldn’t show up on the list of the prior. The books were so imaginative, and most people I knew that read it had personal connections to the series. So I thought, how can you try to make a visual manifestation of a series that resonates with people so differently?
I figured that there was no way possible to show Roland Deschain’s quest to find the Man in Black, alongside Susanna, Eddie, Jake, and Oy, in a way that would be pleasing to all fans. Again, with so many fans of the book, all liking it for their own personal reasons, I figured that it would be difficult to please all fans, though I guess some fans are always angered by adaptations.
The thing that my inner circle and I always talked about was the one thing that I thought would always keep an adaptation from being a good movie or series; who would play Roland? For anyone that has read the books, and has really become immersed in the story, I think it’s hard to think of anyone depicting Roland. He is a mysterious and quiet gunslinger with a dark past. For me Roland was very much a real person, and someone that couldn’t be represented by an actor.
This feeling eventually faded as I had time to process my feelings on the book. By the time the first rumors of a Dark Towers movie came out I was a few years removed from reading the series, and having some new way in which to enjoy the Dark Tower over again was really exciting. I had enough time to distance myself from my emotional connection to finishing the series, and my inner geek was thrilled. However, as some may know, the series has had some trouble getting off the ground, and this was pretty disappointing.
But here we are now, with HBO getting ready to start on this project to add to their fantasy line-up. Noting the hang-ups I mentioned, I feel I can express why I am excited about the upcoming series. All of this will start with what I felt was the biggest thing that would hold an film and television version of the series back; casting.
With Javier Bardem likely to play Roland Deschain, I feel the producers have started this off on the right foot. When I first started to play in my mind who I felt would play Roland if a movie ever to be produced while as I reading the series, I hadn’t been very familiar with Bardem and his work. Now I must admit I am quite taken with him (I am not afraid of my man crush). But I think about Bardem, and I think of how his intensity terrified me in No Country for Old Men (talk about a character with a dark past), and I know that this is a great call. I believe that Bardem’s look, and how he has proven himself to be an intense and direct actor, makes him a great pick, and at least one thing I will pleased about with the series. In fact, I am truly excited to see not just Bardem’s, but also director Ron Howard’s interpretation of the lonely gunslinger.
This brings me to my next point. Choosing Ron Howard to come on to direct is something that I can stand behind. He has proven himself as a director that knows how to create suspense and build tension. I think the worst thing that could have happened to this series would be to get a director that will completely gloss over good performances in favor or a large special effects budget.
So I think it’s easy to say that I am very excited about the upcoming series, but as a true fan of the books, I still reserve the right to hold on to my trepidation. As for programming, I think HBO’s existing fantasy fanbase is going to be pleased with having this added to the line up, and I think that all true fans of the series should hold back our critiques for the time being, and let the series speak for itself.
But for now, I am happy with HBO’s decision to have gone ahead with this series, and I say thankee sai. (Mind as well end on a nerdy reference as well)
Jordan Mendys is an independent filmmaker and photographer, and also spends time blogging around the web.