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Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba confirmed for lead roles in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

That is the opening line of Stephen King’s decade-spanning magnum opus, The Dark Tower. Now we know that the man in black and the gunslinger will be played by Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba respectively in the film adaptation. Volume 1 of the series, titled The Gunslinger, is about a determined “knight” following the man responsible for his ruin through a post-apocalyptic world that’s equal parts western, sci-fi and horror.

Idris Elba has been rumoured for the role over the last few weeks and McConaughey has had an even longer history with the man in black. The character is also known as Randall Flagg, the antagonist of another King epic, The Stand. McConaughey has long been first choice by fans for the role of Flagg and was even in talks to play him in the recently stalled adaptation of The Stand.

The Dark Tower has gone through several false starts on the road to adaptation. It doesn’t help that the 7-part series is a multiverse-spanning, genre-bending, fourth-wall breaking beast of a work. It’s King’s most ambitious work and all of his best and worst tendencies are on full display. The translation to screen has taken a while, switching hands between J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard, toying with the idea of consecutive films and TV miniseries’, and courting talents like Viggo Mortensen and Javier Bardem for the lead.

It seems like the series has finally found a guiding hand in director Nikolaj Arcel. His work includes directing 2012’s A Royal Affair and writing David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation. Shooting is set to begin in April so we can expect more casting news in the coming weeks. They’re certainly off to a damn good start.

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