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The journey to bring The Dark Tower to the screen has begun to feel as long as Roland Deschain’s actual journey to find the titular building. Every time things seem to move forward, they’re then followed by a step backward. However, things looked to truly begin to move when we learned that producers were talking to actors about casting some of the key roles. The most exciting news was that Idris Elba was seen as the frontrunner to play the lead role of Roland, the last gunslinger. This news was met with some degree of concern by some corners because Roland, as depicted in Stephen King’s novels, is white. Well, the movie’s writer and producer has his own feelings about those concerns. He doesn’t give a shit.
Akiva Goldsman is absolutely in love with the idea of Idris Elba playing The Gunslinger. His excitement is palpable in a recent interview where he speaks about the possibility of Elba in the role. His feelings toward those that don’t like the casting choice are equally clear. They can go to hell.
I'm unbelievably proud of it as a collaborator on this enterprise and because I think that he's a great actor and I couldn't be more thrilled that he is likely to play a part... I understand that people who are thoughtful about the storytelling and the racial politics of the storytelling might want to understand how that informs that storytelling, and I respect that and I hear that, and those things are not things we didn't think about or don't think about. The racist assholes should go fuck themselves.
So, no need to sugar coat those comments. Akiva Goldsman goes on to tell IGN that the only consideration in casting was "who do we think the best guy for the job is and can we get him." Goldsman obviously doesn’t think that race is ultimately an issue for the character, and has a serious problem with anybody who does. The comments echo those of Stephen King himself who was only curious how fast Elba could draw.
Since Akiva Goldsman wrote the script and King wrote the story they certainly understand what is, and what is not, important for the character in the film. While it is true that in the original novels Roland has a conflict with a major character, who hates him and uses racist language because he’s white, there’s no way to know if there were ever plans for any of that to make its way to the screen. The character in question is also a homicidal sociopath, so it’s not like she can’t invent completely new reasons to hate people. She hates everybody, it’s kind of the point. The conflict takes place over less than half of one book in a seven book story. It’s simply not vital.
Instead, I’ll focus on the fact that Goldsman says that Idris Elba is "likely" to play the role. While our previous news said that the Luther actor was at the top of the studio’s list, Avika Goldsman makes it sound like things may be a little further along than that. This is good news if the movie actually has any hopes of making the January 2017 release date that it’s currently set for.