Will Dark Tower Book Fans Like The Movie? Here's What Stephen King Says

Roland and Jake in The Dark Tower

The movie is never the book. This is true of virtually every single film adaptation of a best-selling novel. And over the years, author Stephen King has accumulated countless experiences seeing his words translated by different filmmakers. In the next few weeks, there will be two more movies made from Stephen King books, and as The Dark Tower opens, we were lucky enough to sit down with King and ask him if he thinks fans of his books will enjoy what director Nikolaj Arcel pulled off. King recently told CinemaBlend:

[The Dark Tower] never seemed like a movie-movie idea. It was complex, and it was long. They have done a wonderful job here of telling a story that is coherent, and it pulls a lot of the elements of The Dark Tower. Purists may not like it. I can't tell about that, for sure. Because it doesn't start where the book starts. But at the same time, they'll fall right into it because they know exactly what is going on. But I don't think about that. I mostly think about whatever I am working on at the time. I'm more interested in the next thing than the last thing.

Sony sent CinemaBlend to Bangor, Maine recently for a Stephen King tour, which included stops at several locations around the author's hometown that inspired key moments in his prized novels. We saw the drain that inspired the opening scene in IT, and the truck stop that led to the short story "Trucks," which became Maximum Overdrive. King knows that adapting his colorful works presents challenges, and as the conversation about The Dark Tower continued, King explained to CinemaBlend something vital that people need to know about Nikolaj Arcel's movie. King told us:

There's so many things in the various stories... the plots are fairly complex, and the characters interact and they go back and forth. I think Akiva Goldsman, who wrote the screenplay, picked out what seemed to him to be the most accessible and human-relationship kinds of things between this old guy, Roland, who has been around for a long, long time, and the kid. They have wonderful chemistry, and it comes through on the screen.So yeah, they had to make some decisions. Some of those decisions are related to telling a story that the general public will get. Not just the hardcore Dark Tower fans, the guys who show up at the fantasy conventions with Roland tattooed on their biceps. You have to keep in mind that, of all the books that I've written, the fans of the Dark Tower books and the most zealous, the most fervent ones of them all. But they make a small subgroup of the people who read books like The Shining or Misery, and that sort of thing. They're an acquired taste. They're fantasy.

This much is true. The Dark Tower fans are a vocal bunch. But I think you'll find just as many people heading to the theaters this weekend who know Idris Elba or Matthew McConaughey, but have no clue who Roland or The Man in Black are, and the movie might serve as a proper introduction into this larger world.

The Dark Tower opens in theaters tonight. You can read our review of it here, and come back to the site from more of our Bangor tour, and our conversation with King, as the week continues.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.