The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed
March 2, 2016 1:44 AM   Subscribe

34 years after the first book in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series was published, he announced that the film adaptation has begun production. The gunslinger? Idris Elba. The man in black? Matthew McConaughey.
posted by Ouverture (126 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
My only regret is not titling this post "The Matt in black fled across the desert and the gunStringer followed".
posted by Ouverture at 1:45 AM on March 2, 2016 [56 favorites]


I recently listened to Marc Maron's interview with Brian Grazer (Hollywood producer extraordinaire), which is a fascinating and brilliant interview that delves deeply into how Hollywood works through the lens of a pretty extraordinary life. And among the things Grazer shares at one point is how once you write a thing down, even a short idea, that thing exists, and the existence of that thing has power in Hollywood. And once a thing that exists starts to get attention, one of the best ways to get that thing actually made (getting money backing, developing a script, etc) is to get a bankable star attached to it to draw in the money interest.

Announcing Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as part of this project is brilliant.
posted by hippybear at 2:07 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Alright, alright, alright.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:09 AM on March 2, 2016 [17 favorites]


And the Scenes from a Multiverse webcomic has interrupted its ongoing coverage of politics to do the first of a-promised-several comics about The Dark Tower. Life is good.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:18 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Announcing Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey as part of this project is brilliant.

I have one real concern (the fact the casting isn't book accurate is a minor concern, I'll get over it): the way they are talking about adapting it, and seemingly setting much of it in the real world.

Arcel declined to specify which books his movie focus on, but he did offer this clue: “A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world.”

See. That feels... wrong.
I am sad we won't see the Gungslinger, Roland's back story (The Wind Through The Keyhole and the 'Little Sisters...' short are my personal favourites), because the batshitinsane world of the Gunslinger is, frankly, the most interesting bit.

And some of the worst bits outside the Wolves of Calla (my least favourite) are set in the real world.

(Are they doing to cast Young Roland, and if so, who?)
posted by Mezentian at 2:20 AM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


But this first film will not adapt the plot of the first book, The Gunslinger, published in 1982.

Whaaaaaaaaat?!?
posted by heatvision at 2:20 AM on March 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


On the one hand, it could be 11.22.63 good.
On the other hand it could be $Dreamcatcher bad.
On the gripping hand, who will Stephen King cameo as?
posted by Mezentian at 2:23 AM on March 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


Ah, the short was 'The Little Sisters of Eluria', which was in Robert Silverberg's Legends collection, and is such an amazing mish-mash of post apocalyptic weirdness and western tropes I immediately went out and broke my rule about not buying series until they were finished.

I did not regest that decision until The Wolves of Calla. And then sporadically afterwards. YMMV.
posted by Mezentian at 2:30 AM on March 2, 2016


But this first film will not adapt the plot of the first book, The Gunslinger, published in 1982.

Oh man my comment was going to be that The Gunslinger was pretty good and would make good cinema, the rest of it not so much.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:54 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


One of my absolute favorite series. I am of course worried (as anyone who loves a set of books is when it gets screen-adapted). But excited too..

So, who is Susan? And Eddie?
posted by nat at 3:38 AM on March 2, 2016


Re: the real-world stuff -- my guess is that they're going to start with Drawing Of The Three. Our world, but different moments in it, plus it sets up the members of the ka-tet, and establishes the linked universes.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:00 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


please don't suck please don't suck please don't suck please don't suck
posted by dogheart at 4:18 AM on March 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


I did the dark tower in an audio book binge (yay commute), something like 145 hours worth. That leaves a mark.
posted by Bovine Love at 4:21 AM on March 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


I love this series and in fact I'm rereading it now, but I just can't get excited for this. They are so essentially BOOKS, the filmmakers will have to change so much to make it work. That's not even mentioning all of the SK plot which surely they will cut, right?
posted by that's how you get ants at 4:23 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I dig this. Starting in the middle pulls away the visual and special effects crutch and hopefully moves the acting and story to the forefront. I am certain if it does well, we'll wind up with a JJ Abrams lens flare inspired first book to satisfy the completionists. This is trying to get to the meat of the stories, not the window dressing.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:25 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm unduly excited about this (Idrod Elba! As Roland!), but if I'm being honest with myself it would probably make a way better HBO series.
posted by Itaxpica at 4:30 AM on March 2, 2016 [10 favorites]


They are so essentially BOOKS, the filmmakers will have to change so much to make it work.

Eh, people said the same thing about The Lord of the Rings, and that turned out... Well, it turned out, anyway.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:35 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Books that were inspired, in part, by Leone's weird dreamscape montages of the West.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:52 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I say this as a diehard Stephen King fan and someone who was obsessed with the Dark Tower series for a while (I read most of the first book in serialized sections in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, back in the eighties): let's try and not project too much, folks. I can see why starting at the Drawing of the Three would make sense; as much as I love the first book, and especially the first chapter, it's also a flashback within a flashback, and while what happens in Tull is an excellent action set piece (of many in the series), it might also be... problematic in establishing Roland as a character. I'm not saying that they shouldn't show it, but with the series' many other extensive flashbacks, they can always come back to it later.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:56 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty apprehensive about this. Then agian ive been in the dark tower roller coaster of practical real world emotions since I was stuck riding that damn train for a decade in the mid nineties.

Here's hoping my username here doesn't become a mockery on the big screen.

Charyou tree.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:59 AM on March 2, 2016 [8 favorites]


Great casting, now I'm just wondering who Eddie and Susannah will be. Twenty years ago I would've said Bill Paxton and Angela Basset (they were in my head as I read), but they will probably go younger and hipper.

I've actually just finished The Wolves of the Calla and am deliberating whether or not to finish the last two books. Wolves was mostly good, but could've trimmed at least a hundred pages worth. As for this movie...just...HOW? One film only, or will it be cliffhangers and multiple sequels? A condensed, stand-alone film has potential, but if they go that route it will necessarily be fundamentally different from the books. I mean, if it's one film, they'd have to excise entire books of the series, thousands of pages of plot.

Then again, much of the books are rather plodding and, as I just said, needed some trimming up. Maybe a condensed version is just what's needed.
posted by zardoz at 5:02 AM on March 2, 2016


since I was stuck riding that damn train

Blaine?
posted by Mezentian at 5:07 AM on March 2, 2016 [10 favorites]


As for this movie...just...HOW? One film only, or will it be cliffhangers and multiple sequels?

The old plan was for filums and TV series mixed.
Which seemed crazy until Marvel.
Now, if you mix in Young Roland, Mid Roland and Movie Roland... it seems less crazy.
posted by Mezentian at 5:08 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


My dream casting for Susannah would be Gina Torres, although since she's three years older than Elba, that probably ain't gonna happen. :-/
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:15 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Which seemed crazy until Marvel.

I wouldn't say Marvel have actually made it work, TBH. Certainly not with Agents of SHIELD, the thing that is most analogous.
posted by Artw at 5:17 AM on March 2, 2016


I wouldn't say Marvel have actually made it work, TBH.

They made mixing movies, film and streaming work better than anyone else so far.
posted by Mezentian at 5:19 AM on March 2, 2016


Hearing Idris' casting really excited me. Hearing that they're not going to adapt the first book took nearly all the wind from those sails. I don't understand what they're going to do here.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:24 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I really want is for this movie to show Roland's next trip to the tower. Not the one we spent seven books and several short stories reading about, but the one that begins where the books end. It would become an extension of the lore instead of a visual representation of what already exists. They'll never be able to please the die hard Dark Tower fans, so why not embrace that and continue the story? Like Stephen himself said, "The books will still be there, just as you remember them."
posted by Brackish at 5:24 AM on March 2, 2016 [26 favorites]


That's.... not a bad idea.
posted by Mezentian at 5:26 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


They aren't doing the first book? I'm out!
posted by tunewell at 5:29 AM on March 2, 2016


I literally....yes literally....went "Ooooooo" out loud when I read Gunslinger and Idris Elba in the same sentence. He perfect to do the life-beaten cross between a western gunslinger and a knight.
posted by beowulf573 at 5:33 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


"The books will still be there, just as you remember them."

But didn't King "George Lucas" the first book?
posted by ennui.bz at 5:35 AM on March 2, 2016


Blaine?

Blaine is a pain. Especially when you ride him for 7 years or so between books.

Brackish, interesting concept but perhaps use caution lest you dive too deep into spoilers.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:37 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Brackish, interesting concept but perhaps use caution lest you dive too deep into spoilers.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:37 AM on March 2 [+] [!]


Epony..... eh.

You know.
posted by Mezentian at 5:40 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can't wait to see what a Thinny looks like.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 5:45 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


They made mixing movies, film and streaming work better than anyone else so far.


But the streaming is significantly more detached than the television component, and the points where the television component are most attached are where it doesn't work.
posted by Artw at 5:53 AM on March 2, 2016


It doesn't necessarily sound like they're not going to do the Gunslinger; they're just not going to do it first. They could do it later as a prequel or bring it in with flashbacks. As much as I want to see it it probably wouldn't make a good first movie, given what Roland does in it and the fact that there's practically no dialogue for weeks at a time.

Waste Lands would be a brilliant one to throw people in the middle of because of all the questions it would raise, and if this whole thing kicks off with the gang being chased through the woods by a giant screaming bear in a hat, that's...kind of great. As long as the very first and last scenes of the entire series are...spoiler, but what they should be.

As for the casting, I've had Peter Weller in my head as Roland for so long it's hard to picture anyone else doing it, but given that Peter Weller is essentially an animated skull at this point, Idris Elba is a pretty awesome replacement. I am a bit worried they won't be able to find the proper dog-raccoon hybrid for Oy, and kind of worried about Eddie (Edward Norton would ROCK this if they're ok with aging him up) and Jake and Susannah, and really worried about what they're going to do with Suze in general. Like in all of Drawing of the Three. And then the thing with the demon. And then all the other things.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 5:54 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Spoilers, I guess:

If they are doing a version of Roland on his next go round skipping The Gunslinger would make more sense. I can see leaving out Tull and Zoltan and all that but letting Jake fall is so essential to the character of our Roland. However, maybe the movie Roland doesn't need to pass that particular damnation test.

Really all they have to do is start the movie with Roland having the horn.
posted by that's how you get ants at 6:30 AM on March 2, 2016 [7 favorites]


Hopefully there will be an after-credits sequence, if you follow me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:32 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]




I'm super excited for this, and I'm just going to try starting right now to mentally separate the DT books and the film adaptation, because there's probably going to be a lot of creative license taken. My advice to anyone who's looking for a faithful adaptation with very little deviation from the original is this:

Go then. There are other worlds than these.
posted by duffell at 6:41 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


As excited as I am for this, I'm also really dreading it. This will be a completely new vision of Mid-World and all of the characters in it, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give up MY vision of all that stuff.
posted by MsVader at 6:45 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've already had The Stand ruined for me. I don't know that I can have the Dark Tower saga ruined for me as well.
posted by MsVader at 6:46 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is great, I feel like you guys are actually referencing me in nearly every other comment and not my amazing character-screenname-muse. I'm a badass apparently.

I'm just going to try starting right now to mentally separate the DT books and the film adaptation, because there's probably going to be a lot of creative license taken.

Good luck with that.

My advice to anyone who's looking for a faithful adaptation with very little deviation from the original is this:

Go then. There are other worlds than these.


Hrm... well played.

Also, I've said it at least 5 times on here in various threads but the DT comics are actually really decent and even amazing at times. If you're a fan of the DT and even half-way like comic books then I'd say to seek them out lest you miss out on some great visuals, additional info (decide if you want to think of it as cannon or not, that's on you), and wonderful storytelling.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:52 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Dark Tower books are just about the only King I haven't read, this reminds me that I should finally get around to it. But the man in black is Randall Flagg, more or less, right? Wonder what this means for The Stand adaptation where McConaughey supposedly was going to play Flagg.
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:56 AM on March 2, 2016


But the man in black is Randall Flagg, more or less, right?

It's complicated.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:06 AM on March 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


The casting here is going to do wonders for the quantity of Roland/Man In Black slash.
posted by duffell at 7:16 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's complicated, but it's complicated because Flagg is complicated.

(Also, I'm sure some suit is drooling over the idea of a Stephen King Expanded Universe tied together by McConaughey.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:17 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is one of those series that didn't grab me at all so I never got very far. I will probably give the movie a shot unless it promises to be a real stinker.

If I am honest, I might say I am mostly looking forward to gifs of Elba and McConaughey taking over Tumblr.
posted by emjaybee at 7:17 AM on March 2, 2016


I'm sure some suit is drooling over the idea of a Stephen King Expanded Universe tied together by McConaughey.

I'm drooling over the idea and I'm not even wearing a suit.

Also, how about Aaron Paul for Eddie Dean?
posted by Uncle Ira at 7:27 AM on March 2, 2016 [11 favorites]


An adaptation of The Gunslinger with Luther and Rust Cohle would basically be a Jodorowsky movie, and my favorite movie probably, and...it would make twenty bucks. I get the direction they're going in, but I'm at once very excited and a little bit sad.

I feel not quite aware enough of young-ish actors to know who would be good for Susannah and Eddie. My first thought for Eddie was Aaron Paul, which is both typecasting and problematic because Paul must be closing in on forty now. Evan Peters (American Horror Story) would probably kill it, though. Susannah...man, again, everyone I can think of is so old now. And don't even get me started on casting Jake. Where would you even look? Wow, casting is...hard.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:33 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


What I love about this the most is, you just know that Elba and McConaughey have never read the books, and therefore will be bringing their Luther- and Wooderson-ness selves to the party, which will make this gumbo oh so very wonderful.

"All right, all right, all..."
"Shut yer bloody mauf."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:34 AM on March 2, 2016


It's complicated, but it's complicated because Flagg is complicated.

Also because The Gunslinger was among (if not *the*, at least conceptually and put to paper if not actually by publish date, but I forget) the very, very first of SK's works and the concept evolved around a drug and alcohol infused, and later clean, writer that also experienced major changes in tone after being hit by a van while walking along a street.

Ok, ok, so mostly the former but if you don't notice the latter then we're not reading the same SK.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:38 AM on March 2, 2016


I am sufficiently thrilled at the prospect of Idris Elba as Mefi's Own RolandOfEld that I don't really care what happens otherwise with this. I always figured (a) they'd eventually make something and (b) it would have all kinds of problems, so this is just a incrementally positive step in my expectations even if with a bad outcome.

And it's weird, because I'm definitely more than anything a big Luther fan, and Roland really doesn't roll like John Luther in a lot of ways, so seeing where the treatment goes and where Elba's characterization goes is really pretty exciting.

Rust Cohl as the existentialist wizard-baddie is icing.

I'm a little bummed that they're not starting with a Gunslinger-y plot because that first novel is such a beautifully constrained bit of weird world building and character stuff, a so-dry-you-get-parched-reading bit of storytelling that I think could be done really well as its own film. But maybe they'll get there. Or maybe they'll do it some justice working it in to whatever they're doing.
posted by cortex at 7:54 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


And it's weird, because I'm definitely more than anything a big Luther fan, and Roland really doesn't roll like John Luther in a lot of ways, so seeing where the treatment goes and where Elba's characterization goes is really pretty exciting.

Fingers crossed for London geezer accent, init.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Re: Not starting with the Gunslinger ... You can do that movie in about 15 minutes, hitting all the action and all the backstory and all the narrative notes. What is on the page does not have to translate into visuals that take a lot of time. Visual shorthand can do a lot of the heavy lifting.

The reverse is true, as well. Consider that the entire "you talking to me?" scene in Taxi Driver was a) improvised by De Niro and b) on the page, existed only as the stage direction, "Travis looks in the mirror."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:59 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh god I just realized that Elba was Charles Miner in The Office and I went from 'totally ignorant of his resume and just hesitant in general' straight to 'this could work but how can I find a way to mind bleach Michael Scott telling him he doesn't get to talk after besting him in the inter-office political battle'.

Damn you IMDB.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:08 AM on March 2, 2016


You can, but I wish they wouldn't. The parts of Dark Tower set on Earth, whether it's Eddie and Susannah's Earth or Stephen King's, are the worst part of the series (at least until book seven) - Mid-World is the selling point, and IMO that lean, borderline delirious first book is its best showing.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:09 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


What is on the page does not have to translate into visuals that take a lot of time. Visual shorthand can do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Oh, for sure. But then, Gunslinger as a story and an aesthetic exercise is in significant part a western, coming out of a love for exactly the kind of slow-burn, not-rushing-the-plot-beats imagery that works so well in e.g. Leone stuff.

I just watched Seven Samurai again recently, and that's a lengthy film not primarily because there's just too much plot to get through; the plot's relatively simple and it's not exactly chockablock with dialogue either. It just takes that same approach: time is a tool, not an obstacle. Shit simmers. Shit draws out. The weight of the things which do happen, when they happen, depends a lot on the amount of time and tension that went into them not-happening-yet.

I'm interested either way, and I basically agree with the sentiment that building a movie for broad audiences and not just big Gunslinger fans means that bringing in more story and characters is a good call. But that Gunslinger could be a half of an act worth of flashbacks doesn't mean that the two hour version wouldn't also potentially be amazing, and more true to the spirit of the original idea King had and the first novel that came out of it.
posted by cortex at 8:10 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Look at cortex diving deep into the lore and roots of things, I always knew I liked you.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:13 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow is Elba perfect as Roland, all weary dignity and grit. Can we nominate Sam Rockwell as... the author who appears in the later books? I’d watch the hell out of that.

Also I want Terrence Malick to direct at least one of them so it can open with a 12-minute shot of a luminous, flickering rose of unutterable beauty. Only kidding a little, that'd be appropriately trippy & kind of great
posted by miles per flower at 8:26 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


On the gripping hand, who will Stephen King cameo as?

Stephen King, of course.
posted by Lucinda at 8:40 AM on March 2, 2016


They aren't doing the first book? I'm out!

The (spoilers) cyclical nature of the story and the fact that it is Roland's Groundhog Day writ large mean they can basically start anywhere in terms of adapting this to film.

The opening of the Gunslinger - "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed" - is a great first sentence for a novel. It could be a great visual for a film, but it may not be the best visual to start a movie (or series of movies). That sentence sets up a lot of things for the reader, but for the viewer, how do you make that scene mean something that makes them want to stick around? Starting with the gunslinger on the beach (lobstrosities!) at the opening of the Drawing of the Three might work just as well, or perhaps better - Roland, alone, on the edge of the Western Sea, in a world that has moved on.

And then the cyclical nature of the story (ka is like a wheel) can play out however they want - flashbacks, flash forwards, flash sideways, etc. As much of a slog as some of the later books - Wolves especially - were, there are still some great scenes and set pieces that can be done. And (on preview), as cortex suggests above, the Dark Tower books use a lot of the slow burn and build approach of a Western, which could work really well on screen, when contrasted with the frantic jump-cuts of today's action franchises (and I realize I'm starting to think of the slow-burns used in Inglorious Basterds, particularly the opening sequence and the tavern sequence). This could be amazing, if everyone involved remembers the face of their father.

But, you know, wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which fills up first. One thing is for sure - the gunslinger will go on, whatever happens in this movie.

(have Books moved out of their pilot phase on FanFare? Might be we need to palaver about the Dark Tower books).
posted by nubs at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I just decided that the series ended right before he wrote himself into the plot. I'd rather live in a reality where the ending was never written, because the ending was so terrible. I feel the same way about King as I do about Lucas. Its bizarre to love the worlds they created and yet loathe the creators for what they did to them.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 8:59 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


That said, I cheered aloud when I read about the casting yesterday. Please don't suck.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 9:01 AM on March 2, 2016


Well, I guess we're doing spoilers? Sweet.

Really all they have to do is start the movie with Roland having the horn.

As entirely awesome as that idea is, Roland once he's actually Learned Some Things might not be nearly as interesting.

Also, if they're doing a MCU-type movie plus TV thing, I am politely requesting an HBO series about Cuthbert, where all he does is crack jokes and shoot things very very quickly. Please.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:02 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


King did say on Twitter that despite the movie picking up in medias res it will absolutely begin with "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:04 AM on March 2, 2016


Roland once he's actually Learned Some Things might not be nearly as interesting

But must the horn actually imply 'Learned Some Things' or only the last hoorah/chance or god knows what?
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:07 AM on March 2, 2016


I've never been sure if Roland having the Horn means anything or not, because it seems to me that what Roland really needs to learn is how to be less of an asshole. The Horn is perhaps one sign of that in that he remembered what Cuthbert asked him to do, but not the only thing that needs to happen.
posted by nubs at 9:12 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


The way I always read it is that the fact that he picked it up instead of leaving it there showed progress and suggested that the whole thing was more of a ... spiral with the possibility of change and an eventual end, rather than an eternal circle. But that kind of gets into some really spoilery stuff about his ultimate place in things and damn, I thought I was done caring about this series.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:12 AM on March 2, 2016


I thought I was done caring about this series.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:12 AM on March 2 [+] [!]


eponysterical.
posted by nubs at 9:15 AM on March 2, 2016


and suggested that the whole thing was more of a ... spiral

vs a flat circle, as it were
posted by cortex at 9:17 AM on March 2, 2016 [5 favorites]


my guess is that they're going to start with Drawing Of The Three. Our world, but different moments in it, plus it sets up the members of the ka-tet, and establishes the linked universes.

This is actually how I started the series, totally by accident. My aunt was moving and let me come over and go through the books she wasnt taking. So I got a fairly heavy box of books and a few weeks later I was looking through for one to read. As I had never read a Stephen King, I figured I'd pick one of his that she gave me. It was The Drawing of the Three and I read it with earnest only to find out later it was the 2nd in the series.

So starting with The Drawing of the Three would seem natural to me anyways.


(I did happen to get the first in the box from my aunt and read that too. The rest I got either at the library or Half Price Books. I did pay full price for the last one at Barnes and Noble because stupid Georgia doesn't have Half Price Books.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:18 AM on March 2, 2016


This series is still the only Stephen King that I've read.
posted by LizBoBiz at 9:19 AM on March 2, 2016


whole thing was more of a ... spiral with the possibility of change and an eventual end

Oh yeah, there's going to be changes and there is a possible end to Roland's journey. It's just that there seems to be a lot of things he has to do right each time through to achieve that end. It's Groundhog Day, if Bill Murray had to travel across alternative universes on a journey that takes years, without any memory of what happened the last time, so Roland basically has to make all the right decisions with no benefit of his past experiences. Been a long time since I've read any of it, but it seems to me that the last book in particular was pointing out that Roland has been on this journey for a long time and might still have a long time to go.
posted by nubs at 9:26 AM on March 2, 2016


Exactly, except part of me wonders if the Tower might need Roland chasing after it because that's actually part of what holds it up, in which case it can never end, no matter how much progress he makes as a person. Which is so bleak I kind of like it. The flat circle wins again.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:30 AM on March 2, 2016 [6 favorites]


Spoilers abound here so I'm just going with it.

part of me wonders if the Tower might need Roland chasing after it

I wondered the same thing. If he might not be the electrical potential to the tower's motor. The nineteen stuff kinda works against that but not necessarily.

bleak

Horrifying you mean. Horrifying. SK outdid himself with that one. Immortality, unaware of it but immortality all the same, but at what price.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:40 AM on March 2, 2016 [4 favorites]


I actually think McConaughey would make a better Eddie Dean than Walter....but who cares! I am cautiously optimistic about this.

Who will be cast as Eddie? As Jake? As Susannah?

Oh man, they have to do the flashbacks/prequels ; Who will play young Roland? Who will play Stephen? CORT?!

I am totally fan-boying out over here.

I haven't been this excited to hear about a new movie since that awesome 'Alien' prequel.

Oh god. Please, don't be Prometheus.
posted by das_2099 at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2016


Well, pulling a card from my deck of endings I liked but the Internet hated, maybe it's like Lost. Once Roland's journey is finally done, and he finally gets to close his eyes and rest, another guardian or defender will open his eyes and take on the task of chasing the tower of his own when and where.
posted by that's how you get ants at 9:44 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


i had long ago distanced myself from any film/tv adaptations of King's work. recently i thought i'd give 11.22.63 a shot. after seeing how it took them only two episodes to completely fuck over that insanely good read, i can most assuredly say i will go nowhere near this undoubted abomination-to-be.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:47 AM on March 2, 2016


Also, I've never seen The Wire but if we're doing Idris Elba as Roland then Michael B Jordan as Eddie?
posted by that's how you get ants at 9:51 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


then Michael B Jordan as Eddie?

Yes. I am fine with this.
posted by das_2099 at 9:56 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's not Roland's journey that ends; maybe its his attachment to the world and the pain that brings that ends. When he finally gets things right, he doesn't end the cycle in a literal sense or fix the universe or shore up the tower per se, he just removes himself from worry and reification of human fears and needs and so forth.

Nirvana, in the end, is learning to fundamentally and truly forget the face of your father. Enlightenment is being reincarnated as a man who would change nothing about himself, who regrets nothing not because his decisions are good but because the idea of decision-making is revealed to be an illusion.

The man who pulls back the curtain on his own life and sees only himself behind it, smiling back peacefully.
posted by cortex at 10:00 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


The lie I tell myself is that The Gunslinger is a standalone book. It's a bizarre, grim, coke-fueled hallucination about an austere alien world where entropy reigns, and man it's fucking dark. Intentional murder of children, the woman in the bar, the way-station, the final palaver with Walter. The gunslinger is inscrutable, his motives implacable. He's the protagonist, but no hero.

The rest of it is like an Alice in Wonderland for the King-o-verse, looping in nonsense from Insomnia, Salem's Lot, and I don't know what the fuck from Wolves of the Calla. I would get behind this casting for the first book, but count me out for the rest, and definitely not the whole set-in-the-modern-day thing.
posted by Existential Dread at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


I agree with you, Cortex, but as the flipside of that is the pessimistic (horrifying) view that the Tower needs Roland to be broken and learning but never perfecting himself or actually hitting whatever enlightenment is defined as, because his actual act of chasing and never succeeding is part of what's needed to hold the thing up, or renew the beams, or what have you.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:08 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


Could the mods include a spoilers tag on this post. I didn't know that discussion of casting would net huge plot points of a massive series of books.
posted by chonus at 10:19 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


We don't really have a no-spoilers expectation for stuff not-on-FanFare beyond "don't stick it above the fold"; with a MeFi post about a piece of pop culture, knowing what the subject is before you click inside is pretty much the whole warning, and folks need to proceed accordingly, as much as I sympathize if someone gets caught out by not realizing that's site practice.
posted by cortex at 10:34 AM on March 2, 2016


Maybe it's not Roland's journey that ends; maybe its his attachment to the world and the pain that brings that ends. When he finally gets things right, he doesn't end the cycle in a literal sense or fix the universe or shore up the tower per se, he just removes himself from worry and reification of human fears and needs and so forth.

Would this not be an end to his journey? Roland's journey is metaphysical; he thinks it is about the universe, but it is about him. Once he achieves this ability to let go of his attachments and obsessions and his wrong thoughts and perceptions, his journey ends - or it never begins. Which is also an ending. There's some of the Buddha's Four Noble Truths and Eightfold path here in Roland's journey and quest, but particularly the ending of the books raises the question of Cessation.

the Tower needs Roland to be broken and learning but never perfecting himself or actually hitting whatever enlightenment is defined as, because his actual act of chasing and never succeeding is part of what's needed to hold the thing up, or renew the beams, or what have you.

Which is a way of saying that the running of the universe depends upon the imperfectibility of man, and provides a different answer to the question of Cessation. And I guess that is what I like about how the series ends in general - you can take that ending to mean either thing. Roland is caught in an infinite loop, playing things out differently every time, but still caught in a journey towards a perfection that cannot be attained; or there is hope that he can attain it, that this will Cease.

I would also like to suggest a third alternative - that Roland achieving the goals of his journey and getting to cortex's Nirvana is what the Tower needs to be restored and made whole. Arriving at the tower is not the end; Roland must achieve right intentions, right actions, and right thought, etc. along the journey and in so doing, he heals both himself and the fundamental underpinnings of the multi-verse and everything transcends to a new state. That is, the answer is both/and, rather than either/or.
posted by nubs at 10:42 AM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fanfare thingie re gauging interest in a reread/discussion chock full of spoilers.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:01 AM on March 2, 2016


On the gripping hand, who will Stephen King cameo as?

Oh, just wait until we're five or six movies in..
posted by fight or flight at 11:07 AM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


I didn't know that discussion of casting would net huge plot points of a massive series of books.

For what it's worth, what with the liberties they seem to be taking (what with including a female charachter [Tirana?] already, you may know as much about the film version as I do.

Small solace, and sorry for spoilers, I worried it would get intense in here. Cry pardon and all that.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:21 AM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


cortex I mean, I just, I absolutely reject nearly everything from your last comment but I support your right to say it and all that...
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:24 AM on March 2, 2016


Arriving at the tower is not the end; Roland must achieve right intentions, right actions, and right thought, etc. along the journey and in so doing, he heals both himself and the fundamental underpinnings of the multi-verse and everything transcends to a new state.

Not a new theory, and well founded and supported, namely via the idea that 19 plays so strongly into things and all that it could, possibly, entail surrounding his arrival.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:27 AM on March 2, 2016


Not a new theory, and well founded and supported, namely via the idea that 19 plays so strongly into things and all that it could, possibly, entail surrounding his arrival.

Well, I obviously need a re-read because I remember bits of pieces of some of these things, but don't feel like I can write out a coherent take on anything because it's been so long.
posted by nubs at 11:54 AM on March 2, 2016


Cripes, I wanna see Blaine on the big-screen so so so bad
posted by Greg Nog at 12:01 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.
posted by delfin at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2016 [3 favorites]


Cripes, I wanna see Blaine on the big-screen so so so bad

I think Blaine was definitely influenced by Box from Logan's Run.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:14 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Voiced by Gilbert Gottfried.

An angry version of BART, complete with bedbug infestation
posted by Existential Dread at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2016


Club created to discuss ins and outs of a Book discussion/reread thread (now superseding the previously linked fanfare talk thread, just to keep things unconfusing).
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:47 PM on March 2, 2016


Awwww yis.

There's a great moment in one of the Wire extras there's a cast Show and Tell and a woman stands up and says 'Mr Elba... Thank you for existing.'
posted by Sebmojo at 1:41 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


The Gunslinger is the shortest and easiest I'd think to get into a movie and they're not going to follow the plot? I mean, yeah the books are going to have to be trimmed to be put into a movie but COME. ON.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:44 PM on March 2, 2016


Dad-a-chum? Dum-a-chum? Ded-a-chek?
posted by kythuen at 4:23 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Which is to say I think Drawing of the Three is a great place to start, as long as they start at, you know, the START.

Also, from now on I'm reading anything RolandofEld posts in Idris Elba's voice.
posted by kythuen at 4:27 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Kill if you will, but command me nothing!” the gunslinger roared. “You have forgotten the faces of those who made you! Now either kill us or be silent and listen to me, Roland of Gilead, son of Steven, gunslinger, and lord of the ancient lands! I have not come across all the miles and all the years to listen to you and your childish prating! Do you understand? Now you will listen to ME!

- The Dark Tower, Roland speaking to Blaine (who is a pain)
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:17 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


See, that's not even fair!
posted by kythuen at 5:22 PM on March 2, 2016 [2 favorites]


Suddenly, I am pretty sad this isn't a TV show. I do think Drawing is a good jumping off point (also, I can see that cold open in my head and it is amazing) but you really could do a fantastic job interweaving the different books* into a terrific long narrative but you need time, way more time than a movie.

At some point I heard murmurs of a movie and then a series (or some combo anyway), but I haven't heard anything else about that in a long time.

*Or, probably more accurately, the different stories. I think the visual form of the story will be, as they say, from the world next door rather than the one we're intimately familiar with.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:46 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's so weird. There's nothing I love more than rereading an old favorite... But so many SK books are old favorites. I wonder how long it would take me to do them all again. I wonder if there is a good order for that.
posted by Night_owl at 7:14 PM on March 2, 2016


Also, I guess I need to finally take another stab at reading The Shining.
posted by Night_owl at 7:15 PM on March 2, 2016


I think they're gonna start with Jake in New York and the plot of the first book will play out in dreams that are haunting him. At least that was the rumour I heard kicking about on reddit yesterday.
posted by mannequito at 7:18 PM on March 2, 2016


You guys. I saw this announced on Stephen King's facebook yesterday, and like 80% of the comments were variations on the theme of "I'm not racist, but now I'll say something racist." and I sighed down to my shoes.

and I am very happy for metafilter.

I liked the books! I also audiobooked them and was quite into it. I traditionally dislike Matthew McC, but I'm willing to give him another shot if he's coming with Idris Elba, who is just one of those guys who seems so cool I'm glad I'll never have to meet him because I would just have no ability to talk to someone so handsome and naturally cool.
posted by euphoria066 at 7:26 PM on March 2, 2016


Hari Kondabolu's standup bit on Matthew McConaughey's Advocate interview is perfection.
posted by duffell at 7:44 PM on March 2, 2016


I also audiobooked them and was quite into it.

Frank Muller, before his death, narrated a few of the DT books and I highly recommend them.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:53 PM on March 2, 2016 [1 favorite]


You guys. I saw this announced on Stephen King's facebook yesterday, and like 80% of the comments were variations on the theme of "I'm not racist, but now I'll say something racist." and I sighed down to my shoes.

I saw some headlines yesterday, but they basically boiled down to "Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba cast in film version of The Dark Tower" and I thought, not bad - McConaughey wouldn't be my first choice for Roland, but, you know, whatever. It wasn't until this thread that I discovered it was Elba for Roland and McConaughey for the man in black and I was like "that's actually pretty awesome casting".
posted by nubs at 8:40 PM on March 2, 2016


I actually enjoyed the very, shall we say, 'colorful' early interactions that take place between Odetta/Detta and Roland. It seems like that may be a casualty of this adaptation and that's ok. I mean even besides the fact that they're already, seemingly anyway, making long shot accommodations to get this thing out of production hell. Besides the fact that it may not be [clearly] starting with book one. Hell, maybe they'll make up for it somewhere else.

But, yes, to be clear, I did see some race-casting comments [elsewhere] that made me, and I bet would even make SK's blood boil, pretty disgusted and angry with people in general.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:45 PM on March 2, 2016


I wonder how long it would take me to do them all again. I wonder if there is a good order for that.

Aside from The Dark Tower, I'd suggest publication order, since: why not?
You can then argue if the DT should be read as a hole series at once in there, or in publication order.
Or, backwards.

Either way, you've have to slough through the Drug Years.

I actually enjoyed the very, shall we say, 'colorful' early interactions that take place between Odetta/Detta

I've seen a few different takes on this.
Since I doubt they'd go the Sensible, TrumpTM path and make Odetta white, and you really need that some sort of frission between the characters, and the race baiting is built into the narrative, the best suggestion his for her to treat Roland like an 'uppity house negro' type ala Django Unchained.

Or you $-bend her and make her some other group that has an issue with everyone. I am sure there is some put upon group in society that fits the bill.
posted by Mezentian at 3:04 AM on March 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


Side question. What is it that I've failed to watch if I have no idea who Idris Elba is or why he is so beloved?
posted by Shutter at 4:16 AM on March 3, 2016


The Wire mainly but also Luther, I think. He was amazing in The Wire and his character had a very compelling and gripping and tragic trajectory.
posted by JenMarie at 4:43 AM on March 3, 2016


Side question. What is it that I've failed to watch if I have no idea who Idris Elba is or why he is so beloved?

I can answer this!
He's in a UK crime drama people love (Luthor), which I hear is solid.
He was in The Wire, which people love.

And, if you dislike crime shows, he was Nelson Mandela in a movie.

He was the terrible "cancelling the apocalypse speech" in Pacific Rim.

I can't say he's a great actor, because of the above, because I have not seen them, but people love him, and his background is solid, and while I am not a fan of race-bending, he'll bring the Roland (of he doesn't bring Pacific Rim).
posted by Mezentian at 4:52 AM on March 3, 2016


the man in black is Walter, the dude who fucked up Roland's childhood, isn't it?

I thought Flagg didn't appear until book IV
posted by angrycat at 6:10 AM on March 3, 2016


the man in black is Walter, the dude who fucked up Roland's childhood, isn't it?

Seriously, it's complicated.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:14 AM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]


He was the terrible "cancelling the apocalypse speech" in Pacific Rim.


In a movie featuring a giant robot punching a giant monster with a ship, you're going to pick on the "Cancelling the Apocalypse" speech?

Actually, I'm now kind of hoping to see Idris-as-Roland give a "Cancelling the Apocalypse" speech on the approach to the Dark Tower.
posted by nubs at 8:32 AM on March 3, 2016


I think you mean fucking awesome canceling the apocalypse speech.
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on March 3, 2016


Damn straight, Artw. Somebody should use that speech and see if it would stop the Donald.
posted by nubs at 10:58 AM on March 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Clubs/Fanfare portion of things is gaining speed and gearing up to begin reading Book 1 of the DT series together. That's right, the book that made Roland of Eld a household name, The Gunslinger, is on deck.

Rough details can be found in this comment that can be found in the post that Dormant Gorilla (with the help of cortex I think, in setting up the Clubs* part of things) kindly started for us.

Please feel free to join us (no matter if you've read the series or not), say hi and say what your DT familiarity level is, and we'll see ya in the (upcoming) read-through post sometime tomorrow at the latest.

* Forgive any incorrect mefi-terminology mistakes, they are my own and I cry your pardon.

posted by RolandOfEld at 11:13 AM on March 3, 2016


I think you mean fucking awesome canceling the apocalypse speech.

I'm just amazed people like that scene.
Apparently, I'm in the minority.

Damn straight, Artw. Somebody should use that speech and see if it would stop the Donald.

Well, anything before we get to, you know, a bullet.
Maybe a well placed meme?
posted by Mezentian at 3:39 AM on March 4, 2016


Stacker Pentecost for world president!
posted by Artw at 6:24 AM on March 4, 2016


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