On Tuesday morning, King confirmed long-standing rumors that Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey would bring to life the Gunslinger Roland Deschain and the Man in Black, respectively. He deleted his first tweet with the news—presumably because he got Elba’s Twitter handle incorrect—before reposting it. To confirm the news, King quoted the first line from the first Dark Tower novel.
Offering his praise for Elba in particular, King said that he’s “a terrific actor, one of the best working in the business right now.”
Elba and McConaughey offered some playful banter with the announcement, which will delight many of the fans who have waited years to see these characters come to life on-screen.
While King and director/co-writer Nikolaj Arcel won’t confirm which novel the movie will adapt, it’s likely that it won’t be the first one, The Gunslinger.
“[The movie] starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they’ll get behind it, because it is the story,” King told Entertainment Weekly.
Elba’s rumored casting sparked some controversy among fans who didn’t like a black actor playing a white role, citing the racial tensions between Roland and Susannah—a black woman who treats Roland with hostility when they first meet—as part of the reason Roland needed to be white. But Arcel is assuring fans that it will still be addressed.
“Some fans are asking, understandably, ‘What about the racial tension?’” Arcel said. “But as the story progresses that will be made clear, how we’ll deal with all those things.”