...to the Dark Tower came.
So a few weeks ago I mentioned that Stephen King finally signed off on a Dark Tower movie adaptation. I love that they’re finally doing this, King’s greatest work; but I’m also a little hesitant. I love the Dark Tower. It is – in my opinion – probably the greatest piece of epic literature published in the latter part of the twentieth century. In years to come, we’ll speak of it like we speak of Homer’s Odyssey, Beowulf, Elliot’s Wasteland, or Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The biggest thing I’m afraid of – though - is how badly they’re going to screw up the casting of Roland himself.
King has said that Roland IS Clint Eastwood circa A Fistful of Dollars and the rest of his early Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns. Even Eddie remarks at one point in The Drawing of the Three that it’s like he’s actually looking at Clint Eastwood when he first sees Roland Deschaine.
The problem is - Clint is waaaaay too long in the tooth. Hell he was too long in the tooth back in the 80’s when he did Heartbreak Ridge. So I asked the question in my prior blog post, “who the hell should take up the slack for Clint since he’s gone and actually gotten old”?!?
I’ve been thinking about it and I’ve come up with a few possible actors to pick up Sir Roland’s smooth handled guns and I thought I’d throw them up here…
First on our list is one of this year’s Oscar’s best actor nominees... Viggo Mortenson. I think Viggo is probably my number one choice for the role of Roland. I thought so when I saw him in A History of Violence, and it was confirmed when I saw him in Eastern Promises. He has the right look in that he’s got the craggy features, the tall and thin appearance, and he can convey a whole world of hurt with only his eyes. And that’s the most important part about Roland. He’s a man who’s lost everything and everyone he cares about. He’s a man who’s been beaten and knocked low. And yet, there’s still a quiet nobility to him as he mercilessly pursues his quarry across time and space. My only problem with Viggo is a problem I’ve had with him since his speech at the end of LOTR: The Return of the King. He’s got a squeaky, weak sounding voice. I imagined Roland as having a deeper, raspier voice than Viggo’s got. Roland is a man accustomed to long silences, harsh desert air, and years of smoking. In everything I’ve seen Viggo in I can’t help but think he’s too fey sounding. Too bad…
Next we have a personal favorite of mine just because he’s a god. I submit...Clancy Brown. That’s right, bitches – I’m nominating The Kurgan from Highlander as Roland. Suck it - this is my list, not yours! Bear with me on this as I explain… That voice thing I said about Viggo? Yeah, well unlike Mrs. Wispy Mortenson, Clancy sounds like a fucking MAN! He’s got the perfect voice, but he’s also got an intensity about him that would do Roland, son of Stephen Deschaine, true justice. What’s more - Clancy has actually, as he’s aged, gotten even better looking and his look seems oddly appropriate to me. The only thing is that Clancy’s a big guy. He always has been. And it’s big in a way that doesn’t speak to Roland’s years of wandering and years of few and far between meals. It’s an odd choice, but it feels good to me. Besides, how cool would it be to have the voice of Eugene Krabbs from Spongebob Squarepants in The Dark Tower. That’d be awesome!
I’m at a cross roads with this one. This is Timothy Oliphant. He was in the latest Die Hard movie and played in the adaptation of the video game Hitman. More importantly, he played Sheriff Seth Bullock on Deadwood. I loved Deadwood. Deadwood was one of the best, most realistic westerns ever put to film. Thist show raised the idea of calling someone a cocksucker to almost Shakesperean heights. And Timothy Oliphant was a standout, although he was overshadowed by the ever incredible Brad Dourif and Ian McShane. Oliphant had a constant, simmering, percolating barely contained rage that reminded me of that psychotic, six-seconds-from-snapping-and-beating-some-skell-with-a-phonebook hostility that Dennis Franz brought to his character, Andy Sipowicz, on NYPD Blue. He’s got the intensity, he’s got the western chops, he’s got the tall, skinny body, and he’s got the look – but I’m hesitant to cast him for a few reasons… mainly because he’s TOO pretty. Roland should be worn and battered. I think Timothy’s just a little too smooth.
Next we have of my favorite actors of all time - Jason Stratham. Jason Stratham is one of the baddest, most magnificent bastards out there. He’s the sort of bloke I’d like to sit down and have a few pints with in an out of the way London pub. Said pints would then be followed by picking a drunken fight with, and subsequently cracking the skulls of, various soccer hooligans. Again, he’s got the looks, and he’s got the big league action star credentials to pull it off. His only problem is that I get the sense that he absolutely refuses to (or may be unable to) lose the British accent. Sorry – The Gunslinger Roland does not sound like he’s an extra on Doctor Who.
Daniel Craig is an interesting choice. He’s got the look, and he’s a good enough actor to lose the British accent. And he’s got the tight, corded frame that Roland would have (at least he did in Munich). And he knows his way around a gun – he IS James Bond for chrissakes. And he’s surprised us before in his ability to become a character. And he’s got that requisite coldness that Roland must have. That same coldness that would let him callously allow Jake fall to his death rather than interrupt his pursuit of Randall Flagg. The more I think of it, the more I like Daniel Craig…
This will seem a whacky pick, and he is wrong for a whole host of reasons. He’s too young, he’s too babyfaced, and he’s got a really thick fucking Scottish accent – but I think Gerard Butler has a weird chance here. The thing is, he really impressed me in 300 and totally transformed himself into King Leonidas. It’s amazing what a beard and psychopathic adherence to a weight lifting regime can do. And he brings so much passion to his roles that I think he might possibly have a pony in this Ka-tet. You may disagree, and I think I might even disagree with myself… but I can’t help but think he might have an outside shot here…
Finally – we have The Punisher himself, Thomas Jane. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that the guy who played Titus Pullo on Rome (Ulster actor Ray Stevenson) is taking Jane’s role in The Punisher sequel, so Thomas Jane’s going to be free. Also, he had a role in Stephen King’s Mist, so it’s Ka that he would be involved in the Dark Tower (Stephen King has said that the Mist is a Thinny and that the creatures that come through the mist are a) similar to the crabs that take Roland’s fingers and b) the spider’s that attack Jake at the Way Station). Jane’s kind of a long shot but, again, he’s got the intensity and dark visage of Roland.
So there’s Doctor Zombie’s picks for Roland. Love ‘em, hate ‘em, whatever. What do you think? Any other suggestions for Roland, short of sending a 1983 Delorean back through time to grab a young Clint Eastwood to take the role?!?
Of course it goes without saying that Clint should have a part. It wouldn't be right if he didn't. It'd be a fucking tragedy if he didn't. In fact, he'd be damn near perfect as Roland's father, Stephen. That's a given.
And – since I’m making my casting dream list – I can see NO OTHER ACTOR in the role of Eddie except for Ryan Reynolds. He’s the smartass guy from Blade III and Van Wilder . He’s also the guy that dated and then broke up with Alanis Morisette. That also means he became the source of rage and feminine angst for her latest album. I’m sure she gave him royalties...
That’s all I have for now, dear readers. I look forward to YOUR suggestions for the casting of The Dark Tower.
So - for now - thankee, Sai, for sharing Khef with me!