In the interest of not wasting time, let's set aside the standard "Two full paragraphs warning you that the Dark Tower movie will never happen" warning and get right down to the news: The Wrap has confirmed that Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, and Mad Max: Fury Road's Abbey Lee are all onboard for Nikolaj Arcel's The Dark Tower.
Here's the news, straight from The Wrap:
Mad Max: Fury Road actress Abbey Lee is in negotiations to play the female lead of Tirana opposite Idris Elba‘s Roland Deschain in The Dark Tower, an individual familiar with the Sony/MRC project has told The Wrap.
Let's go through this one step at a time.
For starters: over the last few weeks, the certainty of McConaughey and Elba's involvement seemed up for debate. It was announced as "confirmed" by several different websites, but none were sites I'd implicitly trust (what the fuck is the Lawyer Times, anyway?). Shortly thereafter, Stephen King kinda-sorta confirmed Elba and McConaughey's casting in an interview conducted by The Daily Beast, which was about the strongest word we'd heard yet on the matter. Point being, while The Wrap did not break Elba and McConaughey's involvement, I'm personally considering it the final word on the matter (until we're told otherwise).
Secondly: you'll remember Abbey Lee from her memorable work as The Dag in Mad Max: Fury Road ("Schlanger!"). She's got an otherworldly beauty that'd be an excellent fit for the Dark Tower world...but who the hell is Tirana? There's no Tirana in The Gunslinger (the first book in the Dark Tower cycle, and surely the starting point for this series), but there is a minor character named Tirana in the seventh book in the series. I reached out to The Wrap's Jeff Sneider for clarification via Twitter and asked him about this. He said, "I was told 'female lead', but deleted the name just to be safe".
Sooo, who is Lee playing? I imagine we'll get some much-needed clarification before too long, but my best guess is that Lee might be playing Allie, the world-weary bartender Roland Deschain encounters in The Gunslinger. Barring that, I suppose she could be playing Susan (presumably in flashbacks), or maybe even Susan with a different name (a change that might be made to avoid confusion with Susannah, another character from the books). Consider all of this wild speculation for the time being.
In other news: The Wrap reports that Jake will be the next role cast, and boy I cannot wait to hear how they're going to manage that.
There's a lot to digest here. Let's do it together in the comments below.
UPDATE: Just when we thought we had this "Tirana" thing figured out, Deadline goes and further complicates things. Here's their clarification on the matter:
Readers are questioning the name of the character that Lee plays. That’s what I heard they were calling this major character, and for die hard fans, I can tell you a few character qualities: she’s sexy and dangerous, she has fake human skin and cold snake-like eyes.
That sounds like Lee really is playing the same Tirana who appears in the seventh Dark Tower book: she's a minor character - one of the Low Men/Women - who appears inside the infamous Dixie Pig. Deadline's description seems to back up that character description (the Low characters all wore fake skin), but the description of "snake-like eyes" also makes me think she could be appearing as a Taheen. Perhaps they're just rolling those two breeds into one?
A better question: why is a minor character from book seven popping up in the first Dark Tower movie?
And even better: why is a minor character from book seven being referred to as the "female lead" of the first Dark Tower movie?
Your guess is as good as mine! Please resume speculating below.