Even as we speak, The Dark Tower is filming in Cape Town, South Africa.
Director Nikolaj Arcel has wrangled together a killer cast for the project (including Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, and Mad Max: Fury Road's Abbey Lee), which will ostensibly serve as the first of several Dark Tower films adapting Stephen King's epic series.
Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican recently welcomed both King and Arcel onto his Sirius XM show, Behind the Scenes with Anthony Breznican, and asked them a bunch of questions about the film and its long journey to the silver screen.
You can listen to that broadcast via the SoundCloud link above (and you should; there's lots of great stuff in there), but I've yanked a few quotes out of this interview that I think bear examining.
For starters, here's King explaining that he kinda-sorta insisted that the film begin with the classic opening line from The Gunslinger ("The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed"). This is good news, because the original draft - written by Akiva Goldsman, and allegedly rewritten to some degree by Arcel and Anders Thomas Jensen - opened with a Pink Floyd lyric:
I expect that the movie will start where the books start. Y'know, "The man in black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed". I think that nails it right in place for people...I've been pretty insistent on that, and I think everyone's onboard with it.
King also cautions that this won't be a straight adaptation of the novels (something I've been warning Dark Tower fans about for a while now), but says he thinks fans will come to accept that.
It starts sort of in medias res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning, which may upset some of the fans a little bit. But they will get behind it, because it is the story.
If you've been paying attention to The Dark Tower's casting announcements - which have included characters that don't appear in the first (or even the second or third) books in the series - you've probably already picked up on this. But there it is, straight from the man himself. My biggest issues with the Goldsman draft revolved around this massive rejiggering of the Dark Tower timeline, which were so substantial that the plot was often only passingly recognizable as The Dark Tower.
Lemme give you a for instance. Breznican theorizes that King's "in medias res" comment hints that Arcel's Dark Tower will begin with the third book in the series, The Waste Lands, and he's not entirely wrong. I don't think he's entirely right, either! If, as has been rumored, the current draft of The Dark Tower script maintains the same basic structure of the Goldsman draft, then we'll be seeing elements from The Gunslinger, The Drawing Of The Three, The Waste Lands, Wolves Of The Calla, and the final novel in the series, The Dark Tower. I would suggest this is less "in medias res", more "in medias remix", but again: we'll have to see the final product before we know for sure.
Anyway, this is all something to chew on while we're waiting for some official photos or footage to arrive. In the meantime, there's plenty more interesting stuff to be heard in that interview, and I highly recommend it if you're a Dark Tower fan.
NOTE: Header illustration by Alex Rodway, who's got other badass Dark Tower fan art you can see here.