Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican scored quite the coup recently, traveling to the Cape Town, South Africa set of Sony's The Dark Tower adaptation, poking around its elaborate Dixie Pig set, and scoring an exclusive interview with star Idris Elba.
And in said interview, Elba responds for the first time to the controversy surrounding his casting as Roland Deschain, a character who was presented as white in Stephen King's novels (indeed, the literary version of Roland is a dead ringer for Clint Eastwood). It's a pretty great response.
Asked if the race-swapping is a big deal, Elba says:
“It’s better just to treat it like no big deal. There should be no difference. The character that was written in Stephen’s imagination, it could be any color. It just happens to be me and, you know? In the artwork, it just so happens to be a white guy, but I don’t think that makes any difference. … I think what’s great about it, if I want to say anything about it, is that it is a sign of the times in terms of a colorless society. People go, ‘A good actor is a good actor,’ you know?”
Hear, hear! I've written at length about The Dark Tower's race-swapping in the past, and agree wholeheartedly with Elba on this. The primary concern should always be to hire the best actor for the role, full stop. That Stephen King himself signed off on the change is just further confirmation that the swap doesn't matter (who would know better than the man who created the character?).
And, hey: if that's not good enough for you, perhaps the presence of the Horn Of Eld will calm you down.
Stay tuned for more Dark Tower stuff, folks. There's more headed your way very shortly. While you're waiting, head on over to EW to read the rest of their excellent interview with Idris Elba.
(NOTE: Header illustration courtesy of Alex Rodway, whose other badass Dark Tower fan art can be seen here)