The Role Of A LIfetime: Andy Burns On Who May Climb The Dark Tower

Last night I was sitting back, watching a Yes DVD (review to come, mark my words) and doing a little internet surfing when I came across two very different stories regarding Ron Howard’s casting plans for his adaptation of Stephen King’s massive 7 book series The Dark Tower. If you read our site regularly, you may have seen a few pieces I wrote about the epic tale of Roland Deschain and his search for The Man In Black and the elusive Dark Tower at the center of the world. I spent about 4 months immersed in the series last winter and it still ranks as the most satisfying and moving reading experience I’ve ever had.

When it was announced that Ron Howard and his partner Akiva Goldsman were going to bring the series to life as three movies and two linking tv seasons, I was extremely skeptical. And I still am. The Dark Tower is meant to be an epic on the scale of The Lord Of The Rings, and I’m not sure Howard and Goldsman have the right feel for something so grand. However, if the talk about who the duo are looking at to play the role of The Gunslinger rings true, maybe they’ll get it right.

Here’s where it gets interesting. In my surfing, I found two very different pieces of news about who are the frontrunners for the role. The first came from Page Six, via Ain’t It Cool, and suggested that Christian Bale was being talked about as the actor most wanted for the role.

Personally, I think Bale would be an excellent choice. He’s been a fantastic Batman and made a below average film like Terminator: Salvation reasonably watchable. I’d be excited to see him take on the role of Roland – Bale is a master of dark and brooding, which is a key to the character, who doesn’t warm up to people easily. As demonstrated by his choice of roles, Bale is also open to working in genre films so he may actually be interested in entering the world of The Dark Tower. However – it is a large commitment, and Bale is as bankable a star as there is right now. Would he actually be willing to take on this mammoth endeavor?

Now, not five minutes after reading the above information that Bale was in the running, I was checking out Deadline Hollywood and, wouldn’t you know it, they had an article on another name that’s being considered for the role of Roland – Oscar winner Javier Bardem.

His name has been bandied around since Howard’s announcement (along with Viggo Mortenson’s) months ago. According to Deadline, Howard has already offered Bardem the role and is just awaiting a formal sign-off by Universal (who haven’t officially green lit the series either, for that matter). Official or not, I think Bardem is more likely to wind up in The Dark Tower. While he may have an Oscar to his credit (for No Country For Old Men) and another Best Actor nomination this year for Biutiful, Bardem is less a household name than Bale and more likely to commit to the multi-year project. It could take him from solid actor to superstar.

Bale? Bardem? Viggo? There a lot of great names being considered for the lead role in what could be the next great fantasy film franchise. Hopefully a straight answer will come out shortly as to who will become The Gunslinger and scale The Dark Tower.

In the meantime, as we wait, I wish you long days and pleasant nights.

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