Hollywood by Choice
Idris Elba: From gunslinger to Bond?
Gail Choice | 7/20/2017, midnight
On Aug. 4, Stephen King’s long awaited novel series “Dark Tower” will finally hit the silver screen. The movie tells the story of gunslinger Roland Deschain. Set in a world woven together with magic, Deschain is tracking an evil magician known only as the man in black (Matthew McConaughey). Sharing an ancient vendetta, the two men must fight to the death in this epic battle over the fate of the All-World Universe.
At the beginning of the show, Deschain befriends a young boy from our world named Jake Chambers. Jake joins Roland on his quest, but while Deschain travels with his young companion, the man in black travels with Deschain’s soul in his pocket.
To the surprise of many, English actor Idris Elba stars as Roland Deschain.
A little about the back story may help you understand. King, one of the world’s most prolific and celebrated writers, endured a lot of frustration bringing “Dark Tower” to the screen. For years, people speculated about who would star in the title role of Roland Deschain. It was a expected that Deschain would be White … after all, it was written that way by King in the 1982.
Elba is perhaps one of the most sought after, and at times controversial stars to hit the silver screen. Not because he’s a despicable individual off camera, but because he’s a Black man getting roles that clearly state the characters’ he is portraying are supposed to be White.
Case in point. Elba starred as Heimdall, a mythological figure, in the 2011S movie based on the god in “Thor:” When it was first announced by Kenneth Branagh and Alan Taylor, the two directors of the film, Marvel comic book fans, even history fans were in an uproar. In the movie, Heimdall was Scandinavian … about as White as you can get.
Although protests were found all over the Internet, and fans even encouraged moviegoers to boycott the film, Branagh and Taylor refused to budge on their decision.
When it was announced that Elba was set to play the lead of Deschain, the last gunslinger, the news caused some degree of concern in some corners because Roland, as depicted in Stephen King’s novels, is White. Well, the movie’s writer and producer has his own feelings about those concerns. He didn’t give a shit. (King’s words not mine). “When I started watching “The Dark Tower,” I really saw The Gunslinger as this concentrated force,” the author said. “The ‘Dark Tower” has always been really important to me, so to see The Gunslinger come to life with Idris Elba was really incredible,” King explained.
If you have ever read any of Stephen Kings’ novels, you will see Blacks have always played key as well a pivotal roles. King learned the hard way to keep an eye on directors who changed his stories. The celebrated film and novel “The Shining,” the real hero of the book was the Black caretaker of the hotel; the communication or ‘shinning’ was between the Black man and the little boy.”