Join me and one of my fellow nerds, as we talk Christine (both book and movie), as well as some of the other happenings in the world of The Master!
If you wish to hear your favorite nerd live and in the flesh, breaking down the novel Insomnia (written by The Master, natch) and geeking out over more than a few things, click the link below, as she was a guest on The Dark Tower Radio Podcast, and got to participate in a great meeting of the minds! Long days and pleasant nights, and enjoy!
Well, looky what we have here…
Seems the internet has bent a little more as of late…
And this time, neither the Kardashians nor a certain ugly dress were responsible for it!
In other words, we have further news on something that we have all been anticipating…
No, its not an official announcement that Donald Trump has chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate! I mean, if I wanted scary, I would watch a Stephen King movie…you know, scary motherfuckers like Stephen King (at least according to a certain former pimp)?
I believe this news does have something to with The Master, actually…
Oh, that’s right…how could I have forgotten! Oops…
It appears that we have more news in regards
The Second Coming the upcoming Dark Tower movie!
Sony Pictures has provided us with a release date. Yes, an actual release date (fingers crossed).
In other words, the beast has been reawakened. And boy, is the beast loud!
Well, maybe just a dull roar, actually. The beast was pretty loud, though, when the intent to make a movie was announced. Broke the sound barrier, actually.
So yes, people are talking. And debating. And contemplating. And rightfully so, as King considers this series of books to be his magnum opus, and so do many of his readers. People want to see a movie, and to see that movie done right. Books can be tricky to adapt to screen, and although some recent adaptations have been good (The Hunger Games is a prime example), there have been many bad on-screen adaptations (many of which are attached to The Master’s name. That one was directed at you, 2002 Carrie. And don’t think you are getting off either, Running Man!)
And yes, I will admit to being one of the speculators. And a pretty vocal one, at that. I believe that a good movie(s) can be made out of these books, and I will stand by that statement until (which hopefully does not happen) I am proven otherwise. More detail can be found on that opinion here.
But, as they say, opinions are like a certain body part none of us can function without…I believe it has to do with the gluteous maximus (I think). In other words, we all have opinions, and some of us are not shy about expressing them. I would be in that category, although social media and this blog are my preferred mediums, since none of my loved ones or the awesome man I married have the faintest idea of what I am blathering on about.
So, time to get down to business, and perhaps have a little fun! I want to talk about casting for a couple of more major characters that I did not discuss in the previous entry. The Dark Tower series also has a lot of supporting characters. Some may only be present in one book or only a few pages, but these characters are important to the story, and deserve great casting choices. And last, but certainly not least, I would like to discuss the music for The Dark Tower movie(s), as that is almost as important as the casting.
And, as always:
(Oh in case you were curious about the title…just go ahead and move that decimal one place to the right, say thank ya. See what I did there? You are very welcome!)
In this section, we will discuss the casting for the movie. I will be including several characters, both “major” and “minor.” This is almost at random, with names that I have pulled out of Roland’s cowboy hat, so please bear with me and do not take offense if I have not included a favorite character of yours…so many blog entries, so little time (or something like that).
I have already made my casting choice pretty clear for our friendly neighborhood gunslinger. And while I still have much love for Roland, Eddie Dean has always been my favorite (sorry Roland, hope you aren’t hurt by this). Eddie Dean is the book’s resident smart ass (his quips are currency, I think) but he also has a dark side, as he is a recovering heroin addict. So we need someone a bit edgy to play this character…
Aaron Paul has always been a popular casting choice, for obvious reasons (his role on the show Breaking Bad being a huge one). Plus the guy has flat out volunteered to play Eddie and has expressed an interest in being in these movies. So he is a decent choice…
However, my first pick for the role of Eddie Dean is Steven Amell. Yes, Arrow/Casey Jones as Eddie Dean. Amell is an immensely talented actor, and is about the right age for the role. And he has proven acting chops in playing a dark, gritty role, as evidenced by the title role on the show Arrow. Amell has made a beloved comic book character come to life, and I have complete faith that he could do the same with a beloved Stephen character. Oh, and he is definitely not hard to look at either!
Now, this role is an interesting one to cast. It has been played before by Jamey Sheridan
Billy Ray Cyrus’ twin brother on crack in the 1994 mini series adaptation of The Stand. Matthew McConaughey has also been cast in the upcoming The Stand reboot (squee). So, pretty simple, right? Just stick McConaughey in the Dark Tower movie, and call it good?
Well, not really. While this may be the same character in The Stand, the Dark Tower series and a multitude of other King books (the very definition of an uber villain), it is NOT the same incarnation. In The Stand, Flagg is charming, a bit like a sleazy car salesman. And very…American is the best word I can think of. Matthew McConaughey can pull that off. In fact that’s what he does. So good casting choice. For The Stand, that is.
But let’s talk about Dark Tower Flagg. Dark Tower Flagg is the embodiment of an evil wizard. And he is cruel and arrogant. It seems like most people know he is evil and do their level best to avoid him. In other words, almost a polar opposite to the incarnation of Flagg in The Stand, who almost seems more “human.” As wonderful as Matthew McConaughey is, I have my doubts on whether he can pull that role off or not, so I think we need a different casting choice.
My nomination for the actor to play Randall Flagg in the Dark Tower movie is Walton Goggins. Again, this is another actor with proven acting chops for a particular role in these movies. Goggins played an excellent villain in his role as Boyd Crowder on the TV series Justified. In fact, I think I looked up arrogant in the dictionary and found a picture of Boyd Crowder! In all seriousness, Groggins is a character actor, which is exactly what is needed for the role of Randall Flagg, and I hope that the casting gods hear me, and pick well for this role.
This is an interesting role to speculate, as the Crimson King is a villain that is actually not visible very much in the books, until the final book in the series. His presence is implied and his name mentioned, but he is, for the most part, not visible, much like the great wizard behind his curtain.
However, just because something is true in the books does not necessarily mean it will be true in the movies. In other words, I think that the Crimson King will be enjoying an increased bout of visibility, and therefore a larger role. After all, film is a different medium, and sometimes adjustments need to be made in order to convey a story.
And the Crimson King is a worthy role. It is implied that he is the boss of all evil in the King universe. So therefore, we need someone distinguished to take on this role. My vote is for Donald Sutherland. You can’t get much more distinguished than Donald Sutherland. Again, more proven acting chops, especially given his role of
the bearded Oompa-Loompa of President Snow in the Hunger Games movies.
Really, I thought that the Joker was bad news. And I am not backing away from that statement any time soon, either.
But then, I encountered Blaine the Mono…
Yes, a talking, evil, insane monorail has made me rethink my definition of bad news. The Joker still ranks up there (or is it down there) but a talking monorail who releases poison gas on entire cities may give the Clown Prince of Crime a run for his money…
And who better to play one of the best villains in the Stephen King universe (and possibly in literature, period) than Mark Hamill? After all, Blaine does make me think of the Joker, and Mark Hamill owned that role in the Batman animated TV series of yore (although he is reported to be reprising the role in the upcoming animated Batman movie The Killing Joke. Whoever said life is not good has obviously not heard this bit of news). Blaine will consist entirely of CGI, but the voice acting will be almost as important, if not important as, the CGI. And Mark Hamill can make Blaine happen…that’s right folks, you heard it here first!
So is is possible to write a series of books that you think is so awesome that you include yourself in them?
Well, with the Dark Tower series, the answer is yes. Stephen King is a character in the series, and an important one at that. Despite the divisiveness among fans that this move has provoked, King continues to remain a vital part of the series, and this part should not be ignored.
The easy answer would be to just have King play himself. After all, he has been known to dabble in acting, and has appeared in several of his movies, and even made a guest appearance on one of his favorite TV shows (yeah, this was a wet dream come true for me…just deal with it). However, King should not quit his day job (aka writing books I can’t put down), and leave the acting up to the big boys.
So who does that leave? Well, one of my picks would be John Cusack. Cusack already has a relationship with King, and an understanding of the material (he starred in 1408 and will star in the upcoming movie adaptation of Cell). Cusack has the ability to play a nerdy writer, which is actually what King is (don’t worry, Sai, that is a compliment of the highest order). Cusack can bring the life to this role, and would be an excellent choice.
I firmly believe that comedy is actually an essential part of horror. It appears that Stephen King would agree with me, as there is a lot of comedy gold in his books, even the Dark Tower series (yes, really!).
One of the funny parts to the Dark Tower series are the Low Men. The Low Men are actually humanoid creatures, but have animal heads. And they talk. Creepy, in other words. So maybe not actually funny, unless you have a dark sense of humor, like yours truly.
And one actor who can do the darkly comedic really well is Kim Coates, who played the character Tig on the show Sons of Anarchy. Somehow the idea of Tig er Mr. Coates donning an animal head and doing really horrible things is not as far fetched as it sounds. I believe that he would be a viable choice to play one of these characters.
Another actor who has a definite dark side is Wentworth Miller, as evidenced by his role as Leonard Snart (if that doesn’t sound evil, I don’t know what does) on the TV show The Flash. Miller has shown that he is capable of being cruel and vindictive, which is perfect for a character such as Pimli o’Prentiss. This is another “can’t miss” casting choice.
While we are on the subject of creeps, let’s talk about Rick Springfield. Yes, the guy who sang Jessie’s Girl. And the guy who sang Jessie’s Girl also happens to play an incredibly creepy psychiatrist on the TV show True Detective. This would translate very well to a character such as Richard Sayer, or Dr. Scowthers. Springfield would have these roles in the bag, in other words.
Now, I would like to talk about an aspect of the upcoming Dark Tower movies that I think is very important, but one that I have not seen get a lot of press.
That’s right, the music for the movies. While I have seen more casting threads on certain unnamed social media outlets than I care to count, I have not seen too many threads discussing any music for the movies. And this is a grave oversight, as the music is one of the most important parts to any movie, but especially so for the Dark Tower movies!
Obviously, there are references to several songs in these books. In fact, some of the music referenced in the books really gives the series its charm…
Somehow, Johnny Cash is fitting…wasn’t he nicknamed something, possibly something referencing clothing of a dark color?
All kidding aside, Johnny Cash’s version of the song Hurt would fit perfectly in the series. The song is already quoted at the beginning of the last book in the series, and attributed to its original creator. This is fine by me, I love both versions. However, Cash’s version just fits in so well with the series…perhaps it is the version of the song that belongs to Roland’s level of the Tower.
And luckily, there is a wealth of material to chose from if we want to include any other songs by Cash. Ghost Riders in the Sky would fit in very well with the theme of the Dark Tower. Out Among the Stars is another song that brings visions of Mid-World to my mind. I could go on and on, so I hope that the producers and directors choose to pay homage to this level of the Tower’s Man in Black.
As a certain great sage and eminent junkie so wisely reminded us: Johnny Cash is everything.
Paint it Black is another song referenced in the the books (in The Wastelands, to be specific). Not including it in the movies would be criminal, and I will leave it at that. And hopefully the producers and directors collectively remember the faces of their fathers, and agree with me on that statement.
Another band that I feel that fits in well with the Dark Tower series is Imagine Dragons. Many of their songs (especially this one) has a post apocalyptic feel. Roland’s world is post apocalyptic, so a marriage between Imagine Dragons and the Dark Tower series could end up being a match made in heaven (or possibly hell, depending on how you look at it).
Leonard Cohen is another one who can do darkness well (notice a theme here?). Perhaps the producers could use existing songs (Hallelujah is a song that is a pretty good description of what Roland’s obsession with the Tower has done to him), or perhaps Cohen could grace us with some new songs, just for the movies. Either way, this may be another match made in
One thing to keep in mind is that the members of our favorite ka-tet were drawn from different time periods. So any music used in the series should reflect this. Susannah was a sort of hippie from the 1960’s, so it would be nice to pay homage to that with some well placed Bob Dylan songs, or perhaps some Phil Ochs songs. Jake was drawn from the 1970’s, so perhaps some Rolling Stones, or maybe some soul music along the lines the lines of James Brown. And of course, there is my heartbeat Eddie Dean, who is drawn from 1987. So perhaps some well placed Aerosmith? Maybe Madonna? Run DMC anyone? Of course, music from the time period is not a necessity for these movies, but it would be nice to add a touch of authenticity, and would also allow the audience to make an emotional connection with these characters.
Well folks, that’s it for this week’s speculation and pipe dreams. For that it is exactly what this is: speculation and pipe dreams. Could some of them come true? Well, anything is possible. Could some of these ideas never see the light of day? Again, its all possible! Or could the folks behind the movie come up with some even crazier ideas that are so crazy that they just might work? Well, that wouldn’t be the first time something as happened, nor would it be the last. And of course, this blog will be your go to place for dissection and discussion (pretty please, I love readers!) But until then…
So it happened again.
It sure did.
About two weeks ago, the internet broke. Yep, it broke. AGAIN. Really, the internet can be fragile sometimes. Although luckily, I think it responds to duck tape. And maybe even Krazy Glue.
Usually, anything that breaks the internet is not something I care much about. I’m just not that much into Miley Cyrus and her twerking. Or Kim K butt pics. Or what color that dress really is…its just ugly, period!
But this time, I cared. It may be one the few rare times during the long period I have graced this planet with my existence (37 years in June, actually) but I found myself actually caring about what broke the internet. And I may have actually contributed to the breakage, although I think my contribution amounted to no more than a virtual greenstick fracture.
Yes, obsessed. And I mean OBSESSED as opposed to obsessed. I am a member of multiple Facebook fan pages for Stephen King and The Dark Tower series. I am even an admin for two of these pages (could we really get any nerdier? Wait, that is a rhetorical question, not a challenge!) I have made so many new friends through these pages, and even had the opportunity to interview Mr. King’s right hand lady of The Dark Tower series. I constantly draw and create other forms of artwork inspired by The Dark Tower series.
Oh, and I created this blog, which has a few entries on King and his works.
So, its safe to say I am a Constant Reader or CR for short (which I will call myself from now on, since that sounds a little nicer than COFG, which stands for Crazy Obsessed Fan Girl).
So, I am passionate about The Dark Tower series. Very few works have touched me in the manner that this series has, and it will remain my favorite fantasy series of all time. It is powerful, and simply inspiring.
And like all other fans, I can’t get enough. I read the comics inspired by the series. And I read books about the series, such as The Road to the Dark Tower, The Dark Tower Companion and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance (both volumes!) written by Bev Vincent and Robin Furth, respectively. And any time a new King books is released, I have my hands on it and my nose buried in it, looking for any connection, no matter how remote, to what King has called his magnum opus.
Yes, that’s right. The Dark Tower has never been made into a movie. Not even an animated one (we will talk more about that later, as a matter of fact). So many King books have been adapted into films (with varying degrees of success). But not The Dark Tower. This short film is the closest thing we have is this adaptation, which is actually a pleasure to watch and totally worth the few minutes of your time that it will take. But, again, that is closest thing we had for a screen adaptation of The Dark Tower series.
Sony Pictures has announced that it has acquired the rights to The Dark Tower series, aka Stephen King’s magnum opus, which spans eight full length books so far, along with a couple of related short stories.
Cue the loud crashes and squealing right about here. That would be the sound of the internet breaking.
And the reactions have been interesting, to say the least. Many are excited. For years, fans have been strung along with the promise of a movie, but that promise has never been delivered. The last bit of news we received on a potential Dark Tower movie was in July of 2011, when it was announce that Universal Pictures had scrapped the plans for the movie, although director Ron Howard assured fans that he was still attached and this movie would be made one day.
And of course, the naysayers. Saying it can’t be done, despite the success of franchises such as The Hunger Games and The Lord of the Rings. However, my personal favorite is the fan who says that no Dark Tower movie should ever, EVER be made, as that will ruin the books! Apparently, I am clueless, because a bad movie adaptation (Running Man and Lawnmower Man, we are talking about you, cough, cough) somehow changes the source material, making all of us unable to ever read said source material ever again, because, well, film adaptations are just magical like that and have the ability to somehow magically re-write books, DAMMIT!
So, everyone has an opinion. Including me. And now I have this blog that I created just for the express purpose of having super nerdy discussions, so let’s have one in regards to this controversial topic that has caused so many heated discussions in internet land, perhaps being responsible for many a virtual earthquake (or perhaps a Beam-quake, in this case).
Can this even be done? Can such a complex story be translated on to the screen, and make a good movie? More importantly, should it even be done? After all, we will always have the books!
One of my favorite fantasy series as a child (before I was lured into the world of Roland Deschain and his friends) was The Lord of the Rings trilogy, along with The Hobbit. I read these books many times, and watched the animated version of The Hobbit more than a few times. And I pined for live action movies, figuring they would never happen in my lifetime.
Then I hit my 20’s. I picked up some magazine one day, and lo behold, saw an article stating that all three books in said trilogy would be movies. Live action movies. So I marked my calendar. I was so excited. And I was right to be excited. All three movies lived up to my expectations. I especially enjoyed Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers…I mean, Ents! Ents fighting! It was bad ass! One of the most iconic scenes in the books had been given justice. And I sighed in nerdy ecstasy…
My point is that The Dark Tower is not the only complex fantasy series in existence. And complex fantasy series (see above paragraph) can successfully be made into good or even great motion pictures. Our technology has advanced even more since the release of The Lord of the Rings movies, and anyone who makes movies can do astounding things in regards to special effects. And the stigma of movies being too long (longer than 100 minutes) is slowly starting to fade…just look at the success of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, which clocks in at well over two hours. If it is done well (and I believe a director like Ron Howard is perfectly capable of this), people don’t care about the length, and will not be intimidated at the thought of sitting in a theater for over two hours. Some movies are just that good.
And let me reiterate: to me, nothing will ever top a book. If I am given the choice, I will almost always choose the book (see the paragraph above the cute kitty meme). But I still want a Dark Tower movie. Think of it like this: I may like steak, and it will always be my favorite, but there is no reason why I can’t have fish or seafood for dinner some nights. After all, I can’t just subsist on steak, and I need some variety in my diet. In other words, I need movies every now and then, along with books. And I want to see my favorite characters come alive, and have them move me onscreen like they do on the page. I want to see the fantastical landscapes I have been imagining in my head all these years. I want to see what special effects can do to a story.
Most importantly, I want to be able to share the experience of The Dark Tower. My husband is awesome and wonderful and the best husband in the world, but he is not a reader. I have been talking about this series from almost day one (this statement should bring any single person new hope. If a nerd like me can find someone, there really is someone out there for everyone). But he watches movies. And many others are the same way. So if this movie can turn more people on the awesomeness otherwise known as The Dark Tower series, then I fully support it. The fact that a Dark Tower movie may make my conversations at parties more relevant and less boring is just an added bonus.
Who should be cast? The only person who can play Roland is Clint Eastwood! Even King himself has said this!
First of all, much respect to Clint Eastwood. If I wore a hat, I would take it off to the man. He deserves every single accolade that he has received. The man is an icon, pure and simple.
But, he is in his 70’s. He may be an icon, but he is still an old icon. And King did base the character of Roland and the entire setting of the series off of characters played by Eastwood, and also off of the spaghetti westerns he grew up watching as a child. However, this does not mean that Eastwood should play Roland. Plenty of actors would be able to bring the grittiness that is needed to pull off a character like our friendly neighborhood gunslinger.
Likes Timothy Olyphant. I could readily envision him as a cold blooded man who will do whatever it takes to reach his tower. The fact that Olyphant already plays a cowboy (or a cowboy-like character) on a popular TV series is just an added bonus.
Or Hugh Jackman. Jackman has proven acting chops, and also seems to be able to bring that grittiness needed for Roland. And he is also pretty easy on the eyes. Speaking of eyes, I am aware that Roland’s are blue and neither one of the actors I have mentioned so far have blue eyes. However, that is why contact lenses were invented.
Ok, I am done talking about Roland. I love Roland to death, but I also love a lot of the characters that many would be considered “minor” in the series, although they all play a huge role. So I happen to think the casting of these characters is almost as important as Roland.
Like Nort. Nort is the best undead junkie in literature, and I would love to see him cast properly, and for someone to really put his heart and soul into this character and bring him to life on the big screen.
Someone like Kurt Sutter, possibly. Nort is a creepy, frightening guy, and Kurt Sutter has proven experience in the creepy and frightening department via his character Otto on Sons of Anarchy. So it is no stretch (at least for me) to imagine Sutter cast as an undead junkie.
Jack Mort aka The Pusher is another iconic, although relatively minor, character in this series. And I hope that he is cast properly. My pick for Jack Mort is Tom Arnold. Again, I am basing this on a performance from the show Sons of Anarchy (yeah, I’m a little obsessed, I admit it). Arnold’s character Georgie Caruso was sleazy, conniving and even pyscho at times, which makes him perfect for the role of Jack Mort, another sleazy, conniving psychopath.
And now, let’s talk again about main characters. More specifically, the role of Susannah Dean (along with Detta Walker and Odetta Holmes, for that matter). Susannah is a main character and plays a huge role in the series. And she is a woman who is also African-American. The tides are slowly turning, but the roles for women, let alone women of color, are still limited. This is especially true in the fantasy and sci fi genre. I love that King chose to make this character a woman of color, and it is VERY important to me that she be cast properly. Hollywood has a chance to help someone shatter some more glass ceilings and break some more ground. Lupita Nyong’o is my choice for Susannah. Her acting chops are proven, and I believe she could pull the role of Susannah, who is an extremely complex character (she suffers from mental illness and was also involved in the civil rights movement in 1960’s New York). She is also beautiful and charismatic. Perfect, in other words.
What about Oy? And Jake? Won’t he age out? And the flashbacks? How can we possibly handle those?
CGI. There, I said it…shudder. While I believe that CGI is overused much of the time (Jupiter Ascending…cough, cough…ahem), I think it is the perfect answer for the question on how to bring Oy to life on the big screen. And likely the only way to bring Oy to life on the big screen. We may still need to cast a voice actor for Oy (he is a talking critter, after all) but CGI will actually provide most of the solutions and create a convincing character.
If you have made it this in reading this post, then congrats. Also see the paragraph above the awesome Game of Thrones meme. More specifically, the line about animation.
That’s right, animation. I believe that animation could be a viable medium for bringing The Dark Tower series to life.
Ok, clean up the coffee or other beverage of your favorite choice that you may have spit all over your keyboard after reading the above paragraph, and let’s talk about why animation is in fact a viable to choice to bring Stephen King’s magnum opus to life.
Animation actually solves a couple of problems. First of all, Jake Chambers is 11 years old when the series starts, and it seems he remains 11 years old for the remainder of the series. The movies (as we all know there will need to be multiple movies in order for this to work) will probably take at least a couple of years to film, even if they are filmed simultaneously in the same manner as The Lord of the Rings. This presents a problem, as most 11 year old children grow and change rapidly (damn pesky puberty). So it is possible that the actor who plays Jake could age out of the role. However, if the series is animated, that problem is solved. Animation would allow Jake to remain 11 throughout the story, keeping that particular part of the story intact.
The Dark Tower series also contains a ton of flashbacks. Wizard and Glass is one long flashback. Much of The Gunslinger also consists of flashbacks. While flashbacks are awesome in books, they can be problematic in live action movies. However, flashbacks can actually blend in very well in animated movies. Animation may even be the preferred method of medium to tell certain back stories (such as Roland’s time in Meijis) or to possibly even bring to life the Dark Tower comics. After all, bringing more Dark Tower related material into existence cannot possibly be a bad thing.
My opinion. There you have it. Whether you wanted it or not, I have brought it to you via this blog post. And please, keep in mind that opinions are like assholes: we all have them. And I am entitled to mine, just like everyone else (to theirs as well as mine). And I am greatly looking forward to see what, if any, of my ramblings on this post come to fruition over the next several months or years. I am hopeful that this endeavor will be successful, but to quote many a wise person before me: Only time will tell. In the meantime, stay tuned for more news and posts regarding this endeavor.