UPDATE: The Wrap has removed the name "Tirana" from its original report but is still calling the role the "female lead."
Who the heck is Tirana?
That's the question that has to be on the lips of every Stephen King fan following a report by The Wrap that actress/model Abbey Lee -- last seen in Mad Max: Fury Road -- has been cast as "the female lead of Tirana" in the screen version of King's The Dark Tower.
The problem is, there is no female lead named Tirana in any of the eight Dark Tower books. The only mention of a Tirana is a "low woman" who is hanging around the vampire lounge called the Dixie Pig in book seven, The Dark Tower. So either the casting report is wrong or the filmmakers are drastically changing King's story and characters.
The biggest and most important female character in The Dark Tower is Susannah Dean, an African-American woman with dual personalities and legs amputated below the knee who becomes one of the members of the gunslinger Roland's ka-tet. We find it hard to believe that Susannah would be renamed or heavily altered in any way, although of course this is Hollywood, so anything is possible.
Here's a theory: Because there's racial tension between the white Roland and black Susannah in the books, could the female lead -- whatever her name is -- now be cast as white, since Roland the gunslinger is being played by a black man, Idris Elba? That would keep the "racial tension" thread intact but might take the story's main female character in too radical a direction for fans to handle.
Lee could also be playing Susan Delgado, the great lost love of Roland's life, but since she doesn't show up until book four, Wizard and Glass, in a lengthy series of flashbacks, incorporating her into the first movie would also mean some massive changes to the text.
Lee, who played one of Immortan Joe's wives (The Dag) in Fury Road, will also be seen later this month in Gods of Egypt. She'll join Elba as Roland and Matthew McConaughey as The Dark Man/Randall Flagg in The Dark Tower, which has been in development for years as an epic incorporating both films and TV segments. Director Nikolaj Arcel is helming the first movie.
Do you think this is all some sort of misunderstanding? Or is it possible that the director, the producers and screenwriters are taking huge liberties with King's material?