Dark Tower Idris Elba.jpg

Idris Elba describes the challenge of bringing diversity to characters in Thor, The Dark Tower

Contributed by
Aug 10, 2018

Last August, Nikolaj Arcel's adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower series of books debuted to negative reviews and less-than-modest returns at the worldwide box office. Fans of King's beloved western/horror/fantasy/science fiction mash-up were sorely dissapointed, even with two major stars, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, playing Roland Deschain and Walter Padick (The Man in Black) respectively. 

The movie failed partly because it tried to cram too many ideas from the Dark Tower books into 95 minutes, which just isn't enough time to do any of them justice. The bare bones narrative and PG-13 rating didn't help, either. However, while chatting with Empire Magazine for the publication's September issue, Elba also stated that casting a black man as the Gunslinger was a huge hurdle for the adaptation. 

“It’s disheartening to disappoint an expecting audience," said the 45-year-old actor/director. "The Dark Tower fans are super-loyal, and it’s not literature you can just futz. It’s very deep, and people commit long periods of time to read those books. So for a movie to come out and blanket some of it…that’s disappointing. I knew going in, based on the iconography of the character, that I was gonna face a challenge from the audience’s expectations, because in the book he’s got blond hair and blue eyes and looks like Clint Eastwood.”

He then brought up the Thor franchise, where he plays the all-seeing keeper of the Bifröst on Asgard, Heimdall. While the diversified reinvention of such a classic cosmic character was very successful, Elba admitted that there was some skepticism when he was first hired into the MCU

“I did get a sense when it was announced there was a, ‘’What?’ I’d faced that before with Heimdall. Heimdall was essentially a Norse god, and there aren’ that many Africans in Norse mythology," he said. "Ha! But it turned out the reinvention of Heimdall was a great, innovative bit of artists license. But Dark Tower, the expectations for it as a film were so huge.”

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Credit: Marvel Comics/Marvel Studios

But even with fans not liking The Dark Tower very much, Elba is totally up for another adventure as Deschain. 

“I would, yeah. Because Roland Deschain, it’s deep, man. It’s deep. I would. But I’m not sure where they are with that," he said.

Amazon is currently developing a series based on King's books, alongside other fantasy/sci-fi books like Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, Larry Niven's Ringworld and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time


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