Stephen King on the changes he made to The Dark Tower film, who'll be missing

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Jul 15, 2016, 1:41 PM EDT

In bringing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower to the big screen, director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel is making a few changes to the sprawling saga of The Gunslinger. Luckily, King is all aboard for the unique spin on his epic tale.

The first intel regarding the film version of the story has started to trickle out this week, and King himself chatted with Entertainment Weekly about his role in the proceedings. The author said he actually took a pen to the most recent draft of the script and offered one critique: Less is more. King said he chopped as much of Roland Deschain’s dialogue as possible, but believes the approach Arcel took is an “interesting way” to get into the story.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

 “I feel more wrapped up in this one because the books took so long to write and the fan base is so dedicated. They sent me a number of different drafts and it came into focus, let’s put it that way. I’m 100 percent behind it — which doesn’t mean it necessarily will work, just that it’s a good way to try and to get into these stories…

I took a pen and cut Roland’s dialogue to the bone. The less he says the better off, and why not? Idris Elba can act with his face. He’s terrific at it. He projects that sense of combined menace and security. [Roland] is the Western hero, the strong, silent type: ‘Yep,’ ‘Nope,’ and ‘Draw.’”

The film adaptation stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain (aka the Gunslinger); Matthew McConaughey as Walter (aka The Man in Black); and Tom Taylor as Jake Chambers, a 15-year-old with psychic powers. Those are the three key roles in the film, and fans of King’s saga will certainly notice a few names missing, namely reformed heroin junkie Eddie and an amputee with multiple personalities named Susannah.

Arcel said those characters are “certainly out there,” even though they won’t be a part of this particular story. But, if the film turns out to be a hit, he said they could definitely show up in a future film if they get a chance to tell the “entire story.”

It’ll be interesting to see if fans respond to this spin on the material, but realistically, it’s probably the best approach to take. Much as 2012’s Dredd found critical success by telling a small story within its larger universe, it seems they’ll be taking a similar tack with Dark Tower. Which, hey, if it lets them tell a better story — it certainly could be the right call.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)