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Stephen King’s best-selling novel The Dark Tower once had a 2017 film adaptation starring the likes of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. But Elba had certain issues with the feature that he felt would be controversial.

Idris Elba felt he’d be crucified for his opinion on the Stephen King movie ‘The Dark Tower

Idris Elba posing in a picture at the Academy Awards,
Idris Elba | Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Elba played Ronald Deschain in the movie’s take on King’s fantasy series. Many King fans may know the character was the remnant of a group of protectors named Gunslingers. As the title suggests, this meant that Elba’s character was proficient at using guns.

But Elba admitted that it was an aspect of the character he felt some discomfort towards.

“I had a clash of conscience with my character. In America, there’s a real awareness of gun culture. I had to break down why he’s good at shooting. We erred on the side of ‘This is his tool. It’s set in this world that’s part of Stephen King’s imagination, and it is what it is,’” Elba once told Esquire.

Although at the time, he was concerned with how the studio behind the project might react to his comments.

“I’ll probably be crucified by the film company for even mentioning this,” he said.

Idris Elba experienced minor backlash after being cast in ‘The Dark Tower’

Elba had already experienced a bit of backlash when he signed on for Dark Tower. Some fans close to the source material had reservations about Elba being in the lead role. This was mostly due to the literary character often being depicted as white. But it was an issue that the Hobbs and Shaw star paid little attention to.

“To be honest, I could care less. The fact of the matter is that I was given the opportunity, and Stephen King could care less. It’s more about my skill set and what we do as filmmakers,” Elba said in a 2017 interview with Shadow and Act.

Instead, Elba was thrilled with the idea that the role wasn’t limited by race or skin color.

“I think they decided to get an actor that embodies what they thought they need. What’s important is that we can mark a time in cinema where the fact someone’s skillset is highlighted over his race is incredible,” he said.

How Stephen King felt about Idris Elba being cast in ‘The Dark Tower’


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King wasn’t exactly pushing for his Dark Tower novels to get a film adaptation. In his mind, the books weren’t very conducive to cinematic storytelling in the first place.

“There were times when people would express an interest in it and then it would go away again, and then interest seemed to come back around the time that Peter Jackson had success with the Lord of the Rings movies, and I thought, maybe! But it never seemed like a movie movie idea to me. It was complex and it was long,” King once told Nerdist.

It seemed King had little input in the casting process. But when he heard that The Wire alum was tapped to play the lead, he welcomed the choice. Despite how the character is often depicted on book covers, King didn’t write his Gunslinger with any particular race in mind.

“What I said in a tweet was after all that discussion started was, I didn’t care what color he was as long as he could command a screen, draw fast and shoot straight. So it doesn’t make any difference to me, because I don’t even really see people when I’m writing. If I’m writing about a character, I’m behind their eyes, unless they walk by a mirror or something I don’t even really see what they look like,” he said.