Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a huge fan of the world of Stephen King. I have read every novel the man has written as well as seen most of the film versions of those stories (I have not seen The Dark Tower film though. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I knew going in that the producers were trying to condense a seven novel epic into a two hour film and that immediately turned me off.). That being said, King’s Dark Tower series is one of the most interesting and robust stories that the writer has produced and deserves to be given the epic treatment that it requires in order to bring the viewer into the dark, imaginative and dangerous world of Gunslinger Roland Deschain and his Ka-Tet.
I am currently re-reading the Dark Tower series and immersed in the fourth volume of the series Wizard and Glass as Roland’s new found family listens to his tale of his younger days and his doomed love affair with Susan Delgado. With the books being such a cinematic experience in and of themselves, it got me thinking of who I would love to see playing these characters on the big or small screen.
Roland Deschain – The last Gunslinger of Midworld, Roland is described in many different ways. Though there’s no definitive description of the man, he has been described as having “blue, bombardier’s eyes”, Susannah compares him to both Gunsmoke’s Marshall Matt Dillon and John F. Kennedy. He’s also described as being tall and lanky. I think Bradley Cooper would be a wonderful fit to play Roland. His role as Jackson Maine in A Star is Born (which he also directed) shows he can pull off the reluctant, damaged hero that Roland tends to be. He can also transition into the caregiver, friend and protector that the character inevitably becomes.
Eddie Dean – Former heroin addict turned husband and reluctant hero Eddie Dean comes from Earth in the year 1987. When Roland finds a door marked “The Prisoner”, he enters it only to find himself inside Eddie’s mind as he’s transporting drugs back to New York on a mission from mob boss Enrico Balazar. He’s in his early 20’s and is described as having brown hair, skinny and attractive with hazel eyes. While that doesn’t distinguish him too much, from a personality standpoint, Eddie is unique. While reading the second book “The Drawing of the Three”, I couldn’t stop thinking of actor Lucas Hedges as Eddie Dean. His roles in films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Lady Bird and Manchester by the Sea show that he can pull off the role of a former drug addict trying to stay clean on a journey to find his own purpose.
Susannah Dean/Odetta Holmes/Detta Walker – The next member of Roland’s Ka-Tete is found behind a door marked “The Woman of Shadows” and brings Roland into the mind of one of the most complicated of Stephen King’s creations. Odetta Holmes lives with dissociative identity disorder in the year 1964 and shares both her body and mind with an alter by the name of Detta Walker. While Odetta is meek, mild-mannered and driven, Detta is angry, manipulative and evil. It will take an actress of masterful skill to play both sides of the character before bringing them together to her final form of Susannah Dean. I can think of no better actress to bring both the skills, looks and determination than actress and singer Janelle Monae. Her roles in films like Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Harriet show her emotional range brilliantly.
Jake Chambers – The final member of the Ka-Tet is also the first member as Jake Chambers is introduced in the first novel The Gunslinger and subsequently returns in the third book of the series The Waste Lands to join the group. Jake is an eleven-year-old boy from New York in the year 1977. His initial appearance in Midworld subsequently opens Roland’s eyes to the reality of other worlds while also putting him the role of father and mentor for the rest of the series. Roman Griffin Davis showcased a wonderful grasp and range of emotions in his breakout role as the lead in JoJo Rabbit. Jake is a character that you not only feel for but see evolve into a hero and Davis definitely has the ability to bring that across on screen.
Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is a sweeping epic that has tons of memorable characters both good and bad. It’s the kind of story that deserves a multi-film epic treatment and a group of actors that can bring these complicated and intriguing characters to life.
So, tell me what you think. Who would be your picks for Roland and his Ka-Tet? Let me know in the comments below.