Howdy Inter-Webbers, I’m Matt Cohen and I’m gonna pretend that I haven’t been away for a while. Or, I’ll lie about it.
Yeah, the second one.
Let’s try that again…
Howdy Inter-Webbers, I’m Matt Cohen and I’m finally back from the Arctic. It was cold, kinda boring, but surprisingly good bagels.
Let’s skip through all the pleasantries and get to a subject near and dear to my heart - Stephen King’s THE DARK TOWER series. Since around the age of 11 I have been obsessed with these books, the characters, and the worlds they inhabit. Like every other good Tower geek, I have dreamed about the day when the books would be adapted to a more visual format. Well, in Peter David’s comic series for Marvel, we got just that. A new, fresh blast of life has been pumped into an honored but very (and purposefully so) dead series. I assumed once I finished the final book, that Roland and his Ka-Tet would no longer grace the world in new mediums. Thankfully, I was wrong. Along with the comic book which is now in it’s second series, writer, director, producer and Hollywood “It” guy J.J Abrams has announced the acquiring of the rights to adapt the book to film (or television… only time will tell). With this sudden and, quite frankly, awesome news I thought it would be fun to pretend I had the job of casting the films, bringing my cherished childhood (and beyond) memories to life.
So, without further ado (or adont), I present my dream cast choices for the DARK TOWER films (or television series… Again, J.J’s all about the vagueness).
Also, if you haven’t read the books, do it… Now. Turn off your computer, go to a bookstore or library, and do it.
SPOILER ZONE BELOW, Thankee Sai.
ROLAND DESCHAIN = JOSH BROLIN
The main man. The last son of Gilead. The last of the Gunslingers. One of the single most iconic and, quite frankly, fantastic characters in the realm of fiction. This is the big one. Cast this wrong, and the whole project falls apart. Roland has been one of the hottest “characters” that actors like to attach themselves to for years, and I’m sure a war is ensuing right now in the talent agencies of Hollywood. I’ve heard Bale, I’ve heard Jackman, and while they both and many others would LOOK like Roland, I think Josh Brolin would bring the sense of solemn pride and years and years worth of pain that Roland carries with every step of his weary feet. Look at his work in NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN as a sort of model for how Roland’s tone and demeanor should be. Lots of thoughts going on, but you can’t read it in his face. And maybe that’s what it comes down to. That blank, reading your soul type poker face that Brolin can rock so perfectly. Also, I tend to think Roland is closer in age to 50 then 40, so Brolin would work perfectly in that respect, as well. And, on a nitpicking note, though Bale and Wolvie can do a convincing American accent, there’s no substitute for the real thing. Anyone who doesn’t see this should just wait for JONAH HEX which is almost a Roland audition in my mind.
Runner Up: Viggo Mortensen - Would make a fine Roland if not a little to pretty, but I do think our collective memories of Aragorn cloud our judgement a bit.
EDDIE DEAN = JOSEPH GORDON LEVITT
The second member of the Palaver and our first link as readers to our own world, worthless, weak, addicted Eddie - in the course of 6 books - goes from helpless junkie to a hero only rivaled by Roland himself. Eddie is 23, a NYC native, and badly addicted to heroin when we meet him, so casting wise I think I would go for a guy who can play both “junkie” and “heartthrob” to carry the entire arc believably. If you haven’t caught this young man’s work since 3′RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, you may be a bit puzzled right now. If you caught flicks such as the phenomenal BRICK, then you would know that Levitt is obviously one of the finest young actors working today, and could easily pull off the pathos needed for Eddie. And I know we’ve never really seen what Eddie is supposed to look like, but in my mind, this is pretty much it.
Runner Up: Shia Lebouf - I do genuinely see the appeal in Shia and think he will have a long and great career, but this may be a bit too “hard” for his current sensibilities.
ODETTA HOLMES/DETTA WALKER = GINA TORRES
The trickiest bit of casting in my opinion. This actress would have to portray three distinct characters, different ages, and DRASTICALLY divergent personalities. My one exposure to Torres was her work on FIREFLY and SERENITY, but anyone who’s seen her act know that she plays a strong female character, to say the least. You would need to capture the fire of Detta, the wisdom of Odetta, and the beauty and love of Susannah. I think Ms. Torres is definitely able to meet the challenge. Also, we know for sure that she can handle a weapon.
Runner Up: Zoe Saldana - I haven’t seen STAR TREK yet so my only experience with her is her bit parts in the PIRATES movies, but man, is she gorgeous… Yeah, that’s all I got.
JAKE CHAMBERS = DAEG FAERCH
A cry of “who? rings out across the internet. If anyone saw Rob Zombie’s mediocre HALLOWEEN reboot, they may remember the one entertaining aspect of the film - the kid who played young Michael Myers. I really dig this kid’s look, which is far from your conventional “pretty boy” child actors. Rather, Daeg looks like an actual kid, something I think would tremendously boost our attachment to the tragic and tragically wonderful character of Roland’s “adopted” son, Jake Chambers. Now, we don’t know if this kid quite has the chops, but the look works and he’s age appropriate. I say give him a shot. Also, because I refuse to cast Freddy Highmore in literally every single role meant for a male between the ages of 9 and 15.
Runner Up: Unknown general casting call…
MARTEN/WALTER/RANDALL FLAGG = LANCE HENRIKSEN
The baddie to end all baddies. Stephen King’s version of the devil, or if not the devil himself, certainly his main trickster demon. Randall Flagg, or some derivation of him, has appeared in too many Stephen King books to count. Most notably THE STAND, but certainly at the forefront of the Tower series as well. I mean, it all started when the man in black fled across the desert… so we would need an actor who can give off a sense of pure evil while at the same time a strange charm. Someone who could be ageless and just “reborn” all at once. Basically, a badass mo’fo. And if you know me, theres only one man who that could be - Lance…. Henriksen. Yes, that Lance Henriksen. The man who gave us Bishop, Frank Black, and Ed Harley. One of the coolest, most iconic, but sadly underused and overlooked actors alive today. THIS would be the role to define his career. A chance to channel all that swagger and mystery into a character finally worthy of his talents, rather then whatever sci-fi channel movie of the week he’s done recently. Look at those eyes - shark eyes… doll’s eyes…
Runner Up: None needed. This is the role he was born to play.
PERE CALLAHAN = BRENDAN GLEESON
One of the fan’s favorite characters, the priest we knew and loved in SALEM’S LOT returns from apparent death to save and join Roland’s Ka-Tet and to play a bigger role in the sage than anyone could have foreseen. Lovable, noble, trustworthy. A stand up guy. And for as long as I’ve been a fan of the man’s work, I get that exact vibe off of the fantastic Brendan Gleeson. Though he may not look like the traditional image of Callhan, this man’s range is so wide and varied that he’d have no problem stepping into the vamp hunting priest’s shoes. His casting would add an air of “esteem” to the project as well, because it’s only a matter of time that critics and award voters recognize him as one of the greatest actors of his generation.
Runner Up: James Cromwell - Because I like crappy Stephen King TV miniseries. If it wasn’t TOO broke, I guess don’t fix it.
CRIMSON KING = DOUG JONES
The Pale Man. The Fawn. The Angel of Death. Abe Sapien. Silver Surfer. ______ Hobbit Role. The modern king of creature performances. And the Crimson King is about as far from a human as you can get. This, my friends, is what they call a no-brainer (cue PLANET TERROR reference)
Runner Up: Zach Efron - He creeps me out. In the sense that I think he wants to murder me and do terrible things to my soul. A la the Crimson King
Now, the remainder of the characters, though “secondary”, are extremely important and cherished to Tower fans like myself, and I’ll be back next week for part 2 of this column, with a look at who I would cast to fill out the rest of the DARK TOWER universe. So please, if you enjoyed this little venture, check back next week for the conclusion. All of your friends are doing it… PEER PRESSURE!!!!
Until next time friends,
“Long days and pleasant nights”
-“MATT COHEN is currently dancing the Commala!”
Twitter= CamelToad (cause everybody’s doing it!)
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