Initially published in 1982, The Gunslinger is the first of a seven-part Steven King series called The Dark Tower series. Given the unique nature of the novels, it’s been an ongoing debate for years as to whether the story is adaptable to film.
The Gunslinger follows Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, and begins with a Western feel but quickly dives deep into mysticism and the supernatural. It’s an abstract read and one that time hops as well as dimension skips. So, it’s easy to see where the fans’ concerns stem from. Over the years, studios have tried and failed to adapt this story in both film and TV series format. However, this time, it’s been given the green light by Sony and MRC.
In light of this exciting development, I’ve listed three things that need to happen with The Gunslinger movie:
Emphasize The Book’s Opening Line
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” The opening line of The Gunslinger plays an integral part in setting the scene and ultimately defines the story.
The opening scene of The Gunslinger movie must capture this sentence in motion. Many suggest no dramatic opening music, but perhaps gritty desert sounds that mask the underlying silence. This desert being the “apotheosis of all deserts” has to really feel vast and staggeringly empty. The void is what dramatizes the gunslinger’s pursuit of the man in black.
It will be disappointing as a fan of the books if the film starts elsewhere or fails to hit the mark on this scene. Hopefully, directors, Ron Howard and Nikolaj Arcel take this seriously. Rumor has it that the film won’t begin with The Gunslinger, at all, but in the middle of The Dark Tower series. The series is complex and by missing any one detail runs the risk of destroying the story’s integrity. However, we’ve not seen the script and it’s important to remember that film is a different medium from written word. Therefore, perhaps the screenwriter Akiva Goldsman has devised a clever way to stay true to the original story.
Maintain The Fantasy Element
Although parts of The Gunslinger take place in “the real world” and reality is where the film looks set to start if they begin in the middle of the series, the fantasy element is unavoidable. The Gunslinger and the entire series is a patchwork of space-time, adorned with magic and monsters and all things supernatural. Therefore, fans are concerned that Mid-World cannot be fully translated on the big screen.
Worried that elements will be altered or left out entirely, readers are adamant that the films must embrace the fantasy element and embellish the film roll with relevant artistry.
I’m not a film-maker, but when I read The Gunslinger, my visual interpretation was this: the landscape was dreamy yet gritty such as that seen in the movie 300; the frame rate – particularly in scenes featuring the man in black – was speedy like parts of Mad Max: Fury Road; the violence and gore appeared elaborate and striking yet a little comical, thus, resembling fight scenes from a Quentin Tarantino movie.
It is a tale that dons many layers and scenes come in a variety of flavours, so whatever they chose to do I hope the cinematography reflects this quirky tone.
The Man in Black Has To Hit The Mark
As such an elusive, charming, terrifying, enigmatic character, the man in black must be a solid marriage of all these qualities onscreen. He has to both allure and repulse audiences. His acts of sorcery must, also, maintain an active role in the story.
Casting Matthew McConaughey in the role of the man in black was a wise choice. McConaughey is no stranger to the complex character and has the wit to lend to the man in black’s unique voice. He also has the right look: agile yet strong, weathered yet harboring a youthful energy.
The film is set to be released January 13, 2017. Let us know in the comments if there’s anything you expect from this film! It’s been a long time coming, so, at least, we’re finally getting to see it brought to life. The excitement is real!