Here is the new cover of Entertainment Weekly, a preview of Comic-Con and some advance information on The Dark Tower, the latest Stephen King film adaptation. I covered some of the first photos from the set of The Dark Tower a few weeks ago – they were some really badass pics of Idris Elba in his full Gunslinger costume. I’m also including some photos of Idris Elba filming The Dark Tower in New York over the past few weeks. Paparazzi have been getting a lot of photos from the set, because it looks like they’re using real-world New York locations. Anyway, EW has released part of their interview with Idris and he seems really proud of the fact that he landed this part, the hero, and he has a lot of feelings about his character. EW also asks him about playing a character that was written as a white man. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:
Idris on his character, Roland Deschain: “When we meet Roland he’s a bit lost. He’s been walking around for a long time, so he definitely feels like a man who’s… coiled…There’s a mystical element to him. He’s about 200 years old. He’s been around for a long time, and has a deep-rooted connection with the [supernatural] nature of the film. Roland’s completely tuned into that. When you meet him, he’s very much a stoic man, doesn’t want to talk. But when you get to know him, he really knows quite a bit about the world and his world’s history. And he very much knows the way The Man in Black works. He’s so clued up on that, which is what frustrates him. Because he can’t catch him.”
Getting a role which was written as a white character: “I was thrilled. I was thrilled to get this job. I was thrilled because, you know, it’s an alternative to what you could say, what Roland is described as…. A white guy in a sense, but, also just that you could make a version of this film that appealed to a slightly more action-hero type character and I don’t do those films. I haven’t done many actions films. I like to bring a little depth and bring a real character… It’s an iconic character. I want to get it right.”
Whether race-swapping a character should be a big deal: “It’s better just to treat it like no big deal. There should be no difference. The character that was written in Stephen’s imagination, it could be any color. It just happens to be me and, you know? In the artwork, it just so happens to be a white guy, but I don’t think that makes any difference. … I think what’s great about it, if I want to say anything about it, is that it is a sign of the times in terms of a colorless society. People go, ‘A good actor is a good actor,’ you know?”
The term “colorless society” bugs me at this point, because it usually comes out of the mouths of white people who are saying something racially insensitive. Like, “It’s okay for me to say this because we live in a colorless society, right?” No. It’s interesting to hear it coming from Idris Elba, who has been very choosy – I daresay “conservative” – about how he discusses race in film and television. Which is weird, because Idris has been victim of some of the most insidious racism in the past few years. But yes, I’m glad Idris is playing this role and I’m glad his casting is being seen as no big deal.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.