When it comes to dream-casting projects, Idris Elba’s name invariably comes up because he’s just too damn good. He’s versatile, commanding, charismatic, and yet still is just shy of the A-list status his talent demands. He should be in everything, the laws of space and time be damned. While fans frequently mention him as the top choice to take over for James Bond after Daniel Craig leaves the role, something far better may have come along at just the right time.
According to Deadline, Elba is the frontrunner to play gunslinger Roland Deschain in Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. We reported a few weeks ago that Matthew McConaughey was eyed to play the villainous Man in Black, and Deadline now reports that the Oscar-winning actor is in talks to sign on.
But back to Elba, this is a far better choice for him than Bond, and it’s long overdue. While there’s currently no deal, Elba’s on the cusp of having a big 2016. He picked up a SAG nomination today for Best Supporting Actor for his powerful performance in Beasts of No Nation, and I have no problem seeing him getting Oscar nominated in the same category should that happen. Couple that with playing the villain in Star Trek Beyond, and he’ll be big enough that Sony Picture can hang a franchise on him. Even if he doesn’t get the Oscar nomination, he’s far too prevalent and too good of a deal to pass up on. His quote won’t break the bank, but the material will draw in King fans and McConaughey can pick up those who may not be aware of Elba’s other work.
More importantly, he gets to make Deschain his own. While the character is written as white in the book, that’s not an insurmountable obstacle, and people didn’t complain when the Spanish Javier Bardem was circling the role a few years back. Instead of living in the shadow of a character like Bond, Elba will get to be the face of Deschain, and do so in a way through the adaptation’s unique development of being both a film and a TV series.
When it comes to the material, I have no investment in The Dark Tower either way, but if they Elba on board, I’ll be far more interested.