The Dark Tower Director Reveals Why the Movie’s Ending Had to Differ from the Books
With the Dark Tower movie adaptation arriving in theaters in less than two weeks, fans of Stephen King’s sprawling book series are both nervous and excited to finally see protagonist Roland Deschain – played by Idris Elba – on the big screen. As we quickly approach the film’s August 4 premiere date, news about the film’s total run time – a slim 95 minutes – is scaring fans. The transition from book to film is a rough one at the best of times, and the decision to squeeze the entry point of such a massive universe into roughly an hour and a half of screen time is questionable at best. Thankfully, The Dark Tower director Nik Arcel had similar concerns … until he read the script.
“I always felt like you can’t possibly adapt this. You can’t adapt The Dark Tower. It’s too dense. It’s too sprawling. It’s too many different genres. Every book is a different beast,” he said in an interview during San Diego Comic-Con. “But then when I read the script, I was like oh, that’s really smart. It actually is tight, it’s lean, it serves as kind of an introduction to the world, the characters, it’s really a first film. It’s a first film, but it still takes little ideas from some of the other books, and so makes the world feel more rounded in a way.”
As with most movie adaptations, some things inevitably need to change when adapting a book to the big screen. Thankfully, The Dark Tower series’ big screen stint – for however long it runs – is more of a continuation of the books, rather than a straight copy paste. This allows The Dark Tower director some wiggle room as far as what he can keep in, what he can leave out, and what he can change to better serve the movie’s final product, while (hopefully) staying true to Stephen King’s universe. ‘Remembering the face of your father,’ as it were.
According to the director, one such change that needed to be made was the final scene from book one of The Dark Tower series, titled The Gunslinger. The scene involves Roland Deschain and the man in black having a lengthy discussion around a campfire. While two accomplished actors such as Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey could undoubtedly pull such a scene off – much to the enjoyment of those that read the book – this would throw off the entire pacing of the film, which essentially involves Deschain doggedly chasing the man in black throughout the entire film’s run time.
“But obviously, there’s some things in the first book that we couldn’t do. I mean, we couldn’t have Roland pursue the main villain the entire film for them to just sit down and have a little chat at the end, like, ‘Hey, man.’ So that’s why we’ve gotta have them have it out at the end, instead of just sitting and talking by a campfire.”
“I wouldn’t want to ever do a film that ended on some sort of cliffhanger, you know, ‘and here’s what’s going to happen if you go see this one,” he said. “I think it’s very important for any first film in any franchise, or in any kind of saga that you’re trying to tell, is of course it has to work as a standalone film. Because you never know, and you also want to give people a satisfying film, right? There has to be some sort of conclusion.”
So, what are your thoughts on the upcoming film? Do you think The Dark Tower director is justified in changing up the ending to the film? Let us know in the comments section below, and as always, stay tuned to DFTG for all the latest gaming and entertainment news! Don’t forget to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter for our 24/7 news feed!
Ryan "Cinna" Carrier2653 Posts
Ryan is the Lead Editor for Don't Feed the Gamers. When he isn't writing, Ryan is likely considering yet another playthrough of Final Fantasy IX. He's also the DFTG cinnamon bun.