The Gunslinger’s boots will be worn by…

January 27, 2011

in Casting

Gunslinger Born: Marvel Comic image

As we fast approach the beginning’s end in the realization of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower as a live action movie, we find that the first card has been turned.

In an exclusive story, Deadline is reporting that Ron Howard has named the actor he wants to take on the role of Gunslinger – Javier Bardem.

Fantastic news for all Dark Tower fans.

Don’t get too excited just yet though as it seems Howard has only made Bardem an offer and they are yet to enter formal negotiations. Still, if all goes well, Bardem will be the one to follow the man in black across the desert.

This choice will certainly be a surprise to some as plenty of fans we’re hoping it would be Viggo Mortessen who’d take on that role. Not to worry, Bardem is a highly regarded actor and Oscar winner (winning Best Supporting Actor in No Country For Old Men) so I’m sure we’ll be in good hands.

It’s great to see the Dark Tower movies finally taking form, but I do have one question I’d like to ask.

After many years of visualizing Roland in some form of Clint Eastwood character, will we get used to him as a Spaniard?

adam g January 28, 2011 at 3:09 am

Hes a great actor but before talk of a movie was even considered i always imagined viggo in my head when reading the books. but at least its not christian bale

Aimee January 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

I am very excited about this choice. I also was thinking of Viggo, however I think Javier would be a wonderful Roland. I hope negotiations go well 🙂

Ruth January 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

Clint Eastwood is too old for the role, but what about Hugh Jackman? What about Josh Hartnett with makeup to make him seems older? Hartnett has the kind of look Eastwood used to have, with those sleepy eyes, but maybe he is too young. I was thinking Viggo could link the two novels, Tha Dark Tower and Lord of the Rings, but… it would be the same face in both movies. I love Viggo, though.

chris January 28, 2011 at 10:05 pm

come on, guys. its not viggo. its javier. can we stop the…”i wish it were this guy”?

Vicky Houston January 30, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Eastwood could pull it off if he was 102! But Chris is right, it will be Javier. Not anyone’s first choice, but you never know, the guy could do it. He may have brown eye’s, probably will wear blue contacts.

Jinx January 31, 2011 at 9:12 am

I was thinking Nicholas Cage would also be a very good choice

robert sierdy February 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Nicholas Cage? Really? Thank God your not casting this movie.

D Hertel February 3, 2011 at 5:34 am

Well…guess you just saved me money, I read all the books….Viggo isn’t playing Roland so I’m not going to see the movies….seriously Javier? Hes a good actor but not for this part…just my opinion.
Thanks Ron for saving me the money!

dab February 3, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Javier is NOT the right actor! A good actor? Yes. The RIGHT actor? NO!

Jake February 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

Viggo is a wonderful actor, but will always be Aragorn. He can’t get away from the face he made in Lord of the Rings. I haven’t seen Javier act, but he looks pretty well the part. I do wish he had blue eyes… but i’m sure things will go well. I still have very high hopes for the movie.

Jerry February 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I think an unknown should play Roland. I believe it’s the story and not about the actor.

Mike February 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Javier has none of the qualities that are crucial for making the perfect Roland. I like Naomie Harris as Susannah, but Bardem is not a good choice AT ALL for Roland. Viggo would be the way to go.

Mike February 12, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Any word on who would play Eddie or Jake?

thecoltrain February 15, 2011 at 1:13 am

I think Javier will be a good choice as long as his american accent is up to par. Have you seen how creepy Javier was in No Country For Old Men? Watch the scene with him and the gas station clerk with the coin. He is a stone. cold. killer. I remember when “No Country” came out all anyone could talk about was how creepy the bad guy was in the movie. I had to agree. And let’s be honest, Roland isn’t that nice of a guy either. He really doesn’t show much emotion until the last few books. Stephen King consistently talks about how Roland has little or no imagination and is basically built for one thing: killing. It’s only until later in life that Roland truely begins to show love and compassion for his comrades. I think that Javier has the range to pull of the icy killing machine as well as the friendly Roland that tugs at our heart strings later in the story.

LOTR February 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I agree if he can get rid of the spanish accent, he did the “dead man” really well and does have the range, but Viggio was my first choice. The real important casting is Susanah with all of her complications… I think Halle would be a great choice, she has done some stinkers, but some great one also. Losing Isaiah, the rich man’s wife, Dorothy Dandridge, monster’s ball, Gothika … and don’t forget the drug addict hooker in Jungle fever.

thecoltrain February 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm

@LOTR I think Halle is good choice. However there are some logistical problems. Hiring her is a budget nightmare. As I recall she’s the highest payed African American female actress of all time. Plus, trying to get her to do TV would be difficult. I think with a project this large they won’t be shooting A list celebs for most of the roles (if any). However, by the end of the franchise I’m sure many of the people they cast will become A-listers. Take Viggo for example: No one really knew him before Lord of the Rings. I just hope they make sure and cast Justin Beiber for Jake *crosses fingers*…….. Just kidding 🙂

gabrielruiz February 23, 2011 at 4:30 am

id pick colin farrell over javier..what do you guys think?

jongimongi February 26, 2011 at 4:03 am

Since when does Roland have an American accent? I think Bardem would do a fine job. The problem with making this movie will be to get past us hard core Tower lovers. No matter what Ron Howard does it will fall short in our eyes, just as every film adaptation of a King movie has done. On another note Susannah should be played by Taraji P. Henson in my humble opinion.

Colin Farrel would be aweful as Roland.

thecoltrain February 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm

I have to agree with that. exnay on the arrelFay. I’ve never seen him in a role where I thought “man, I would be scared of this dude if I ran into him in real life.” Roland needs to have that quality about him. Give it the “Eastwood test.” Roland’s character was in many ways inspired by some of the roles which Eastwood has played. Obviously, Clint would be the first choice if he were younger. Even though Eastwood is now approximately 137 years old, I would put my money on him over Farrel in a back alley brawl any day of the week. Let alone in his hay day.

ooky March 2, 2011 at 7:20 am

I admit I saw a young Clint Eastwood from the first couple lines of the books. Later I thought Bale would have the chops to pull it off, or Viggo at least the look. Now I’m happy with Bardem, he’s amazing.
I think it was in the last book that Irene (Tassenbaum?) described Roland as looking slightly American Indian, and then there was Megis, which seemed to be on the border of a place similar to South America. The story takes place in another world, so I think we can throw out assumptions as to what real world ethnicity Roland would be like.

Sara L March 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

At first, I was disappointed about the choice. Javier Bardem is a really great actor, but like many of you, I didn’t think he was right for the part. I guess he wasn’t who I was imagining in my head. But then I remembered in one of the later books (this could be a spoiler if you haven’t read them all) that it’s mentioned Roland looks like a “more attractive version of Stephen King”. I think Javier could be described that way. The only thing he doesn’t have is Roland’s piercing blue eyes, which I’m sure they could fix with contacts.

My favorite character was Jake, so I’m really looking forward to seeing who they cast as him.

nigel holland March 3, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Jerry is right, an unknown MUST play Roland… all people see when they see a famous actor is the ACTOR, not Roland

james smith March 9, 2011 at 3:35 am

i completely agree with nigel an unkow would be so much better and go along with rolands whole mysterious personality in the begining but if it was a famous actor i think vigo woul definitely fit the role better then javier

DanO March 9, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Robert Downey Jr. wouldn’t have been a bad choice

Brandy March 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Roland Deschain was most definitely NOT spanish and that using him would be enough to make me not go see the movies or watch the shows, not if your going to screw up his character that badly before they are even started.

John March 10, 2011 at 3:46 pm

OK here is my thought. As posted earlier, Roland of Gilead is described as being somewhat Eastwood-ish, but to the casual fan base, i.e. the big money, it doesn’t really matter what he looks like. Yes, he will have to have blue eyes, easy fix there. Roland spends almost every waking moment (and sleeping moment) outdoors and his travels have taken him to Mejis (described by King as near the Texas/Mexico border) and the first two books take place in a desert and on a beach. So yeah he is going to be pretty dark because of that. There is no reason Roland can’t have an accent, he is from a different level of the tower as Jake, Eddie, and Susannah/Odetta/Detta. Viggo would be a terrific choice looks wise, but I prefer Bardim’s acting range over Mortensen’s. Now if you are on here then you are probably a big fan of the books like me but the money lies in the pockets of the people who haven’t read this series, plain and simple.

Ray March 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

I think Rufus Sewell should play roland.

Ray March 11, 2011 at 8:18 am

who will play eddie?

Adam March 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I disagree completely with all the fans claiming that people see the actor and not the character. Sure, it depends on the ability of the actor, but Bardem has proven himself time and time again in several different roles. He’s a powerful actor and there’s no doubt in my mind that he could pull off Roland.
We all need to remember that it would be impossible to make a direct transfer of the source material to the screen, but it’s the actors’/actress’/director’s jobs to make us FEEL the way the books made us feel. If they can do that then you won’t hear a whisper of complaint from me.

rekrings March 14, 2011 at 12:14 am

what most people seem to forget is Roland’s language isn’t exactly english so what makes you think he is gonna have an american accent besides I watched no country for old men that dude has an icy cold blooded stare blue eyes or no he could pull off roland

rekrings March 14, 2011 at 12:15 am

what most people seem to forget is Roland’s language isn’t exactly english so what makes you think he is gonna have an american accent besides I watched no country for old men that dude has an icy cold blooded stare blue eyes or no he could pull off roland

Constant Reader March 16, 2011 at 10:08 am

Firs of all Why is this site now only positing pro Bardem posts.

Sorry if anyone feels like this is a cheep shot at Bardem. It is notmy intention. Please forgive.
Roland’s language may not be eactly English but what in the books suggests he’s spanish? Roland isn’t from another Country, He’s from another World and Time.

The guy is a great actor hands down. No Doubt about it. Has a great steely look great. But for me thats where he parts from Roland

Bardem is not the right guy. He doesn’t have the right body type. He’s to broad face it’s alomst jowely. Bardem is to muscular. Looks more Like a thug then a Calculating cold killer that a gunslinger hast to be. Can you see Bardem doing a Jig or a spanish dance.
Rolands been walking for how long and not eating huge meals. Roland is not a fighter he’s a GUNSLINGER. The caractor needs tobe slim and tight faced. Like Clint Eastwood. I’m not Say Clint should take the part. I’t wood be cool if he had a cameo.

A couple young actors that do have that body type and look are on the TV show Haven. Based on but extreamly removed from King’s book “The Colorado Kid”. tons of King lore references. If they don’t have enough acting experince age ectra to play Roland then may hap Alain or Cothbert. Maybe even Eddie.

On other topic Robert Duval might be great for Cort, who could be uglier and meaner?

Just my thoughts and opion.
Constant Reader

Paula Speed March 18, 2011 at 9:13 am

I must say, as an avid fan of the DT series, having seen the pictures of this Javier it just doesn’t match to how you would imagine our Roland to be!!!!! …..viggo is an obvious choice and whilst I didn’t spring him to mind I do see where people are coming from …. Nicholas Cage was my first thought at this as well.

Robin the Boywonder March 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Clint is the man… and was Kings image of Roland… but he is too old. Bardem is a great actor… but he is not Roland… Viggo is not the man… he is Aragorn… Nicholas Cage is a dead beat these days. I dont know if he can pull of this big of a lead… but stature… walk… build… looks… TIMOTHY OLYPHANT is Roland.

moises April 2, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I have one question….who’s gonna play Stephen King in the movies?……Raiin Wilson from the office?….kinda looks like him.

milkman April 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm

i was thinkin maybe liam neeson as roland for looks(blue eyes and his recent gunslinging movies) as well as talent.also, robert downey jr. for eddie(he did act during the 80’s..) because i think he could pull off the wit and sarcasm bit.perhaps jake and susanah should be played by unknown up and comers.

john C April 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Javier Bardems voice isnt right. I think clive owen(without his accent as well) could do well. viggo moretensen, great actor, could see him playing it. but it seems he gets those kind of roles. maybe clouding the feel of the film. Maybe michael madsen, rough character, but can play softer roles as he did in free willy.

Rob April 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

I agree with TheColTrain, I think he has the potential to be a good Roland. As for Cort, I think Mickey Rourke would be a good choice for the role. I’d probably try to make him appear to be shorter, I never really got the impression that Cort was a tall man.

Tommy D April 30, 2011 at 2:08 am

Rob< great idea with Rourke for Cort. I still have my doubts with Bardem, My first choice would be Olyphant with out a doubt. Eddie is one of my all time fav characters so his roll with have to make a strong impact. Im sure the first book will be shortened and the drawing of three will be more indept. So out first real meat of the story will be with Eddie Dean. As far as peopel saying they will not watch the work because of who they pick as the actors thats nonsence. I will watch this no mater what actors they pick, or how badly the represent the story. These books have brought me some of the best reading i have ever done, I have had mixed feelings about bringing it to tv or movies because of what they have done to great books like DUNE. on a side note i can see Bardem as one of the big coffin hunters ot the tick tock man lol just not roland, ahhh but what can you do. King has passed on alot of his stories to movies with out much fuss. This should not be one of those times. We all want the Dark tower movies or tv series to touch out Soul just like the books have done. Ron DO NOT FORGET THE FACE OF YOUR FATHER on this one

J J Sutherland May 16, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Timothy Olyphant or the guy that plays mayhem in the insurance commercials, he was in the HBO series OZ, Can’t think of his name, he is very Eastwoodesques as well as Olyphant either would be a perfect fit, Javier? Not so much…….

Eric January 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

Tom Selleck. Period.

A203 January 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm

C. Thomas Howell needs to play Roland! Recent pix of him are so Roland.

Sperry Patrick March 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

Forget the accents. Forget the ethnicity. If he can be old, cold, and an all-around bad ass he has my vote. I just want to know what will happen it comes to Eddie.

Jayzoe May 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

JON HAMM would be perfect as Roland….

pete June 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Whomever thinks javier is not right fot the role, might have read the series , but does’nt understand Roland’s character. Javier is perfect.

d.b.lee June 28, 2012 at 12:47 pm

look at javier watch the line he traverses from from deadpan stare to deadeye stare dont get caught up in the spainiard thing bardem is not a particularily dark skinned latin i do wish he was a bit taller but bardem is not a short man. his ability to portray the tightly coiled spring is unmatched while at the same time showing us rolands quiet pain and unparalled heart. mr.bardem congrats to u i am confident that as u become the gunslinger u will find and appreciate roland deschain the man and portray him with the very real heart that is his core

dawn of the dead July 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Roland– Clint Eastwood
Eddie– Timothy Olyphant
Susannah– Zoe Saldana (she’s kind of a badass and a good age for the role)
Jake– Jonah Bobo or a newbie (all the kid actors i can think of are too old)

d.b. lee July 11, 2012 at 11:28 am

does anyone thnk a darker haired ryan gosling could play eddie?

d.b.lee July 25, 2012 at 11:35 am

Roland- Javier Bardem Jake-Nathan Gamble Eddie-Sean Patrick Flannery Sussanah-Naomi Harris Flagg- Jackie Earle Haley

The Man In Black July 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Javier is a good choice. It’s funny because before I heard it was him I was thinking Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men, Jonah Hex) would be a great Roland. The question is, who will play Flagg?

bretty August 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm

everytime i see bill compton from trueblood, i think of roland, yessm

Danny August 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I was hoping for actor jim Caviezel to play the role of Roland. Russell crow is to well known. and will tend to over act. Roland is a deep thinker not a put it all out there kind of guy.

Danny August 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm

who would be a good flag? mmm Jon Hamm comes to mind.

Danny August 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Zoe Saldana as suzzanah, taylor Kitsch as eddie dean

Fernando October 14, 2012 at 8:26 am

another great point favoring bardem is his deep and dark tabacco-smoker voice

conniemerie November 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm

thandie newton would be perfect for Suzanna! she was mighty powerful in “Beloved”.

Kitty November 6, 2012 at 11:14 pm

How about Daniel Craig? Blue eyes, kind of beat up. Like he’s traveled a long and hard road. Just a thought. Hate the idea of Crowe. Eastwood is out of age range. Javier is not lean faced enough.

Libby November 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Not that anybody asked me, but my vote for Roland goes to James Caviezel. He embodies everything I see the Gunslinger to be.

william November 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm

For what ever reason, whether it is the mention of his use of the High speech or the fact that the descriptions of Gilead remind me of either Germany or England, I think the actor cast as Roland Deschain needs to have one of those accents thought only slightly and not false at all. Micheal Fassbender, despite being younger would work or perhaps Jude Law, even though neither have played what most would consider similar roles or even in similar styles of movie. Have also considered Charles Dance, though he is a bit older. Cillian Murphy would make a great Walter/Flagg/Marten, that guy creeps me the hell out every time I see him. Zoey Saldana as Detta/Odetta/Suze. As for the rest not to sure. Perhaps Ian Somerhalder as Eddie Dean, guy just looks like smart ass.

olywilliams April 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm

One name has failed to find its name into these discussions and that is sad…Willem Defoe has been and always will be my ROLAND.

Christie April 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Lucas Bryant who plays Nathan on Haven. He definitely has the look and Roland’s laconic way of speaking. But I’ll back Timothy Olyphant.

Keef June 29, 2013 at 7:47 am

Ryan Gosling

Keef June 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

James Caviziel or Ryan Gosling both have that been there seen some things look. Eddie-Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Susannah-Taraji P. Henson,Jake- Justin Bieber(don’t laugh) consider him,look at him and think Jake.Biebers a badass,he’s starting to show it more and more.The billy bumbler -computer generated.

Constant Reader September 18, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Breaking news On Stephen Kings FB page Ron howard is quoted as saing This Dk movie is still in working progress it hasn’t gone away only delayed.

I totaly agree with Christie Lucas Bryant for Roland. Everyone should check out Haven.

I can’t laugh at jutin beiber as Jake, cuase im to busy puking. Thank fuly he’s to old for jake (13 or so). But not to old for Eddie hurl.

The Man in Black November 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

Roland – Viggo Mortensen or possibly Jim Caviedzal(sp?)
Eddie – Aaron Paul or Joseph Gordon Levitt
Susannah – Zoey Saldana
Walter – Jonny Depp or Matthew Macaneghey
Court – Mickey Rourke

i dunno about Jake. My first choice would have been Cameron Bright, but he’s too old now.

chris January 15, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Jeffrey dean Morgan, constant reader, should be the Gunslinger