For his latest film, Idris Elba has learned to shoot from the hip.
“The gunslinger is ridiculously fast,” describes the British actor of his character in the big screen adaptation of the epic Stephen King novels, The Dark Tower, now playing in Philippine cinemas).
“There’s no looking when he’s putting his guns in and out of his belt; that was our focus. As a kid you play pretend, and now here I am — it’s like a living playground of the imagination.”
To master the Gunslinger’s moves required both firearm training and an extreme physical fitness. For the latter, Elba trained extensively in boxing and mixed marital arts training, both before and during filming.
Stunt Supervisor Grant Hulley says that the largest-scale stunts in the film are seen in the Dixie Pig sequence, as Roland tries to save Jake from Walter. “It’s an enormous area where the real gunslinger in Roland is revealed. He is firing multiple shots and goes through hundreds of rounds, diving across a chasm. The action progresses to the Dixie Pig creatures inside aquariums getting shot, with the water-filled tanks exploding.”
Over the years, Stephen King has established an astounding fan base of die-hard disciples, and the writer has millions of followers on social media. Because the Dark Tower series is the nexus for most of the King universe and crosses over into so many of King’s other books, it was important to the filmmakers to make a few sly nods to King’s other written works which the fans may recognize.
“We had a lot of fun planting hidden Stephen King references in the film,” says director Nikolaj Arcel. “I wanted fans to sitting in the audience, thinking, ‘Oh is that from another Stephen King story?’”
In The Dark Tower, the last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Elba), has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.
The Dark Tower is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.