The Dark Tower's producers want it to be as big as Game Of Thrones
Gunning to be the next big Game
"I do not kill with my gun. I kill with my heart."
These iconic words are part of the Gunslinger's teachings, the lone figure at the heart of The Dark Tower, the fantasy movie based on US author Stephen King's eight-novel epic of the battle between good and evil.
Played by Idris Elba, Roland Deschain (aka the Gunslinger) is the last in the line of the knights of Eld who protect the Dark Tower, the stabilising force behind our world and Mid-World.
Walter O'Dim (Matthew McConaughey), the Man in Black and Roland's nemesis, is determined to destroy the tower and plunge the worlds into anarchy.
Out now, the movie is directed by Nikolaj Arcel and stars young actor Tom Taylor in the pivotal role of the boy who sees Mid-World in his dreams before he arrives there.
We met Elba at the Whitby Hotel in New York City, where the 44-year-old Englishman said that he isn't the next James Bond now that Daniel Craig will be reprising his role.
"It was just a rumour that sort of exploded on itself, and then imploded," Elba, who in the past year had been hotly tipped to be the next 007, said with a laugh.
What attracted you to The Dark Tower?
There are a lot of remakes and reboots, especially in the sci-fi/fantasy world. It is rare that something comes original, so this was an opportunity to do that. And I think it was a brave choice to do a reimagining of casting, so to speak, because all the imagery of the Gunslinger was sort of a Clint Eastwood-looking type.
Every piece of imagery of Roland was the archetypal blond hair, blue-eyed cowboy. Every image. So essentially the producers went against type to cast me. And I got a chance to do it differently.
So how did you shape the role to do it differently?
One of the things that was a big decision for me was to lose the hat. In all the imagery of the Gunslinger, he has a hat.
And ditching that was the first step for me to give him my own image. But I definitely paid attention to the books.
I made a sort of mental notebook of things I wanted to bring to the performance.
But the script doesn't have much dialogue, he is very much a stoic presence.
So I just sort of use what I know about him to make that stoic presence as interesting as possible.
A TV series set within the same continuity is scheduled to premiere next year, focusing on a younger Roland. Will you be involved?
To some degree. The film, for those who know the books, will be a bit of a patchwork.
I think the TV show will allow us to slow down and be more magnified in some areas, especially young Roland and young Walter.
The TV producers have an ambition for The Dark Tower series to be as big as something like Game Of Thrones because of all the possibilities from the source. So in my mind, that would be the pinnacle of both television and film, working together.
Did you do your own stunts?
There was a sequence where I was flying in the air, boom, boom, boom - that was not me (laughs). But the rest was all me.
What was the training like?
Of course there were some impossible moves, but we wanted to make them look as realistic as possible.
So my first session with a gun was in a room where a man walked in with some guns and a belt and said: "Try it on."
And I didn't feel like a cowboy. I was sitting in a hotel with these guns. It was the beginning of a long journey of me getting used to the guns and how they move.
At first, I would look when I would put the gun in and I would catch it, and then I got to a place where I could pull it out, re-holster and not look, and point.
These particular guns have a heavy, masculine metal (coating), and they have a hard kickback.
So, when I shot them, they would wave about a little bit until I became steady with them, and there was a big sequence where there was a lot of shooting, and that was where my training really paid off, because it was all me really pointing and shooting.
What was it like working with McConaughey?
Actually, we had only four days of shooting together. And when he works, he doesn't fraternise. So I didn't get to see him much.
But weirdly enough, Matthew and I met at the Golden Globes (earlier this year). And now, I really like Matthew, and he is a lovely guy and a great actor, and I learnt from him for sure.