'The Dark Tower': Javier Bardem offered lead role as Roland in Stephen King adaptation

Javier-Bardem-Dark-TowerImage Credit: Chris Hatcher/PR PhotosDirector Ron Howard wants Javier Bardem to play troubled hero Roland Deschain in his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. Imagine Entertainment confirms the news first reported by Deadline that the No Country For Old Men star has been offered the lead role in the horror-fantasy-western adaptation, which is currently planned as a big-screen trilogy along with a TV series. (Busy week for Bardem — first he was nominated for an Oscar, then his beautiful wife gave birth to a genetically perfect child, and now this.) The Dark Tower series comprises seven books and forms the connective material between much of King’s work, so there has been much anticipation for the film/TV series. (Early rumors had indicated that fan favorite Viggo Mortensen was also in the running.) The first Dark Tower film is currently scheduled for summer 2013.

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  • Ralph

    He may not have been what I pictured in my head when I read (and re-read) this series, but I have faith in Ron Howard, and if he can get an Academy Award nominated actor for Roland, I’ll be there to see it. (Of course, I’d probably see it for anyone short of Carrot Top as Roland.)

    • Jessica

      I don’t have faith in Ron Howard very much, although I don’t actively dislike him. I will probably watch all of this, but I’ll be skeptical and critical about it all the way. I’m just now reading the serious for the first time (on Wizard and Glass now – can’t believe I’ve waited this long), but I just do not see how something like this can be translated into any visual medium without it seeming trite and ridiculous. That is the fate of so many of adaptations of King’s work, but this one seems destined for failure.

      • Sam

        Well said, Jessica. I, too, am unsure that these books can be translated into film. There’s simply so many details and so much information to absorb.

      • Brian

        Yes, much like Lord of the Rings, these books simply cannot be translated into film. And I know everything, so there’s pretty much no further discussion to be had.

      • Big Walt

        I think you missed Ralph’s point.

      • dave

        I don’t know how much you have read about the project, but they are releasing a movie first, then a season on tv picking up the story where the movie left off, and they have two more movies, all the while filling i the details with the same cast on the television series. They seem pretty committed to doing it right, and this plan is quite impressive if you ask me.

      • Black Thirteen

        Gods.. Javier Bardem as Roland? I guess Hugh Jackman wants too much money. thats the only reason i can think that Bardem would be even remotely considered for this role, can he get rid of his accent to even play the role? i would like to see that.. ive never heard him speak without an accent.. Javier Bardem!!??? NO SAI Let it not be so. as for the series being done correctly..I dont think that anyone can do these movies correctly, however…i think that they can be done in a way that true tower fans can fill in what is not spoken or portrayed in the movies/tv series. after my ridicule of Bardem i look at his face and without the accent, i can live with it.. the guy is a great actor.. but i just dont see him as Roland.

    • jeremy

      He is an oscar winning actor, not just nominated…

      • Stef

        They are talking about things that have happened to him this week.

    • Tim

      Clint Eastwood in his younger years would have made the absolute perfect Roland.

      • GB

        No sh#t.The character is based on clint eastwood lol he would of been amazing

      • vanessa

        I read the series twice and loved it! I’m sad to see who they picked for Roland….not even close to how I pictured him. I agree with Tim I thought of Clint Eastwood everytime, Viggo would probably be decent as well. Either way I’m excited

      • Kyle

        Hell ya to clint eastwood as Roland. Either way I’m a big fan of the series, and I’m super glad this is coming.

    • olga

      I am Spanish and I am outraged at the idea of ​​seeing Javier Bardem plays the role of Roland, it is completely blank, You should see his movies as a young man, no comments … the first thing you should do is to lose 40 kilos and get contact lenses, Mr. King refers much in the book the color of the eyes of Roland and his extreme thinness
      What will happen also with your pronunciation? and with the accent?

  • Katrina

    I just finished re-reading them all and was trying to think of who would be good for each role. I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing would be to cast completely unknowns are almost completely unknowns. I don’t want to be distracted by the person, I want to be able to lose myself in the story and I’m not sure how easily that’ll happen with known actors. I loved No Country For Old Men, I thought Bardem was great but I didn’t know him at that time. I know it can be done, of course it can, but it’s just so much easier when the person isn’t already a huge star.

    • Sheri

      I agree with you Katrina! I would really like to see a cast of unknowns. The DTS is such a loved collection and I think the fans are going to be expecting a LOT. I also like Javier as an actor, but I can not see him as Roland.

  • Serge

    Please not Bardem, Jackman, Hamm, Bale, Craig and Mortensen are better ootions for roland, they fit better with the description of the character. Come on, if Bardem is choosed it’s going to suck for all the Dark Tower fans and King’s constant readers!!!!!!!!!!

    • angeler

      ummmm, no. If you go back and re-read the descriptions of Roland in the series, he is not a good-looking man. If I remember correctly, sometimes the word “ugly” is out-right used. Hugh Jackman, Daniel Craig, Jon Hamm- all WAY too pretty. Viggo would work, and I think Bardem might actually work too. They both can have that “worn-out” look.

      • Trill

        In the books Roland is (affectionately) called “Old Long, Tall and Ugly.” I think JB could do a great job, but they’ll have to ugly him up a lot. And also give him the “blue bombadier eyes”.

      • Serge

        He’s gonna look really ridiculous with blue contacts lens…and all of those actor can be made ugly, but honestly I prefer Viggo, or Hamm, they’re more manly and less sissy, but Bardem…..well, he doesn’t belong…

      • Shockey

        The word ugly is only used by Eddie (when he calls him ‘ol long tall and ugly) but this is mostly eddie being eddie, He refers to him this way to highlight the old and worn look Roland has- it’s an idiom people use to describe someone dangerous. He is good looking, read wizard and glass, he calls him handsome over and over- he’s just been hardened and weathered. Like Clint Eastwood- he isn’t ugly, he’s just been worn out. See pictures of young Clint, and you’ll realize he’s as good looking as they come.

      • Black Thirteen

        The reason he was called long tall and ugly by Eddie Dean is because he was almost dead and Dying when he was given the title. its something that just stuck with Eddie.. if you remember Susannah Delgado thought he was anything but Ugly.. so Jackman would be perfect for the role.. picture him snarling as Wolverine and tell me you cant see him as the perfect role for Roland in a state of Battle fever.

    • Cygnus

      I always thought Tom Hanks would be a good candidate. Roland is a little older, and I think Hanks could pull off the levity, age, height, and darkness that Roland exudes.

      • lewsifer


  • Josh M

    This better mean Daniel Day-Lewis wasn’t interested.

    • Matt W

      I feel like I read (a rumor) somewhere he was asked about his interest and he turned it down.

  • Jay

    OKay, I’m gonna sound like a jerk, but not on purpose. Ron Howard is a good director – if the subject matter is appropriate for his sensibilities. Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, etc were all great. But he can also suck the life out of a good story – The Da Vinci Code was so watered down. The Dilemma suffered from multiple personality disorder. Ron is too inconsistent. The Dark Tower is an excellent series in need of a “deeper” director. This is just my opinion. This is something Fincher, Nolan, Del Toro or someone on par with these guys should do. I think Ron is gonna suck the life out of it. Although I really really hope he does a good job.

    • @Jay

      couldn’t have said it better.

    • David

      My sentiments exactly!

    • Cygnus

      I agree. Wasnt JJ Abrams attached to this, or is he still the EP?

      I almost wish Peter Jackson couldve been attached to it, seeing his success with Rings. Although he’s currently attached to The Hobbit for a few years.

      Ridley Scott, Alfonso Cuaron, and Guillermo del Toro are some others I wouldve approached ahead of Howard.

      • KanedaX

        JJ was attached at some point, but he handed it back to King. I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was along the lines of “I’m too big of a fan, I’m terrified that I’ll get it wrong.”

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Howard directs the first movie, then steps back to EP after the first season kicks off production. As the series gets into weirder and weirder territory (Calla Bryn Sturgis, Discordia, and Devar-Toi) I don’t think he matches up quite as well. I think he’d work really well with the Keystone Earth/NYC/Maine locales, though, so maybe he’d split directing duties with someone a little more off-kilter.

      • Darrin

        If I remember right from the original press release, Ron Howard will direct both the first movie and the first year of the series, not sure after that. And, not sure if JJ himself had the rights, but Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse did through the greater “Lost” production company.

    • Sergio

      I agree on everything.

    • melizaberry

      well said. totally agree

  • Serge

    Well, anyway, it looks like it will suck anyway, i’m loosing all my hope for this…

    • Rowsdower

      I think you meant losing all hope. “Loose” means not tight.

  • Jaded

    Definitely not thrilled with this. Viggo would have been a lot better. Or Christian Bale.

    • Serge

      My first option was Viggo, but there’s a rumor he signed for Snow White

      • Trill

        Please not Christian Bale. He’s a talented man, but I can’t watch him on screen … something about him gives me the creeps, and not in a good way!

  • SnowMan

    I’m somewhat concerned with him being able to do a convincing accent. The only movie I’ve seen where he tried an American accent was “No Country for Old Men,” and he spoke very slowly and strangely in that movie (but maybe that was supposed to be the character).
    I will never have faith in Ron Howard’s casting decisions since he put Tom Hanks in “The Da Vinci Code.” I’ll have to see things in action before I believe.

    • Jaded

      I totally agree–Ron Howard’s last few adaptations of books that I love have not gone so well. Tom Hanks was hideous! I have a feeling that no one or nothing could really do the Dark Tower series justice.

      • Trill

        “I have a feeling that no one or nothing could really do the Dark Tower series justice.”

        Exactly. There’s no way any movie or series will come close to recreating the magic that is the DT series. I think all we can really hope for is something that make an interesting companion to the books. Like the graphic novels do.

        Folks, read the books before the movies come out. You wont be disappointed!

    • Robert Singleton

      I had my doubts about Roland having a discernable accent, too, but know that I think about it, a slight accent could be accounted for my Roland’s time in Mejis, plus it might emphasize that Roland is not from the same world as Eddie, Susannah and Jake. Also, I’ve always pictured Roland as speaking slowly and deliberately most of the time. Any Roland casting is going to disappoint me, at least slightly, as his voice to me will always be the late Frank Muller’s. Muller did the first four audiobooks, and was masterful.

      • Shasta

        Exactly! A slight accent would be awesome. I mean, the guy has trouble saying “Aspirin,” so he’s not going to sound like freakin’ Walter Cronkite.

  • Kobolos

    Just because he was offered it doesn’t mean he’ll accept it…the fact that it has taken a week since Glazer’s “within the week” to just say he’s been offered the role means there is hesitation and a better option will be found.

    If he takes it I hope they’ll work with a speech coach. Roland with a Spanish accent will completely take me out of the picture. Say thankya.

  • Amor Fati

    Ugh. I hope they stop at one movie. I wish I stopped at one book.

    • dave

      Beat it, pee wee.

    • Dicazi

      If you’re not a fan, then why would you care how many movies they make, since I assume you’ll not be watching them??

  • dave

    I love the Dark Tower series (I remember waiting through that long gap when SKing got hit by that van). I think VMortensen would be better, but I’m excited anyways. I wonder who will play Eddie?

    • Serge

      Yeah, Eddie was a great character, but as things go by I don’t have many hopes, they might get Robert Pattinson, jajaja, that will be irony…

      • Lily

        Don’t say that!!!

  • JLC

    I was obsessed with this series up through Wizard and Glass, but got seriously off-track when King’s injury pushed Wolves of the Calla back several years. Tried to get into it again, but just couldn’t. I’ve heard mixed reviews on the last few books (King IMHO has trouble with endings). I’ll be interested to see how they construct the world, but I’m worried about the story.

    • jay

      King definately has trouble with endings but as in life it’s not the destination it’s the trip. And King’s trips are what it’s all about.

      • Trill

        The ending to the DT series was amazing.

    • Andy

      The ending still gives me goosebumps.

    • Andy

      I loved the books and am excited to see what this movie might turn into. There is nothing that can truly do the story justice, so let’s just sit back, wait and see, and enjoy! I like Bardem’s intensity.

  • majamababe

    Hopefully, Ron Howard will ask Stephen King’s opinion before he actually casts anyone so it’s in line with King’s concept of the characters.

    • Peter

      While I’m not certain I like the choice (I might), I think King would love it.

  • Felix

    Man in Black: “Pick a card, Roland.”
    Roland: “I have a better idea, friend-o. (flips coin) Call it.”
    MIB: “Wait, what?”
    Roland: “Just call it.”

    • dave

      Lol. Good one.

      • Trill


    • Japanese HIROSHI

      LOL with Felix.

      • George


  • Serge

    let’s hope the king puts the things right, A latin Roland, a white sussanah…what’s next? Sheldon from the big bang theory as eddie and a snoop dog as Oy?

    • Peter

      I keep hearing this Susannah thing. What is the rumor?

      • Serge

        the girl from dexter is rumored to be a contender for sussanah, her names is jennifer carpenter

      • Trill

        LOL … Snoop Dog as Oy.

    • Alise

      I tell you what. If they actually make Susannah a white chick, I will simply not watch. That is wrong on every level. Nonono.

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