Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: there’s gonna be a Dark Tower movie. Stephen King’s sprawling Western/mystical sci-fi epic has been Hollywood’s great white whale for some time now, stymieing adaptation efforts from such luminaries as J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard since 2007. The latest director to give this massive undertaking — and we mean massive, the Dark Tower universe comprises eight novels and various comic books and short stories — is Nikolaj Arcel, of A Royal Affair fame. He’s talking a big game about actually going forward with a new Dark Tower adaptation, but breaking news today reveals that he’s got something the other gestating productions haven’t, something that could reassure audiences that this is happening for real this time.

This enterprise has now taken on two stars befitting its high profile in Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba, according to Stephen King himself.

Elba will take on the lead role of gunslinger Roland Deschain, a survivor in a post-apocalyptic future on a monomaniacal mission to scale the Dark Tower and use its powers to right the wrong of his world. McConaughey will portray Walter Padick (Walter O’Dim), a.k.a. the Man In Black, and anyone who’s paid attention during a Western knows that the guys in black aren’t the heroes. He’s an agent of the Crimson King (no relation), the mysterious figure bent on razing the Dark Tower and ensuring the world will be doomed forever.

We’re still months away from getting a solid idea of whether this thing will be any good or not (wouldn’t it be fun if this ended up like David Lynch’s Dune?), but the most astonishing part is that it’s really, finally happening at all. King mentions to EW that the film is in “pre-production,” which is as much assurance as I need. Sony has projected a release date of January 13 next year, which seems like an odd time to release it — the post-holiday crash is a dead zone for movie releases — but once we’ve got a trailer to pick through, we can start levying premature judgement in earnest.

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