Director Nikolaj Arcel Explains Why ‘The Dark Tower’ Is Only 95 Minutes Long
The Dark Tower, oddly enough, is not the 2.5-hour fantasy epic most people were expecting it to be when the movie version was announced. When news broke earlier this week that the movie is only 95 minutes long, we all kinda raised a brow (even though, given the modern blockbuster era’s love of movies that are way too long, the public now breathes a sigh of relief at anything under two hours). But director Nikolaj Arcel recently spoke about why his movie is so lean, and it makes a lot of sense.
When /Film spoke to Arcel at Comic Con, they asked about the runtime and Arcel clarified that The Dark Tower is not a Lord of the Rings-style epic, but rather an introduction into a much more multifaceted world.
The good news here…the reason why many fans are worried about the run time is that they think we are trying to do everything in this film. Which we are not. This is ideally the first film. This is an introduction to the world and the characters. It’s not meant to be all the novels and we’re just trying to cram everything in there. So that’s one thing. And the script was really lean and tight. When I got on board, the script was very short, very lean. That’s one of the things that attracted me to it. I said “This is smart.” You start with a lean, mean story and you don’t try to cram everything in there. You just build the basic ideas. And if people enjoy it and if they like this world and these characters, we can start expanding.
There really is no way one could fit every bit of Stephen King’s epic fantasy series into one movie even it if was three hours long, and may I remind everyone that the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, only has 224 pages. As an introduction to the world, this makes sense, and hopefully, if it’s good, we’ll get to see a lot more from this world than 95 minutes.
The Dark Tower hits theaters August 4.