Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Let's Have A Look At Roland Deschain

Howdy-ho!
  
The Dark Tower has been filming in New York City lately, and a goodish number of images from the set have popped up in various places around the Internet.
  
Let's have a look at how Idris Elba is faring as Roland, son of Steven, the last Gunslinger:
  
  
Walking away from what one assumes is a freshly-murdered corpse.  Yes sir.


Note the "Barlow and Straker's" sign in the background.

I love the costume.  I love the gun.

These images are presumably available in any number of places, but I found them all on the Facebook pages for Lilja's Library and the Stephen King Cast.


This one is my favorite, for whatever reason.

  
  
So, the long and short of this for me is that I love what I'm seeing.  Frequent readers of this blog will recall that I was opposed to Elba's casting -- and, yes, I was opposed to it on account of the fact that I felt Roland should be played by a white guy.  Call me a racist for that if you feel the need to do so, but my contention was that if the novels were going to be filmed in the way I wanted them to be filmed, it would be important to the story for Roland to be white.  Also, for Susannah to be black, Eddie to be white, Oy to be a billy-bumbler, and the Tower to be dark.  It's all about the story for me; believe I'm racist if you want to, but hey, I know my mind whereas you don't, so it ain't gonna fash me none.
  
In any case, I felt that if you were going to cast a guy who isn't white, Elba was an awfully strong pick, and these images suggest to me that he might well have been an even stronger choice than I suspected he could be.  Issues of race put to the side, Elba looks fucking perfect here.  That's no guarantee that the movie itself will turn out well, but it's a step in the right direction.
  
And God help me, I'm getting excited to see it.
  
Don't let me down, movie; don't you dare let me down.

53 comments:

  1. I agree that it's all about the story.

    With that said, I've been pretty much able to shrug this whole thing off precisely because of the direction they're taking the story.

    Simply put, it's no longer an adaptation of King's "Dark Tower", the film is deliberately setting out to be some other story utilizing the concept of "extremely loosely based upon" it's source material. This difference reaches to the point where, even the characters share the same names, they aren't the characters most fans may mistake them for.

    In terms of film development, I suppose you could point to cases where this has been done before. The two best cases I know of are "Blade Runner" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" The difference is that the latter two films were expanding on the source material in ways that, to my mind, made it better overall.

    In contrast, this is the first time a book is...It's hard to say, really. I'm not sure such a move has ever been done before to such a great extent. Looking over to the "It" adaptation, I noticed one or two details that leads me to believe the same thing will be going on there as well.

    For instance, a photo of two cast members lists one of them as "Officer Bowers". As Butch Bowers, Henry's deluded old man? Well, he takes part in what I consider my favorite passage from any King Novel ("The Fire at the Black Spot"), yet it's pretty clear this should not be taken as the same character at all.

    The image can be seen here:

    http://www.liljas-library.com/article.php?id=4992

    To go further, here's an image of the new Loser's Club(?):

    http://www.liljas-library.com/article.php?id=4942

    I could be wrong, however is it possible the same attempts at racial diversity are on display here, like it is with Elba as, well, ersatz Roland?

    If so, then first off, the question of race isn't what I'm concerned with here. Second, I merely point out that it seems both adaptations are focusing less on being adaptations than what I suppose we must call post-modern reshuffles.

    If that's the case, and if this is a signal of a possible future trend in Hollywood, then...

    You know, I'm not quite sure. Everything about this is so unprecedented that I'm left clueless as what to make of it. I will say this, one way the Tower reshuffle could work is if they decide to go in a similar yet different meta-fictional direction like the source material. They could have Elba and Co. comment on their roles and their functions, even going so far as to go "Deadpool" on the audience. Now that would be post-modern meta right there!

    ChrisC

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    1. I would definitely vote no on there being much of anything that "Deadpool"ized the story, but it wouldn't surprise me that much if it happened to some degree.

      Not sure about the Losers -- looks like a bunch of white kids (plus Mike) to me. I like their look overall, though, especially Beverly -- she's got a look that reminds me of Peppermint Patty, but also of one of the main characters in the excellent comic book "Paper Girls" by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang.

      I can live with changes like the ones we're discussing if -- IF, mind you -- the end result is a good movie. There are always going to be changes in moving from one medium to another. That's just a fact of adaptation. So I'm not opposed in theory.

      Sometimes, though, the end result is "11.22.63," which is dreadful in some respects and need not have been because there was a GREAT template sitting there for all the filmmakers to use.

      It's a bit different with "The Dark Tower." Some of it patently would not work, certainly not for a proposed big-budget film series. You can't end one of those with Patrick Danville showing up and doing what he does. That's dumb. It sort of works in the novel, but only sort of. So if you're adapting, you've got to either add a bunch of stuff to make that subplot work, or you've got to find a superior replacement for it.

      I don't know. After all the handwringing I did over Roland being played by a black man, I eventually settled into a mode in which I realized that this was not going to be my preferred Dark Tower, so ever since I have been hoping that it would be a great version of someone else's preferred Dark Tower. With that mindset, I'm getting kind of excited about it all.

      Nice to hear your thoughts on all this, Chris! As always.

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    2. Hey, there's what looks like a Canadian kid in that photo too! :)

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    3. The movie is filming in Canada, isn't it? I'd forgotten that.

      As much as I want the "Dark Tower" movie to be great, I'm even more jacked-up about "It." That's my favorite King novel, so the prospect of a great two-movie adaptation makes me salivate a bit. Let's just hope that's how it turns out.

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  2. Great to see you coming round on Elba as Roland.

    Agree there's no guarantee the movie will be good but I predict that any issues people might have, none of them will be about Elba's performance.

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    1. Agreed. He'll be great, although I hope he is allowed to do a British accent; his American one isn't always great.

      To be fair, I've never had a problem with Elba specifically. My problem has been with having ANY black man in the role. I sound like a damn shitheel out of context on THAT one, don't I?!? I think any film version of the novels as I wanted to see them adapted had to have Roland be played by a white guy, or at least by someone who Susannah would see as a white guy. For example, a Spaniard like Javier Bardem -- is it okay to say Spaniard? -- would have been fine in that capacity.

      But we're getting a different movie than that, and that being the case, yeah, no reason Roland can't be any color whatsoever. THAT being the case, Elba is going to be fine and dandy. This might even be the role that finally turns him into the superstar he's deserving of being.

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  3. EW is giving The Dark Tower their coveted SDCC cover. Three articles are going up today.

    The glimpses into the story changes sound very promising.

    http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/14/dark-tower-idris-elba-stephen-king-gunslinger

    http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/14/dark-tower-matthew-mcconaughey-the-man-in-black

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    1. Well, looks like I'll be heading to someplace EW is sold on Friday! Might even need to buy two of those.

      Whatever issues I've had with the direction some of this has gone, it is GREAT to see a King movie getting this sort of treatment. It's about time!

      In a perfect world, what will happen is that "The Dark Tower" is going to (A) be great and (B) make boatloads of money so that sequels will follow it. Then, "The Stand" needs to get going again, with McConaughey playing Flagg. THEN, a great new version of "Salem's Lot" needs to happen, with whoever plays Callahan eventually crossing over into the main series. We need an "Insomnia" movie to introduce the Crimson King, as well.

      Hey, dream big, right?

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    2. I agree, this has a lot of potential to be a good film. I'm really hoping that Elba can capture Roland's understated intensity... that will be awesome if it can be pulled off.

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    3. Unless something goes really wrong during filming, I don't think there's much doubt Elba will bring that to the table. He had that by the bucketful at least as far back as "The Wire."

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  4. I'm curious to see how it'll all play out! Really, giving themselves the "this is the next level of the Tower/ next reincarnation" (or perhaps just another reincarnation, given the infinite sidewaysness of the omniverse) leeway was a good move. Sort of like with the (first) Kelvin Timeline Trek - it neutralizes much of what anyone could oppose, simply because well, hey, alternate timeline.

    Idris and McConaughey look cool. Looking cool is half the battle, sometimes.

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    1. It's certainly a not-inconsiderable element of a visual medium, that's for sure.

      As for the next-level thing, I'm going to be lazy and repost a comment I left elsewhere on that subject:

      "Bryant Burnette I'm increasingly okay with (and even excited about) this movie, but the whole "it's a sequel to the books" thing grates me. It's both a copout and an insult: a copout because if you're a filmmaker trying to prove you care about the books, you don't do it by making huge changes to virtually every aspect of the story; and an insult because it's clear that they want fans of the books to just see a line like this and then be okay with any old thing they've decided to do. All that said, I love pretty much everything I've seen so far, so maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt for a while."

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    2. I can see that. Fair point(s).

      Given the themes and setting (and ending) of the Dark Tower books, maybe they lend themselves better to a cross-medium continuation / sequel/ reincarnation than others. I won't call it a copout or a travesty until I see what they did with it.

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    3. Good point. For all we know at this stage, they might do a better job of telling the story than King did. Unlikely, but you can't rule it out.

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  5. I remember reading your article on the Elba casting at the time, and did not think for a second that your or your argument was in any way racist. Assuming everyone who reads your blog is familiar with the Dark Tower series (and I think that’s a fair assumption), then they would know enough to realize that Roland’s journey will lead to the introduction of characters who are in fact partly defined by their race, and the racial dynamic of said characters are reason enough not to make unnecessary changes to King’s work. I don’t necessarily agree, but your argument is sound and not prejudiced in the least, so rest easy there.

    I still think MM would play a better Flagg/Walkin’ Dude than Walter, and wish they had started with a Stand film(s), but I can’t help but be a little excited after reading the EW article. MM looks much better in the accompanying picture without the Chris Walken haircut, and I have no doubts about Elba’s abilities as an actor.

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    1. I appreciate that, Kevin!

      I have not actually read the EW articles yet; I'm going to buy a copy of the magazine and give 'em a read there. But the little bits I've heard sounds cool to me, and I'm really glad to see the project getting a lot of attention in this manner. I wonder if there will be footage debuted at Comic Con? I wouldn't be surprised.

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  6. http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/14/dark-tower-matthew-mcconaughey-the-man-in-black


    This was the article I was referring to, in case you haven't seen it yet. I, too, wouldn't be surprised if we saw some type of teaser at Comic Con.


    I actually wanted to ask you something, as the preeminent Dark Tower authority. I gave up after Wastelands, and was curious about something in the article above; was Flagg responsible for the state of Mid-World? That seems to be what they're saying in the article and I'm wondering in which book that took place, or if I'm misinterpreting something. Also, while I'm at it, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind clearing something up for me? As someone who loves King's work but was never that enthusiastic about the multiverse/shared universe aspect, how can Flagg in The Stand be a literal demon, apparently residing in Hell for a portion of his life and knowing Satan fairly well, and still be the Walter of the Dark Tower universe?

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    1. Oh, man, I appreciate you saying it, but I've got to make a correction: in no way am I even an eminent Dark Tower authority, much less the preeminent one! Lordy, I bet I'm not even in the top thousand -- I've got too lousy a memory to even begin to qualify.

      Bearing that in mind, I'd say that no, Flagg/Walter was definitely not responsible for the world having moved on. Not directly, at least; and not as the sole destroyer. He's got his own long game in play, but he's ostensibly just a servant of the Crimson King. I guess the idea is that one or the other of them must have had a hand in beginning the process of tearing down the Beams, which in turn would topple the Tower itself. So in that sense, Flagg is maybe to blame.

      I don't know how I feel about the movie changing that, if indeed it is. I think maybe I'm okay with it. The Crimson King turns out to be a rather ineffectual villain (and that's putting it mildly). So does Flagg in "The Stand," of course; that's kind of a running theme in King's work. Selling that idea -- the Big Bad villain is kind of a chump because being evil is lame and destructive -- would be very, very hard in a big-budget film series. If the filmmakers end up crafting a more traditionally satisfying good-versus-evil tale, I'm perfectly fine with that provided they try to hew as close to King's story/themes as otherwise possible.

      Regarding your other question, I've never taken Flagg (in "The Stand") to actually be a demon, or to have known Satan. I think it's more that he is an opportunist who thinks people will believe him in that situation when he tells lies like that. Same goes for Leland Gaunt in "Needful Things." Of course, by virtue of being such nimble liars, they are both behaving in a very Satan-like manner, so there's that.

      Things like this are part of the reason why King's work can occasionally be vexing, especially in the broad sense. In some ways, his multiverse doesn't quite manage to hold up. In other ways, he tends to be vague enough that the imaginative mind can sometimes fill in the blanks on its own, and thereby keep the whole thing from falling apart.

      In that way, the Constant Reader is a bit like Roland himself, trying to keep the Beams from collapsing and the Tower from falling and chaos from reigning.

      Huh. I had never had that thought until I typed it just now.

      I kinda like it!

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  7. After I asked the question about Flagg from The Stand, I actually remembered you touching on your theory regarding Flagg and his questionable demonic roots in a previous post. I was wondering if King had a clearly stated, definitive and final answer on the matter, but it sounds like he doesn't and I'm actually quite okay with that. Villains tend to work best when there's some mystery left intact.

    I think I must disagree, however, with your theory. Admittedly, in part because I just happen to think The Stand is more interesting with Flagg, as you put it, a "Demonic Sleeper Agent." Throughout that book, Flagg seems as if he's trying to hide his supernatural abilities, at least to an extent. I always took him only whispering confirmation to Whitney that he is in fact a "devil" as a strong indication that he was reluctant to inform his followers that they were lead by an out-and-out inhuman creature of evil. We also have Tom Cullen's claim that he interacted with Jesus, and Mother Abigail's claim that The Dark Man apparently is on a first name basis with Lucifer himself. I would add the Dana-rape scene, where she sees his ancient yellow eyes and hideous true form, as more proof of his connection to a Christian Hell.

    But that's just my interpretation, and I'm sure there's plenty of evidence to the contrary.

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    1. Depends on how you look at it, I'd imagine. Including the evidence you cited, there's obviously plenty of fuel for the demonic/Satanic angle. And in all honesty, that evidence is more compelling than any to the contrary: it's specific and it predates most of the multiverse stuff (if not all of it), so in that way it's arguably more genuine.

      Then again, you could look at the inconsistencies created by the multiverse approach as a sort of revision on King's part.

      All in the eye of the beholder! I don't think there's a definitive answer either way, which is really kind of cool.

      It's a very rich topic, that's for sure.

      By the way, there's a podcast called Stephen King Cast (http://stephenkingcast.podbean.com/) that might be right up your alley. The host talks about Flagg a good bit in all the Flagg-centric tales, and he addresses some of the same issues you're bringing up. I highly recommend a bonus episode called "Eyes of the Tower," which is all about Flagg.

      It's a damn fine podcast, well worth the time of any serious King fan. Not just that episode, but in general.

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    2. Being led* an out-and-out inhuman creature of evil. Small correction.

      Thanks for the podcast tip, I will certainly check it out. I've always had some doubt that Flagg was originally intended to be Walter/The Dark Man from the very beginning and suspected a bit of a retcon, and these inconsistencies are part of the reason why. But who knows? King may have a perfectly valid and logical explanation.

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    3. I agree: I smell retcon. It gets deeper than that, even, because I don't think Walter and the Man in Black were always intended to be the same character.

      In some ways, the series fails to hang together. It's arguably too vague on subjects like this one, as one example. So if the movies can clean some of that up a bit, then maybe the changes will be worthwhile.

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    4. I just listened to the podcast episode you referred me to, and again thanks for making me aware of it. I actually did not remember that The Man in Black mentions Marten in The Gunslinger, and that he calls him a "lesser wizard", as the host of the podcast mentions. King also admits in the most recent EW edition that he decided to eventually make Flagg and TMIB the same person, left unsaid is exactly when that occurred.

      The podcast host is certainly well-versed in Dark Tower lore, although he doesn't hit on exactly what we were discussing (re: the possible satanic nature of Flagg). I still get the feeling that Flagg in The Stand was intended to be an actual Demon, more or less, and only later did King decide to simplify and merge these villains into one single overarching antagonist. I've always felt that in fiction, and particularly with respect to villains, the less information shared with the audience/reader, the better. A little bit of backstory can go a long way, which is perhaps why I prefer The Walkin' Dude to Walter.

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    5. King is a very instinctive writer, and he's always said that he writes without outlines. For him, writing is a process of discovery -- so my guess is that the way he'd phrase it is that he eventually "figured out" that Flagg and the Man In Black were one and the same.

      It's quite fascinating to think of that being his process. I think it's worked against him in some ways, but I also think that it makes his overall body of work compelling in terms of the degree to which it exhibits self-honesty. Warts and all, King and his work are themselves one and the same. I think that's probably a key component of his appeal.

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  8. I have been excited about Elba from day one, and I sincerely hope they will change Susannah's character at least a bit. I don't necessarily want to see a faithful adaption because there are many things I didn't like about the series, and I hope to see them changed. So any changes related to casting I am happy to see. Still no guarantee the movie will be good but I like what I see for now.

    Mircalla

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    1. You and me both! I won't be the least bit surprised if Susannah is changed massively. If she ends up being a white woman with functional legs, it won't surprise me a bit. I'd be disappointed by that, but great casting could change my mind on that score.

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    2. I hope they cast a black disabled actress or a black actress in general since they get so few main character roles (unlikely, I know). I think they will have to move all storylines forward in time so that Detta would have to be totally different (which I am rooting for). I just don't see it working very well if they go back to late '80s rather than today. But first we need a successful first movie I guess.

      Mircalla

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    3. There was concept art floating around a couple of years ago (you can see it at http://io9.gizmodo.com/concept-art-gives-us-our-first-look-at-ron-howards-trou-1596506901) that came from the Ron Howard version of the movie that never got made. It shows Susannah several times, and she's got legs in all of them. There's no guarantee that that element of the Howard version will carry over to these new movies, of course. That would be a bummer, but I've already had to adapt my ideas about this movie extensively, so I guess I could do it again.

      I agree, though -- it would nice to see a disabled actress in the role.

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    4. While I've been fine with Elba cast as Roland - because IMO Roland's skin colour does not shape his character, if Susannah is cast by a non-black actor THAT would upset me. The make up of her character is intricately tied with her skin colour and the era she grew up in. Change any of that and the character is no longer Susannah.

      While this would change - or perhaps exacerbate? - the tension between Roland and Susannah, skin colour is only one form of bigotry. There are many flavours of bigotry that can be used to keep the hostile relationship between the two. In some ways, having two black actors go at it could allow for an even greater acerbic dynamic between them.

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    5. Good point(s). Roland's skin color is a bit more important to me than to you, but the vast majority of that is due to the tension with Detta. I have to ask myself: do I need that dynamic to remain the same? I guess the answer is no; I do WANT it to remain the same, but with tweaks it can remain the same despite skin-color issues.

      I'll be very curious to see where they go with that in the sequel (assuming it gets that far). Nothing would surprise me.

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  9. Denzel Washington may help pave over some road bumps have for The Dark Tower movie:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-RBA0xoaWU

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    1. I actually thought that when I saw the first trailer for that a few weeks back!

      It remains to be seen how much road will actually need to be paved, though. It seems to me based on what I've seen so far of "The Dark Tower" that they are going to downplay the cowboy-avatar element of the story.

      I can live with that, I guess. I've reconciled myself to the idea that these movies are not going to reflect the entirety of what I love about the novels. My knee-jerk reaction to that was a low-grade fury, but provided that what they actually end up making is good, then I can be zen with that. Zen-ish, at least.

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    2. Thankee-sai for the birthday wishes!

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  10. Have you read the latest Entertainment Weekly? For making the cover, it's not a long article, but the director does seem to have a deep love for the books. He says he learned English specifically to read the series in its original language.

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    1. I bought two issues direct from Entertainment Weekly online last week when this cover was revealed and all the articles started hitting the 'net. I have yet to actually receive them, and can't figure out whether my card ever got charged for them. So I decided to go buy a couple of issues locally, and had to go to three different places to find one. I always forget how hard it is to find actual copies of this fucking magazine to buy.

      In any case, I just got home with 'em, so I haven't read one yet. I look forward to it, though.

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  11. Nice. I actually am getting the feeling that despite the changes, this could be really good.

    BTW, have you heard anything from our pal Josh? His last post was almost three months ago about getting the new job. Has he left a comment here or anything?

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    1. Nope; I have no earthly idea what he's up to. Something good, I hope.

      I have a good feeling about the movie, too. I like pretty much everything I've seen from it so far. Hard to make any meaningful judgments based on still images and rumors, of course; but that hasn't prevented me from doing it!

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  12. I think Idris Elba is an amazing actor, but I'm still not sure he was the right actor for this part.

    By the way, since you like fantasy and comics I invite you to visit my blog:

    www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

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  13. Honestly, I'm more excited to see McConaughey as Walter. Now there's perfect casting!

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    1. Yeah, he should be great. I hope he's still being considered for "The Stand," too -- that'd be awesome.

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  14. Hey, Brian...speaking of movies adapted from a King novel, any thoughts on Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining"? I was frankly amazed by the number of changes seen in the movie that were not in the novel, and it's no secret that King was none too happy about it. And...any plans to rank Kubrick's movies as you did with John Carpenter and Stephen Spielberg? And Bryant, with summer coming to a close, can your readers expect an update on the ranking of King's books soon? Mike

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    1. Sadly, no, they can't. I still haven't read "End of Watch" and don't plan to anytime soon. Before 2016 ends, I hope, but I wouldn't swear to it.

      I do plan to get back to semi-regular blogging again at some point soon, though. I'm actually already working on an updated ranking of the movies, and I'm also planning to review another short story soon. "Suffer the Little Children" is the next one up, I believe.

      Regarding "The Shining," was that directed at me or at McMolo (who is a Bryan instead of a Brian)? I'll field it either way. I adore Kubrick's "The Shining," despite how different it is to the novel. King is indeed very negative about it, but I don't always agree with him on movies and tv shows, so that mainly just makes me shrug.

      I would LOVE to do a ranking of Kubrick's movies, and started working on one once, but never finished it. I should get back to that! I'll go ahead and spoil it: "Fear and Desire" comes in last, "2001" first. Beyond that, though, I don't have it sorted out. One day, maybe!

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    2. I'll pretend it was addressed to me, as I can't resist jumping in for Kubrick rankings... Least to Most Favorite:

      - Fear and Desire
      - Killer's Kiss (I like both of these but they're the least of what he did, IMO.)
      - Spartacus (and this one's a classic, so... I guess we've entered A+ territory already! Didn't take long.)
      - Lolita (another masterpiece, but I just like everything forthcoming more.)
      - Paths of Glory (ditto)
      - Eyes Wide Shut (I can't think of a single scene to cut - maybe some of Nicole Kidman's monologues go on a little long - but I still have the impression that this was a tad overlong. Which is weird as I've seen the thing 20 times or more, and I usually watch all of it in one sitting (at least before kids came into the picture.) A very misunderstood movie of a very compelling novella.)
      - Barry Lyndon (any sane director, this would be his crowning achievement. The duel scene at the end I have watched a thousand times. Back in the laser disc days, when I lived with Klum, we had this queued up all the time. But it's just such a great flick all around.)
      - Dr. Strangelove (ditto. Well, minus the duel-scene, but just a masterpiece and how odd it is to have something this quality be only my 5th favorite film of the man's catalog.)
      - Full Metal Jacket (some take issue with the back half. To me this is bunk - both halves of the film combine exactly like the peace sign next to the Born to Kill pin on Joker's helmet. Michael Herr's article on the making of Full Metal Jacket is must-reading for the Kubrickphile. It had the same effect on my Kubrick fandom that George Beahm's (original) Stephen King Companion had on my King fandom.)
      - A Clockwork Orange (the levels of irony in this one are outdone only by the visual and acoustic composition.)
      - The Shining (just a goddamn masterpiece, start to finish, and a brilliant adaptation of the novel, which is my 2nd favorite of King's.)
      - 2001 (everytime I re-evaluate my Kubrick rankings, I think this'll be the year "2001" drops a slot or two, and every time, I discover this is not the case.)

      I second the call for more Bryant Blogs and for exhaustive Kubrick rankings! If only we could clone you and organize you into a staff. It'd probably end up like "Multiplicity," but even that might be fun to watch play out.

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    3. I imagine my list would end up being fairly similar to yours. I might have "Barry Lyndon" and "Pathos of Glory" (I love that typo; leaving it as is) slightly higher, but even as I type that I wonder what films I would move down to make it happen. And I cannot answer that question.

      The problem with cloning me is that the original is that you'd get, like, one clone down and he'd already be putting pizza in his wallet and wearing weird hats. Three or four deep, you'd just be getting chimps.

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  15. "I agree: I smell retcon. It gets deeper than that, even, because I don't think Walter and the Man in Black were always intended to be the same character."

    This is interesting- I just finished reading the book again, and I was curious as to what it was the leads you to believe the MIB and Walter were not originally intended to be the same character? Did you mean Marten?

    I was reading the original, pre-revisions copy.

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    1. I surely did mean Marten. What a fail! Spectacular.

      Thanks for the correction. By the way, simply hearing that somebody is reading "The Gunslinger" makes me want to reread it again. The older I get, the clearer it is to me that that's my favorite in the series. And that's no knock against the rest of the series.

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  16. I found a pristine copy of the original paperback on sale for a dollar at my local library. I find I can't resist buying multiple copies of my favorite King books if the price is right…it's a sickness!

    Re: Walter/MIB- I wasn't sure if I had missed something, or if King had made more revisions that I was aware of. I think you're absolutely correct that Marteen and the MIB were not the same character at the time of release.

    The book has, over time, become one of my favorites, and I say that as someone who was fairly underwhelmed by most of the series. I'm also frequently annoyed by King's shared universe/multiverse approach and his need to tie various novels/stories together…. I just don't think it's necessary or adds much to the tale he's telling. But The Gunslinger is just magic, I was hooked from the first sentence. I'm always amazed when DT fans are dismissive of it, I've actually heard fans recommend skipping it and starting with Drawing. It's so unlike anything else king has written, and I agree that it's the best of the series. I think it's among the best things King has ever done, honestly.

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    1. I couldn't agree more.

      I've heard that recommendation for new readers to begin with "The Drawing of the Three." I don't get it. I mean, to each his/her own and all, and I'm nobody to tell someone how they should or shouldn't be a fan of a thing.

      I'll strongly hint at it, though, and to me it'd be just plain chowderheaded to skip "The Gunslinger." Without it, none of the rest of it has a basis. I know some people are bored by it, but those people are clearly reading for different reasons than I'm reading. More power to 'em, I guess.

      I am just as frequently delighted by King's shared-multiverse approach to storytelling as I am annoyed by it; but, then, by definition that means I'm annoyed by it fairly frequently. I sense that maybe it's just part of the OCD-esque inner fires that keep his storytelling lights burning; if so, then I'm happy to indulge him, because I find the end result to be worth it.

      I sometimes buy multiple copies of the books, too, by the way. Not all that frequently, but when I see a good copy, yeah, I have a hard time passing it up.

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  17. *looks at picture* NOT EVEN CLOSE.

    That is Mad Max, not Roland Deschain.

    HUGE. FAIL.

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  18. In case you hadn't heard, the movie's release date has been pushed from mid-February to late July.

    I don't see this as a problem. The post-production schedule always seemed tight to me, so taking a few extra months seems wise. Plus, a late-summer release date is a sign of confidence.

    So for me, the only bad news in this is that it means a longer wait for the movie.

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