Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has officially locked in Idris Elba to play the Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, with Matthew McConaughey portraying the villainous Man in Black.

“The thing is, it’s been a long trip from the books to the film. When you think about it, I started these stories as a senior in college, sitting in a little sh-tty cabin beside the river in Maine, and finally, this thing is actually in pre-production now. I’m delighted, and I’m a little bit surprised.”

Both the author and the movie’s director and co-writer, Nikolaj Arcel, spoke exclusively with EW about the plan to begin adapting the six-shooter-and-sorcery tale — which spans eight novels, assorted comic books, and short stories, and is frequently referenced throughout King’s body of work.

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