The 2nd entry in our Book Club series, The Gunslinger by Stephen King, was published as a novel for the mass market in 1988. Not King’s usual subject matter at the time, it nonetheless became a cult favorite.
The film version has been in development hell for years now. In the media, Russell was spoken of with longing at one point for the role of Roland; first he was in talks, then he was not attached. Then Viggo Mortensen was approached, and then he was not attached. Then the project was being shopped as a film and tv compilation, which didn’t seem to pan out. Now we are not sure just where the project stands, except that Ron Howard has said he’s not forgotten about it. There is still hope that Russell will star as the Last Gunslinger in an alternate, post-apocalyptic world.
Excerpts from Wikipedia:
The Gunslinger is a novel by American author Stephen King, and is the first volume in the Dark Tower series, which King considers to be his magnum opus. Initially a fix-up novel that strung together five short stories published between 1978 and 1981, it was first published in book form in 1982……The novel was inspired by the poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” by Robert Browning, which King read as a sophomore at the University of Maine….
It took King twelve and a half years to finish the novel. The finished product was first published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. as a limited edition in 1982. In 1988, Plume released it in trade paperback form…..In 2003 the novel was reissued in a revised and expanded version with modified language and added and changed scenes intended to resolve inconsistencies with the later books in the series……
From Stephen King’s website:
The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. So begins Book I of Stephen King’s iconic fantasy series, The Dark Tower. Part sci-fi novel, part futuristic dystopia, part spaghetti Western, and part high fantasy vision, The Gunslinger tells the story of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger, who is tracking an enigmatic magician known only as the man in black. Following his quarry across the demon-infested Mohaine Desert, Roland confronts a mad preacher woman and her murderous flock, holds palaver with a speaking demon, and finally befriends a young boy from our world named Jake Chambers. Jake joins Roland on his quest, but while Roland travels with his young companion Jake, the man in black travels with Roland’s soul in his pocket.