Early cast members for the Amazon Prime adaptation of Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower saga have been announced – and one is a former Eastenders star.
Sam Strike, who played Johnny Carter in the BBC soap until 2014, is swapping Walford and the Queen Vic for Mid-World and the Man in Black.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 25-year-old is set to play leading role of Roland ‘The Gunslinger’ Deschain, which had been previously been played by Idris Elba in an almost universally panned movie adaptation from 2017. Critics called the film “a flavourless slog”.
Earlier today (21 March), the actor took to social media with a cryptic clue about the role, tweeting: “The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.”
Strike has been busy since leaving Albert Square. He received recognition for his performance in Silent Witness in 2016, before trying his luck Stateside in shows such as Timeless and the George RR Martin penned Nightflyers.
He had a starring role in 2017’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre spin-off Leatherface, and he played real-life serial killer Monte Rissell in David Fincher’s Netflix drama Mindhunter.
Amazon has been rumoured to have been working on its take on the Dark Tower series for two years. It is thought the outcome will be a live-action episodic series, with former Walking Dead producer Glen Mazzara at the helm. Mazzara said: “I’ve been a Stephen King fan for decades, and the opportunity to adapt The Dark Tower as a TV series is a great honour.
“The events of The Gunslinger, Wizard and Glass, The Wind Through the Keyhole, and other tales need a long format to capture the complexity of Roland’s coming of age — how he became the Gunslinger, how the Man in Black became the Man in Black, and how their rivalry cost Roland everything and everyone he ever loved.
“I could not be more excited to tell this story. It feels like being given the key to a treasure chest. And oh yeah, we’ll have billy-bumblers!”
Author Stephen King said the TV series would be a total reboot, ignoring the events of the movie completely.
Speaking to Vulture in 2017, the writer said, “The TV series they’re developing now … we’ll see what happens with that. It would be like a complete reboot, so we’ll just have to see.”
Opposite Strike, playing the Man in Black, a role previously held by Matthew McConaughey, will be Jasper Pääkkönen, who has previously starred in another Amazon show Vikings, as well as Spike Lee’s 2018 film BlacKkKlansman.