Akiva Goldsmith, winner of the 2001 Best Screenplay Oscar for 'A Beautiful Mind, has been after Elba for quite some time now, and the casting is truly inspired - Elba is coming off a true Oscar snub after his performance in 'Beasts of No Nation,' and has been doing nothing but knocking roles out of the park for the last several years.
Earlier there were rumors of Roland being played by Russell Crowe or Javier Bardem, but the news of Elba is, personally speaking, better than either of those two award-winning actors. Elba is one of the most hypnotizing actors around, able to give performances as deep as they are engaging. Watch 'Luther' or 'the Wire' and tell me he won't be able to bring a haunted gravitas to a role that desperately needs it.
The character of Roland is never assigned a specific ethnicity, but it's widely-regarded that a lot of assholes will get butt hurt over this; many assumed the actor playing Roland would be Caucasian. Well, Uncle Stevie has a message for you:
To me, the color of the gunslinger doesn't matter. What I care about is how fast he can draw...and that he takes care of the ka-tet.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 12, 2015