Idris Elba Took The Gunslinger Role In ‘The Dark Tower’ Because Of ‘Bonanza’ (Sort Of)

Now that The Dark Tower is filming (it’s actually happening, you guys), set photos we can’t post have been circulating of Idris Elba as the Gunslinger and chill college professor Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black. One photo of Elba in costume that we can share is the one above, posted to Twitter by producer Ron Howard himself. Obviously, it’s not the typical cowboy attire, because he’s not your typical cowboy, as Elba explained to Jon Favreau when the Iron Man director interviewed him for an interview in Interview Magazine published online today. (Interview.)

Besides having an excellent explanation for why this Gunslinger is a bit different, — HORN OF ELD — Elba also explained that it’s “a fantastical world” and not quite a Western, although they are taking inspiration from Sergio Leone. He’s not just a cowboy, and what they’re doing with the story, he says, “doesn’t feel like it comes from any other source. It’s not an existing group, like the Marvel films. It feels very original.” OH SNAP, Marvel director Jon Favreau. You just got flying Elba’d.

Anyway, the best part of the interview might be when Elba (who is English) talks about his cultural experience of cowboys. Namely, how watching Bonanza reruns made him want to play a cowboy someday.

FAVREAU: When I worked with Daniel Craig [Cowboys & Aliens, 2011], he said that dressing up and playing a cowboy is universal, not just an American fantasy. Is it something that was appealing to you?

ELBA: [laughs] Yeah, I mean, I used to watch Bonanza. Do you even know what that is?

FAVREAU: Yeah. I guess it took a while for our programs to get to you, because that was before my time.

ELBA: [laughs] Bonanza, man. I’ve always wanted to try the whole cowboy feel and look, so when I took this role, I was wondering, “Are we going to bring that to life in this character? Is he a real cowboy?” And the answer was no. We had to reinvent that a little bit because the world — it’s quite a fantastical world and we aren’t making a Western. But there’s definitely some characteristics from those great cowboy movies, the Sergio Leone movies and all. I was definitely drawn to it. I’ve got two smoking guns that just look incredible, and I love to pull them out whenever I can.

I was about to make a joke starting with “The man in black fled across the desert” and ending the sentence by incorporating a Bonanza reference, but then I remembered no one who would laugh at that is still among the living. So instead, I’ll just say dun dun-dun dun, dun-dun dun, dun-dun dun… DARK TOWER.

(Via Interview Magazine and Ron Howard)