As Michael B. Jordan and the entire cast of “Ghostbusters” can attest, people tend to react in completely rational ways when preexisting characters are race- or gender-swapped for new film adaptations. Idris Elba addresses this in an Entertainment Weekly interview about his role in next year’s Stephen King adaptation “The Dark Tower,” as his character of Roland Deschain (AKA the Gunslinger) was previously depicted as white.
Elba says that he was “thrilled to get this job. I was thrilled because, you know, it’s an alternative to what you could say, what Roland is described as…a white guy in a sense, but, also just that you could make a version of this film that appealed to a slightly more action-hero type character and I don’t do those films.”
“It’s better just to treat it like no big deal,” he adds when asked how he thinks the race-swapping approach should be addressed. “There should be no difference. The character that was written in Stephen’s imagination, it could be any color. It just happens to be me and, you know? In the artwork, it just so happens to be a white guy, but I don’t think that makes any difference…I think what’s great about it, if I want to say anything about it, is that it is a sign of the times in terms of a colorless society. People go, ‘A good actor is a good actor,’ you know?”
Asked for his thoughts on Elba’s casting, King was unequivocal: “I love it. I think he’s a terrific actor, one of the best working in the business now.”