Matthew McConaughey Eyed to Star in Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ (Exclusive)

Producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer want their “EdTV” star to play a lead role in the Sony/MRC adaptation

Matthew McConaughey is being eyed to star in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s “The Dark Tower,” multiple individuals familiar with the situation have told TheWrap.

While insiders insist it’s early and neither side has committed, they admit preliminary discussions have taken place and both parties are interested in striking a deal.

Though TheWrap was initially told that McConaughey was being eyed to play gunslinger Roland Deschain, which was correct, subsequent trade reports suggest he was offered that role as well as the villainous Man in Black, and that McConaughey is leaning towards embracing his dark side. The actor is the rare A-lister without a movie franchise, but that could be about to change, regardless of what role he chooses.

Sony Pictures and MRC are co-financing the ambitious feature film, which Nikolaj Arcel will direct from a script by Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner that’s primarily based on the first book in King’s series, “The Gunslinger.”

Representative for Sony and MRC had no comment.

King’s book blends horror and fantasy to tell the tale of a gunslinger who has taken up the lifelong quest of locating The Dark Tower – which is the nexus of the universe — before evil invades and destroys the tower, ending all existence.

“The Dark Tower” has been Imagine Entertainment’s baby for many years. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins are producing for the company along with Goldsman and his Weed Road banner. Pinkner is expected to executive produce with Modi Wiczyk of MRC, which is also developing a companion TV series that’s long been part of the adaptation plans.

It’s unclear whether the TV component would require the involvement of the actor who plays Roland Deschain, or if it will follow other characters in the “Dark Tower” universe.

Of course, McConaughey is no stranger to TV, having starred in the first season of HBO’s “True Detective.” He also worked with producers Howard and Grazer on another “TV” project — “EdTV.”

Sony chief Tom Rothman has positioned “The Dark Tower” as the start of a global franchise, saying in an earlier statement that “there are few projects out there that compare with the scope, vision, complex characters and fully drawn world that Stephen King has created.”

In recent months, McConaughey has been rumored to play the villain in Josh Boone‘s upcoming adaptation of King’s “The Stand,” but that project is still in development at Warner Bros. and not as close to starting production as “The Dark Tower,” which is slated to hit theaters on Jan. 13, 2017. It’s unlikely McConaughey would star in both King adaptations, and the fact that a role in “The Stand” could be waiting for him down the line could pose a threat to his participation in “The Dark Tower.”

McConaughey, who won an Oscar for his devastating turn in “Dallas Buyers Club,” recently turned down a key role in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” and is currently prepping to host “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, though he has a relatively open schedule in 2016. He hasn’t committed to any movies filming in 2016, though McConaughey’s “Interstellar” director Christopher Nolan will be casting his next movie for release in 2017.

McConaughey just wrapped Gary Ross‘ Civil War thriller “Free State of Jones” and Stephen Gaghan‘s drama “Gold,” and is lending his voice to the animated movies “Sing” (Universal/Illumination) and “Kubo and the Two Strings” (Focus/Laika). He’s represented by CAA and attorney Kevin Morris.

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