Aaron Paul for Dark Tower – Typecasting or Meta?

Well this isn’t really big news – but after all the meager The Dark Tower news in recent months (the last news was that Ron Howard did not want to let the project die), I am happy to comment on this tidbit:

Aaron Paul is in talks for the role of Eddie Dean. Eddie is a heroin addict from the New York of 1987. He is trapped in a world of drugs, broken family ties and mafia troubles when on top of all his problems comes a crazy gunslinger from another dimension and they both have to figure out why the hell they should work together.

Crazy enough to work?

What we know:
That Aaron Paul was interested is actually something that already was brough up in 2012 by Paul himself via Twitter:

Eddie Dean 2

 But now some talks are going on:

“I just had a general sit down with Ron Howard, who is a huge fan of the show (Breaking Bad, naturally),” Paul told Ain’t it Cool News at Sundance, “which is such a crazy thing to even think that Ron Howard even knows who I am. They’re definitely planning on making it.”

While Paul is only halfway through reading the series, he’s aware of what a great character Dean is.

“I’m excited. Their goal is to do three films, but also have a television element to it, which will be very interesting. From what I hear, Eddie Dean is a pretty epic, iconic character.”

via IGN

Jesse Pinkman 2.0?
Aaron Paul is arguably best known for his portrayal of drug addict/dealer Jesse Pinkman in the hit-TV-series Breaking Bad. Jesse is a loveable but damaged individual. He struggles with his family and has a strange relation to the protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

So is Eddie Dean just another Jesse-like drugaddict?

As an avid fan of The Dark Tower watching Breaking Bad always reminded me of Eddie mostly because of Paul’s portrayal. He is just such a loveable guy despite all the horrible things he does. He gives the character of Jesse the feel of a guy desperately trying to be nice but not really succeeding.

But where Jesse spiraled down into even deeper levels of desperation and a more horrible life, Eddie’s story is much more a story of overcoming the pains. Just like the entire Dark Tower story is about damaged individuals trying to leave their shadow behind – really, even if the synopsis for the series doesn’t sound so positive it is actually a quite inspiring story.

So in my mind Eddie Dean while sharing similar traits with Jesse really is his own character and offers enough room for Paul. And just from a marketing perspective: this movie needs as much credentials and goodwill as it can get and hiring an award winning actor from a fantastic series is hardly the problem when you consider that Akiva Goldsman (Batman and Robin, Angels and Demons) is still behind the screenplay.

Eddie Dean 1

Dark Tower’s meta nature
But even if one were to say that Eddie and Jesse are so similar that it would be borderline typecasting, The Dark Tower is a story about stories. It starts out as a Western, turns into a drug movie with timetravel elements, mixes in Horror, King Arthur and countless other stories that one loses track – and still manages to make sense… somehow.

Because of the multiple realities in the series stories turn out to be much more important than we might have thought. What is a fable for us might be harsh reality in another world and maybe there is an alternative universe where the human race has been killed by a virus – yet in our “world” it is just a harmless novel written by Stephen King.

There are many instances of characters drawing parallels between the story and other stories. Roland Deschain – the protagonist – frequently gets compared to Clint Eastwood. Yet there is even a story of a policeofficer who faces off with Roland only to die of a heartattack in the cinema years later when a character reminds him of Roland. The name of the movie was The Terminator.

So here we have a lot of the meta-storytelling and comparisons within the story. Casting an actor from a show where he portrayed a similar character actually enhances the meta-storytelling. Maybe Breaking Bad is just another iteration of the The Dark Tower? Maybe Breaking Bad is how Eddie Dean’s storyline would have continued had Roland not interfered?

This might sound crazy but at the end of Stephen King’s series one really starts to question pretty much all the stories one has ever read. Breaking Bad would just be another one of those stories…

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