Alright, I'm a newbie. This is my first post, so if someone has suggested this already--my bad.
I have the perfect Roland. I read on here that someone suggested Viggo Mortinsen, and I have to say that was my first choice as well until I had this surprising revelation that sent me rushing to join this site. Viggo nails most of the traits for Roland except for one small problem (pun intended). He's 5' 11''. Not a minor detail I think. Roland has to be tall. This detail is such a fundamental aspect of Roland's physicality it can't be overlooked, and would never be forgiven by readers or movie goers alike. When this movie gets made and we see the first dark silhouetted image of Roland walking through the dessert, with heat waves shimmering across his image, we want that guy to be over six feet (sorry Tom Cruise).
Mr. King's stated choice all along has been Clint Eastwood measuring in at a solid 6' 2". Now that's a Roland height I think we can all get behind, or under as it were. Clint Eastwood pretty much is Roland, and I'm thinking we were reading a different book if you can't get on board with that one. Unfortunately, he's currently 83 God bless him, and unless you're a person who likes watching old people break their hip every 5 minutes (you'd be surprised), he's not up to the physical challenges of this role.
Okay, enough preamble. Here it is: Daniel Day Lewis
Taa Dah! Okay, I started with the height thing first because my wife's first reaction was that he was too short. She guessed his height to be around 5' 10" actually. Guess what? He's 6' 2". Sound like anyone I've mentioned? It struck me at that point, that Daniel Day Lewis is such an accomplished character actor, it really is hard to picture what height he is. Like any of the few gifted actors in his league, like a chameleon, he literally transforms into the characters he's played making it difficult to miss a simple question of how tall is he by 4 inches.
In my opinion Daniel Day Lewis is one of the most gifted actors of our time, in fact, according to the Academy Awards, he actually is. Mr. Lewis has won 3 Academy Awards for best actor, more than any other actor in the history of cinema. His range in my opinion is limitless. He can play Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, or Daniel Plainview in There will be Blood, and literally scare the crap out of you while making your skin crawl all at the same time (similar to Gym teachers). He can play a crippled man in My Left Foot and triumphantly warm your heart to the point of crying. He can take on highly complex dynamic characters like in Lincoln (yes that was Daniel Day Lewis, some people didn't catch it right away). And if you want bad ass heroic action, I have four words for you: Last of the Mohicans.
Roland is a highly complex character in my opinion. Though on the surface he can almost appear one dimensional there is such a subtly to him, that you would need an actor like Lewis to convey these finer points in their proper quantities to successfully portray him. So many actors would go over the top, or just play him generically-gritty-mean. This is the reason Clint Eastwood was always the obvious choice because he can speak volumes just by a twitch in his face. Lewis is en par with Eastwood, if not slightly better in my opinion (apples and oranges), and like any character he has played, he would actually embody these traits, and become Roland.
Finally, getting back to the same physical category as height, Lewis actually looks a bit like Roland. He has that sharp, lean, chiseled face, and piercing deep set eyes that Roland has. At the age of 56 those features have also taken on some deep character lines, and are an easy match for Roland's weathered visage.
So there you have it. Sorry to bend your ear for so long. I kind of got on a roll. Would be interested to hear what people think. Thanks!