Abbey Lee, the striking blonde best known as one of Immortan Joe’s “wives” (I use that term loosely) in Mad Max: Fury Road, has won a big role in the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower. This will be the fifth film role for the Australian model-turned-actress; Fury Road was her big-screen debut.
According to Deadline, who released the news, Lee will play a character named Tirana, although that seems to be of some debate among fans. Tirana doesn’t appear until late in the series, in the seventh book, and her role is so minor some hardly consider her a character at all. It’s an interesting development since bringing Tirana so far forward will call for some major story-bending, and because they haven’t announced who’s playing the female lead, Susannah. While it’s possible they’re going to mash-up the two characters, this casting choice would be odd, as Susannah is black in the books.
But this film has already crossed racial lines, casting Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, the gunslinger who anchors the story. While Deschain is portrayed as white in King’s version, many consider Elba to be the perfect choice for the role, and it’s possible the creative team is going to turn convention on its head to make the story they want. The only other role cast so far is the Man in Black, which will be played by Matthew McConaughey in both The Dark Tower and Warner’s planned adaptation of King’s The Stand.
Lee, born and raised in Australia, has spent the past decade wowing the fashion world as a model. In 2007 Models.com named her as their “Next Superstar,” and by 2011 she’d earned the coveted supermodel moniker from V magazine. Behind Elle Macpherson, she’s considered one of Australia’s most famous model/celebrity exports.
Though still young (she’s 28) she’s working toward a future career on-screen and her first role fit her quirky personality, which loves to sport colored hair, piercings and tattoos. Speaking to ScreenSlam about her Fury Road character, The Dag, she commented:
The term The Dag is an endearing word used for somebody who’s a little bit left-of-center, a little bit awkward. So that’s what she is and I think there’s something really other-worldly about her, she has this incredible ability to know what’s coming, she’s a very observant creature and she has that comic relief that you notice watching the film. I think that everybody reacts to trauma differently and some people use laughter as a way of coping and she really does that.
Lee appears this year with Gerard Butler and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Gods of Egypt, and opposite Keanu Reeves and Christina Hendricks in The Neon Demon.
For fans of King’s Dark Tower book series, any forward momentum on this project is welcome as it has already seen its share of stops and starts on the road to production. We covered the back-story here, but as a quick recap the film came closest to reality in 2010, when Universal developed a deal with Ron Howard attached to direct and Russell Crowe or Javier Bardem discussed to star. A tentative 2013 release date was even set, until budget concerns tanked the project.
Production company Media Rights Capital picked up the rights, bringing in Sony and Nikolaj Arcel (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) to direct. Fingers are crossed for the planned January 13, 2017 release date.
In the meantime Stephen King fans should remember to head over to Hulu and check out their new original series 11.22.63 based on King’s epic time-travel tale.