Idris Elba & Matthew McConaughey Officially Join The Dark Tower

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Idris Elba & Matthew McConaughey Officially Join The Dark Tower

dark tower article

With both the main roles locked up, a big screen adaptation of King's most popular series is finally set to begin production.

It's been a twisting, turning, unforgiving road for the movie adaptation of Stephen King's The Dark Tower, but at long last, it appears that the project will finally see the light of day.

Yesterday, the master of terror himself took to Twitter to drop the huge news, writing "It's official: The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. #DarkTowerMovie" Not only that, but King also confirmed that both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey had been locked in as Roland Deschain and Randall Flagg, respectively.

Speaking with Coming Soon alongside Dark Tower director and co-writer Nikolaj Arcel, the legendary author also dropped some huge spoilers about where and when the film would take place.

"(The movie) starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning," King says. "Which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they'll get behind it, because it is the story."

"A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world," added Arcel.

Arcel went on to praise both Elba and McConaughey, saying that the latter is "an incredible actor who can do anything." When it came to the portrayal of the iconic gunslinger Roland Deschain, Arcel and Elba seem to be in agreement about how the character would be brought to life on the big screen.

"For me, it just clicked. He's such a formidable man," said Arcel. "I had to go to Idris and tell him my vision for the entire journey with Roland and the ka-tet. We discussed, who is this character? What's he about? What's his quest? What's his psychology? We tried to figure out if we saw the same guy. And we absolutely had all the same ideas and thoughts. He had a unique vision for who Roland would be."

The Dark Tower is currently set for a release on January 13, 2017. Get hype.

Source: Coming Soon

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Neat, wonder if Elba can/will do a Southern accent.

I'm very curious how they will handle Suzannah now, though.

I can't see this causing any problems, no sir not one, I myself have no opinion, because opinion is politics, and politics is an evil which has caused many a fellow to be hung while he's still young and pretty.

though please don't let Stephen King play Stephen King, please, this is my one request.

JaredJones:

"(The movie) starts in media res, in the middle of the story instead of at the beginning," King says. "Which may upset some of the fans a little bit, but they'll get behind it, because it is the story."

Basically it means "You don't like it? Well, tough titty, you are not getting anything else. So suck it up, person that spent money on all 7 books."

Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Im just not gonna watch this... Much like The Walking Dead I am just fine with the books and am just not interested in another interpretation.

""A lot of it takes place in our day, in the modern world," added Arcel."

Ohh, do not like the sound of that. I mean I know the books spent time in the "real" world but the otherworldly stuff is where the interesting bits are.

JaredJones:
Idris Elba & Matthew McConaughey Officially Join The Dark Tower

eeeeeee

I have rolling waves of goosebumps right now. Fuckin' A. I am so excited to hear what Matthew McConaughey does with Walter's famous "laugh like the dead."

Soulrender95:
though please don't let Stephen King play Stephen King, please, this is my one request.

Have they ever let him be in one of his movies that wasn't an ABC miniseries? I can't think of one. We're probably safe.

Mister K:
Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Steven King himself has gone on record as saying he doesn't care about Mr. Elba's race as long as he draws fast and protects his ka-tet. I don't think you are in a position to claim greater authority over the portrayal of the character than he is, and in any event, Roland's race was always a non-issue. They made some reference to black people in Garlan they never fucking did anything with, so it's not like Roland being a honky motherfucker matters for any reason except the weakest part of the Drawing of the Three, which can happily stand a rewrite for the movie.

Idris Elba is literally the only person on this planet who is allowed to play anyone ever anytime anyplace anyway, so I'm cool.

SirSullymore:
Neat, wonder if Elba can/will do a Southern accent.

I'm very curious how they will handle Suzannah now, though.

I am 100% sure that Elba can play this character perfectly although I think this will change the relationships underlying themes and interplay between the ka-tet drastically.

I hope they know what they're doing.

SirSullymore:
Neat, wonder if Elba can/will do a Southern accent.

I'm very curious how they will handle Suzannah now, though.

To be fair, Roland was never really 'southern.' He was styled in the vein of an old west gunslinger, but his people also always had this weird pseudo-English King Arthur sorta vibe with gunslingers as a kind of knighthood. I never would have expected Idris Elba for this role, but you know what, I think the dude has the gravitas and acting chops to pull it off. I don't mind the choice.

And the more I think about it, McConaughey as the man in black, I can dig it. I could see where his calm, mellow sort of drawl could be turned extremely creepy with the right sort of direction. McConaughey has had some pretty shit roles in the past, but I do generally think he's a better actor than a lot of people give him credit for.

I'm far more worried about adapting the story itself than I am the casting choices. I love the Dark Tower, but it's kind of a mess at points. When it's hitting on all cylinders, it's great, but when it drags and when it gets up its own ass, it becomes the mad scribblings of an insane mind. They're going to need to do some major re-writes and consolidations to get it to work on the big screen. Here's hoping though. The Dark Tower had some very cool imagery, and it'd be great to see that translated into film. Hopefully we'll at least get to see the bit where Roland kills an entire town. Literally, the entire town.

Also, no one has answered the single most important question yet. Who's gonna voice Blaine the Mono? Blaine is best train :D

MC1980:

If you would care to explain to me exactly what harm is being done to whom by condescending to permit Idris Elba to play Roland Deschain with the blessings of the person who invented Roland Deschain, then I invite you to share your perspective. Whether you choose to do so or to remain silent, however, I will thank you to drop the passive-aggressive talking about me like I'm not in the metaphorical room.

JimB:

JaredJones:
Idris Elba & Matthew McConaughey Officially Join The Dark Tower

eeeeeee

I have rolling waves of goosebumps right now. Fuckin' A. I am so excited to hear what Matthew McConaughey does with Walter's famous "laugh like the dead."

Soulrender95:
though please don't let Stephen King play Stephen King, please, this is my one request.

Have they ever let him be in one of his movies that wasn't an ABC miniseries? I can't think of one. We're probably safe.

Mister K:
Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Steven King himself has gone on record as saying he doesn't care about Mr. Elba's race as long as he draws fast and protects his ka-tet. I don't think you are in a position to claim greater authority over the portrayal of the character than he is, and in any event, Roland's race was always a non-issue. They made some reference to black people in Garlan they never fucking did anything with, so it's not like Roland being a honky motherfucker matters for any reason except the weakest part of the Drawing of the Three, which can happily stand a rewrite for the movie.

Fair enough. You probably wanted to say "Roland's race" though.

But, if Mr. King is willing to allow for such change, then he probably shouldn't have a) given permission for every piece of art to portay Roland as a white guy, b) shouldn't have written that Roland has "cold blue eyes", which black people don't naturally have and I doubt Roland is vane enough to wear eye color-changing lenses, c) written the exact dialogues you've mentioned (honky mah fah ones), and d) Said that Roland and Stephen King look alike (I didn't know King is black, guess I need to check my eyes).

You know, in order to not limit imagination of readers and not make them used to and comfortable with such an image.

P.S. JimB, I am not trying to offend you, so please don't take the following question personally. I just want to ask it. So, if Archie Goodwin said that he is fine with Luke Cage being played by a white muscular guy, would you also be fine with it?

rcs619:
And the more I think about it, McConaughey as the man in black, I can dig it. I could see where his calm, mellow sort of thing could be turned extremely creepy with the right sort of direction.

If you haven't seen Frailty, you should treat yourself, and imagine him rubbing some of that performance on Walter.

rcs619:

SirSullymore:
Neat, wonder if Elba can/will do a Southern accent.

I'm very curious how they will handle Suzannah now, though.

To be fair, Roland was never really 'southern.' He was styled in the vein of an old west gunslinger, but his people also always had this weird pseudo-English King Arthur sorta vibe with gunslingers as a kind of knighthood. I never would have expected Idris Elba for this role, but you know what, I think the dude has the gravitas and acting chops to pull it off. I don't mind the choice.

Oh I know, I've just always read him with a Clint Eastwood/Jonah Hex vibe. I have no problem with him not having a southern accent though.

rcs619:
The Dark Tower had some very cool imagery, and it'd be great to see that translated into film. Hopefully we'll at least get to see the bit where Roland kills an entire town. Literally, the entire town.

That illustration with him standing the end of a road of bodies still sticks in my head. Man what a scene, I know they said the film will start towards the middle but they have to do that.

Sounds like a plan to me. Elba is a fine actor, despite not having made the best movie choices. I wonder how many people are going to take issue since pretty much all of the art for the character has been white. The painted covers, the comics, etc.

McConaughey has significant range, so I foresee him playing the antagonist very well.

Mister K:
Fair enough. You probably wanted to say "Roland's race" though.

No. As I remember the quote, Mr. King specifically endorsed Mr. Elba's race, not Roland's. I could be misremembering--the quote is maybe a month old, and my memory does get vague--but as I recall it, he was talking about Idris Elba, the actor, not Roland Deschain, the airy light of the will o' the wisp.

Mister K:
But, if Mr. King is willing to allow for such change, then he probably shouldn't have a) given permission for every piece of art to portray Roland as a white guy, b) shouldn't have written that Roland has "cold blue eyes," which black people don't naturally have and I doubt Roland is vain enough to wear eye color-changing lenses, c) written the exact dialogues you've mentioned (honky mah fah ones), and d) said that Roland and Stephen King look alike (I didn't know King is black, guess I need to check my eyes).

I'd normally break this up into multiquotes, but I'm running out of time, so please excuse sloppy formatting and any confusion that arises from same.

A) The movie is not the books. It is also not the comics. It is not intended to be those things, and will not be those things. If you want the books and the comics, then you should probably read them instead of expecting the movie to be them.

B) First, black people can have blue eyes. Robin Thede, contributor to the Nightly Show, is half black and half German, and she has naturally blue eyes, though I notice she's been wearing brown contacts lately; I don't know why but I assume people get freaked out seeing a black woman with blue eyes. Second, I question the value of applying Earth-based understandings of dominant and recessive genes to a world in which a woman gives birth to a were-spider who has one mommy and two daddies. It sounds like a search for a no rather than a reason to accept the story being told.

C) The Drawing of the Three will require rewrites, but so will every other part of the story. Detta Walker is a character famously lampooned for being one of King's tokens (or rather all of his tokens: the token woman, the token black person, and the token person with disabilities). Trying to translate her as written to the screen strikes as being an idea as bad as trying to translate Iron Man's buck-toothed, squinty-eyed, powers-of-magic-kung-fu villain the Mandarin to screen without correcting for the fact that it's no longer 1965.

D) Black people can look like white people. Their skin just doesn't. I have no doubt that if they choose to include the metafiction angle of Stephen King as writer as character, then they will pick an actor who looks like Idris Elba, probably how they will actors who look kind of like him to play the roles of Gabrielle and...um...shit, I forget his dad's name. Was it Stephen? Was his dad Stephen Deschain? Stephen, son of Alaric, he of the red hair?

Mister K:
JimB, I am not trying to offend you, so please don't take the following question personally. I just want to ask it. So, if Archie Goodwin said that he is fine with Luke Cage being played by a white muscular guy, would you also be fine with it?

No problem, Mister K. I'm kind of a dick by default, but I'm really trying to tone that down, so I apologize if I seem snippy with someone like you who's pretty obviously just asking a question.

In answer, I would say: No, because I think trying to make a one-for-one comparison only works if you ignore context. Hollywood has decades of history of marginalizing black actors and of changing characters to be white. The comparison strikes me as saying that because BET exists, we need a WET channel to balance it out, which only makes sense if you ignore how few black people and characters appear on TV and how BET was created to try to correct a failure to give black people representation in the world (now, if you want to argue BET is a horrible channel that represents no one as anyone they should want to be represented as, well, that's a conversation we can have later). And I know saying this will inevitably trip someone's trigger about restitution and taking jobs from hard-working white actors and whatnot even though I said no such thing, but it's not about punishing anyone. It's about acknowledging that a prejudice exists and trying to correct for it.

I'd also argue that if Luke Cage is white, then Iron Fist needs to be black to keep the dynamic of their friendship/partnership. Luke Cage as an impoverished white dude living in the ghetto and Iron Fist as a hyper-rich, sybaritic black leader of corporations could be fun to watch. Who knows?

JimB:
SNIP

Here is the thing, my answer is also "no", but not because I think that balancing of "washings" is required or not. I just wouldn't like if cool black dude, who was my favourite in the New Avengers comics I could actually get was changed. I am a firm believer in that is better to create more cool new characters than change those that exist.

No, seriously, about mr. Cage. Guy gets tackled by 12 or something ninjas. He grabs them all and jumps off the skyscrapper. Then, after a few panels, he calmly get back to the roof in an elevator and continues to wreck shit. AAND later, after dealing with all those ninjas from Electras clan, he comes to Electra herself, says "thats for hurting Matt Murdock" and delivers a kick so damn brutal that even Wolverine had an "O" face. Also, in one of the older issues I've seen, he storms Doctor Dooms castle to demand a payment for the job ("Where is my money, honey?). How damn cool is that?!

Back on topic of Roland. I don't like Idis Elba playing him for the same reason I wouldn't like Luke Cage changed: because I don't like when characters looks are changed, although they already have been imprinted into our memories for YEARS. I like Idris Elba and if Roland was black for 30 years I wouldn't have cared. But in this situation? Not really.

P.S.Wait a second, here is a thought: what if everyone (King included) knew that nobody can make a good Dark Tower movie, so they decided to create a race-based controversy in order to get free PR? Geez, I feel bad for mr. Elba in that case.

I"m not sure how they're going to handle the thing with Susanna now. I mean, Roland being white was a key part of the early conflict with her and her other personality.

But even without that, I don't see this working. The Dark Tower books are huge, layered and, towards the middle, pretty damn convoluted. I don't see how you could really make a good adaptation of these books with the limitations of the film medium.

Mister K:

P.S.Wait a second, here is a thought: what if everyone (King included) knew that nobody can make a good Dark Tower movie, so they decided to create a race-based controversy in order to get free PR? Geez, I feel bad for mr. Elba in that case.

I would counter with... what if it isn't a cynical grab at controversy? What if they just liked the idea of Elba playing Roland? What if he was the best choice out of the actors that were willing to give the role a shot?

The Dark Tower series has been finished for what, fifteen years now? I know if I were in any way involved with the production of a movie based on a fifteen year-old book of mine, I'd probably want to make some changes. Change up some characters, streamline some events. You're already going to have to do that to one degree or another as a natural part of the transition.

Definitely interested to see what they do with Odetta/Detta/Susannah though. The whole thing with Detta was easily one of the weakest parts of the series, and I can't see any way to translate it to screen that wouldn't be unbearably cringe-worthy. That whole character is gonna need some major changes.

Speaking of making changes, maybe they can actually do *something* with Mordred this time. I have never seen a character get so much hype but do so little. He was supposed to be some kind of crazy, psychic demigod and he basically got beaten by a bad case of food-poisoning and an oversized ferret. His whole story was basically a non-issue the way it played out. He came in, killed an established baddie to show how "badass" he was, and then proceeded to do fuck-all until he got beaten at the very end.

But yeah, we'll just have to see! It's going to be a difficult adaptation, but here's hoping. Adapting "The Mist" from a short-story to a movie improved it in every way possible (to the point where King said he actually thought the movie ending was better than what he'd originally written). Maybe that luck can continue.

Fuck are they making all 7 books into one film? That's a complete 180 to the general trend that movies are going in nowadays.

I'd cast Idris Elba as literally any character and he'd be great. He could probably make a pretty

Mister K:

Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Is this idea new to you? Did you miss F4nt4stic 4 and the Thor films casting?

K12:

Mister K:

Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Why wouldn't it be?

There are many people who are of the opinion that taking issue with casting a character as a different race when adapting to live action is something many are hypocrites on, as most are completly ok with it if it's a white person being turned into a minority, but not the other way around.

Personally I'm of the opinion race only matters if it's important to the character, which means I'm a little disappointed in this but only because I just know for Suzannah the solution to her issue is to turn her from a black woman who hates whites to a white woman who hates blacks, and that's something that's been so played out in Hollywood there's no angle they could go with to not make it feel stale due to how often we see it.

How are they gonna do susannah in the story then? I dont know how theyve planned to rewrite all of that but it better be impressive, else i dont know why King would have approved it. Also it better be a series of movies, theres no way to fit the whole story in one. And i guess Roland dad has to be white aswell then, and his mother, and arthur eld aswell i suppose. I really dont get why they would change his race, besides maybe trying to cash in on free PR, Idris elba is a pretty good actor but hardly worth all the changes youd have to make just to have him in.

I'm cool with this, though I was kinda hoping Micheal K. Williams would have been picked for the Man in Black, if only for the sheer Irony. "Roland's coming"

I'm find with Micheal McConaughey playing the villian though.

Let's face it, Roland's race doesn't play into much at all in the books and if the worst that happens is they have to rewrite Susannah's character a little, so be it. They're gonna have to do some rewrites regardless(God I hope they rewrite a lot of Book 7, especially the final battle at the end).

I also hope they skip "Wind Through the Keyhole", to be honest, which feels like it exists because King needed a cash influx and little else.

Zontar:

There are many people who are of the opinion that taking issue with casting a character as a different race when adapting to live action is something many are hypocrites on, as most are completly ok with it if it's a white person being turned into a minority, but not the other way around.

To be fair. White actors in Hollywood have *many* more casting opportunities than minorities, especially in genres like fantasy and science-fiction. White people can be everything from modern-day everymen, to space-captains, fantasy heroes or Egyptian gods. Minorities, they've just got less options across the board, and that's the issue a lot of people take with the whole 'whitewashing' thing.

Personally I'm of the opinion race only matters if it's important to the character, which means I'm a little disappointed in this but only because I just know for Suzannah the solution to her issue is to turn her from a black woman who hates whites to a white woman who hates blacks, and that's something that's been so played out in Hollywood there's no angle they could go with to not make it feel stale due to how often we see it.

Ehh, honestly they don't need to turn Susannah white if they keep the Detta thing. Eddie is still almost certainly going to be white, and Roland is going to be just as utterly clueless to 1960's American race-issues as he always was. Honestly, Detta would probably hate a black Roland more for helping/working with Eddie than a white Roland just for being white.

Detta was a pretty fucked up lady, afterall.

Zontar:

K12:

Mister K:

Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Why wouldn't it be?

There are many people who are of the opinion that taking issue with casting a character as a different race when adapting to live action is something many are hypocrites on, as most are completly ok with it if it's a white person being turned into a minority, but not the other way around.

Personally I'm of the opinion race only matters if it's important to the character, which means I'm a little disappointed in this but only because I just know for Suzannah the solution to her issue is to turn her from a black woman who hates whites to a white woman who hates blacks, and that's something that's been so played out in Hollywood there's no angle they could go with to not make it feel stale due to how often we see it.

Hey, don't throw me in the same room as those guys. I dislike "whitewashing" as much as I dislike black, asian, hispanic and whatever else "washings" there are. As I said to JimB, I dislike it when characters are changed from their original portrayal.

Well, I stopped caring about the books when it became a self-insertion fanfic, so Stephen King could write about his accident, in some weird, post-modern literature form of therapy. Atleast I didn't mind the ending, because I lost investment in the series by that point.

I'm still glad I've read it though, will be curious how it turns out.

Zontar:

K12:

Mister K:

Oh, and it seems that BLACKwashing is totally fine.

Why wouldn't it be?

There are many people who are of the opinion that taking issue with casting a character as a different race when adapting to live action is something many are hypocrites on, as most are completly ok with it if it's a white person being turned into a minority, but not the other way around.

Personally I'm of the opinion race only matters if it's important to the character, which means I'm a little disappointed in this but only because I just know for Suzannah the solution to her issue is to turn her from a black woman who hates whites to a white woman who hates blacks, and that's something that's been so played out in Hollywood there's no angle they could go with to not make it feel stale due to how often we see it.

It could be fun to to have a black character who's racist to a different subset of black people. It'd be nice for Hollywood to acknowledge that "black people" are actually far more diverse than all other racial groups put together (genetically anyway). Honestly I've only gotten as far as reading "Gunslinger" and kind of forgot to read the rest of them so I have no idea if this would work.

So we have Rust Cohle vs Stacker Pentecost. I can dig it.

K12:

It could be fun to to have a black character who's racist to a different subset of black people. It'd be nice for Hollywood to acknowledge that "black people" are actually far more diverse than all other racial groups put together (genetically anyway). Honestly I've only gotten as far as reading "Gunslinger" and kind of forgot to read the rest of them so I have no idea if this would work.

It would be pretty hard to pull off since she's American and in the US blacks have a similar cultural melting-pot that whites do. If she was from Africa where there's plenty of racism between different African ethnic and cultural groups it could work, but she isn't so it wouldn't really make sense.

Stephen King thinks he looks like Idris Elba? Or did he forget the rather important plot point that Roland looks like him?

Also, are they race swapping Detta too? Because not sure her unproportionate racism towards Roland makes sense now.

Will they give Idris blue 'bombardier' contacts?

Are they ignoring the painting they used for a teaser in The Mist?

Mister K:
As I said to JimB, I dislike it when characters are changed from their original portrayal.

Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about the revised version of the Gunslinger? If you're not familiar, a few scenes have been rewritten to make Roland less of a psychopath. The only one I remember off the top of my head is that the scenario is changed so shooting Allie isn't straight-up murder.

rcs619:
Speaking of making changes, maybe they can actually do something with Mordred this time. I have never seen a character get so much hype but do so little.

I wouldn't mind seeing his role given more importance either, but to be fair, Mordred was never the star of even his own story. He was just there as one more example of whom Roland is willing to kill in order to achieve his obsession.

Zontar:

K12:

It could be fun to to have a black character who's racist to a different subset of black people. It'd be nice for Hollywood to acknowledge that "black people" are actually far more diverse than all other racial groups put together (genetically anyway). Honestly I've only gotten as far as reading "Gunslinger" and kind of forgot to read the rest of them so I have no idea if this would work.

It would be pretty hard to pull off since she's American and in the US blacks have a similar cultural melting-pot that whites do. If she was from Africa where there's plenty of racism between different African ethnic and cultural groups it could work, but she isn't so it wouldn't really make sense.

I agree, probably more effort than it's worth. I'd like to see it be pulled effectively though, maybe better to wait for a different film though.

Zontar:

It would be pretty hard to pull off since she's American and in the US blacks have a similar cultural melting-pot that whites do. If she was from Africa where there's plenty of racism between different African ethnic and cultural groups it could work, but she isn't so it wouldn't really make sense.

You realize that different groups of black people in the US dislike eachother the same way different groups of white people do right? Suburbanites vs inner-city. City-folk vs rural. Rich vs Poor. Libs vs Conservatives. Yes, blacks are disproportionately concentrated within urban areas compared to whites, but that doesn't mean that they're one big group. I can assure you that a black guy from small-town Mississippi is from an entirely different culture than someone from inner-city Chicago or the suburbs of New York.

The US isn't really a perfect melting pot. It's more like a dozen smaller countries that share broad themes and ideals. Individual regional cultures (and their view on other sub-cultures within the US) vary wildly.

If you want to stick with 1960's era sorts of conflicts, well the black panthers and such had a whole different mindset than the more MLK-inspired civil rights groups. The concept of an "Uncle Tom" has been around for a while too.

Considering how wildly, irrationally racist Detta was against white people (Eddie literally described her as a caricature), I really doubt she would have anything but the worst kind of insults and disdain for a black person that was actually working with white people. So yeah, they could totally make a black Susannah/Odetta/Detta work. I still think that whole character is going to require some re-writing though.

JimB:

Mister K:
As I said to JimB, I dislike it when characters are changed from their original portrayal.

Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about the revised version of the Gunslinger? If you're not familiar, a few scenes have been rewritten to make Roland less of a psychopath. The only one I remember off the top of my head is that the scenario is changed so shooting Allie isn't straight-up murder.

I'll be honest, I can't really say because I never read the 1980's version, only the revised one (from 2000s?). In theory, I disagree with changes. On practice, I cannot give you an answer, because if I didn't read it, how can I be allowed to compare?

I won't argue with this at all. Good acting is good acting, and it can transcend a role as written in a book quite well indeed.

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