A full 2 years have passed since the first time we listed IT as one of our most anticipated movie reboots heading our way. Cary Fukunaga is still set to direct. Fukunaga is known for his award at the Sundance Film Festival for his drama Sin Nombre as well as HBO’s True Detective, which as we know was a huge success starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey attached as stars. The big screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s IT has been in development for five years. A lot has happened in this time, so lets take a quick recap and also list the latest details…
1. Initially It was set up at Warner Bros. Since then production moved to New Line Cinema, which is another division of the studio.
2. Producer Dan Lin provided some details that will trouble as many fans as they excite. Lin does confirm that the adaptation will be two films, which feels like the proper approach for a story this rich. It’s not just a matter of dealing with the sheer story. ‘It’ is at its best when it can luxuriate in dread and history. Two films will give Fukunaga the necessary breathing room to capture the tone of King’s novel, which feels very similar to the nightmarish existentialism he conjured up for ‘True Detective.’
“The book is so epic that we couldn’t tell it all in one movie and service the characters with enough depth,” explained Lin. There’s also no mention on if the late-1950s and mid-1980s time periods will remain intact or be shifted to a more modern approach with the kids growing up in the ’80s and returning to present-day Maine. We do know that King has given the project his seal of approval.
However, here’s where you’re allowed to go “Hmmm.” It seems that the two films will eschew the structure of the book, Instead of jumping between various time periods, the first film will follow the first battle against It when the protagonists are kids and the second will pick up when they’ve grown up. This could work (we have no idea what Fukunaga’s screenplay looks like), but it feels like it’ll lose the flexibility of the novel, which used past events to comment on the future and vice versa. The 1990 miniseries adaptation of the novel got a lot of things wrong (the first mistake was adapting a story this grim for primetime television), but the story really did benefit from the flashback structure.
4. Vulture managed to score a chat with producer Dan Lin (The LEGO Movie) wherein he confirms what all Stephen King fans have been hoping, that a big budget feature film based on the author’s 1986 novel IT will begin production mid 2015 with Cary Fukunaga still at the helm.
“The idea is to start official prep in March for a summer shoot,” said Lin. “Cary likes to develop things for a while, and we’ve been with this for about three or four years, so we’re super excited that he stayed with it. You guys are gonna be really excited.”
“The most important thing is that Stephen King gave us his blessing,” said Lin. “We didn’t want to make this unless he felt it was the right way to go, and when we sent him the script, the response that Cary got back was, ‘Go with God, please! This is the version the studio should make.’ So that was really gratifying.”
3. Producer Seth Grahame-Smith assures us that the film is going to be quite scary and vicious—as it should be:
I think that if anything, [the new film] will bring back some of the viciousness of the book that they couldn’t do with the miniseries because it was for broadcast. I think it’s going to be very scary, but I also feel like you’ve got Cary who is going to direct these kids—and he’s incredible at casting, incredible at shooting. He’s incredible with tone and atmosphere.
This sounds great! Fukunaga wrote the screenplay for Stephen King’s IT with Chase Palmer and David Kajganich, with Lin, David Katzenberg, Doug Davison and Seth Grahame-Smith serving as producers. The book was previously adapted by Tommy Lee Wallace as a two-part, three-hour event miniseries on ABC in 1990 starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown.