Nearly every horror fan is upset that director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) quit his new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, but now he has finally opened up about what caused him to quit, and as with the majority of these failed attempts, it appears that studio interference was the key factor.
Fukunaga told Variety:
“I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget. It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn’t care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.”
So it would seem that Fukunaga was actually trying to make something really, really special, while the studio was aiming for cheap scare tactics that just don’t work on the hardened horror fan.
He then talked about Pennywise the Clown, and also revealed some further details of his plans. What’s interesting is that it sounds like the films second part (the plan was for two parts, the first for the victims as children, the second as adults, like the TV series) was going to be the strong piece, unlike how the adult part of the TV series fell apart:
“The main difference was making Pennywise more than just the clown. After 30 years of villains that could read the emotional minds of characters and scare them, trying to find really sadistic and intelligent ways he scares children, and also the children had real lives prior to being scared. And all that character work takes time. It’s a slow build, but it’s worth it, especially by the second film. But definitely even in the first film, it pays off.”
King himself was very happy with the script:
“I mean, I’m not sure if the fans would have liked what I would had done. I was honoring King’s spirit of it, but I needed to update it. King saw an earlier draft and liked it.”
Mama director Andy Muschietti is currently in talks to direct It, with the script being rewritten.