There Goes Our Chance for a Good ‘IT’ Remake


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Pre-production for New Line’s planned remake of Stephen King’s IT has had not been without its share of hiccups.  Originally conceived by Warner Bros. before being picked up by New Line, director Cary Fukunaga jumped on board in 2012, using a script he had co-written with Chase Palmer.  After millions of dollars had already been spent, however, New Line and Fukunaga parted ways, citing concerns with the budget as well as creative differences.  The explanation provided by New Line was very vague, and it wasn’t clear whether the remake would be happening at all.

Now, straight from the horse’s mouth, we’ve learned more about why the plans for the IT remake fell apart, and it spells bad news for the upcoming flick.  Cary Fukunaga has weighed in with an interview at Variety, and he has clarified that his leaving had nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with maintaining the quality of the film.  From the interview:

"“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.”"

There you have it.  Basically, what this means is that New Line preferred to deny Fukunaga a chance to take Stephen King’s IT and do something special and unique with it, instead insisting to micro-manage every fine detail of the script.  Their emphasis on making a new script that was more “inoffensive” also implies that they might be looking for a PG-13 rating to make the film more accessible to a larger audience.

However, Fukunaga is completely right.  What made the original IT so powerful was how deeply-rooted in psychology the story was.  It simply just won’t work as well as a “conventional” popcorn scary movie, but that’s the direction those in charge wish to take it.

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Sure, Cary Fukunaga isn’t a horror director, but he did win an Emmy for his work on HBO’s True Detective.  It doesn’t make much sense why he couldn’t be trusted to be left to his own devices, being the man behind one of the most critically-acclaimed television shows in recent years.  Fukunaga wasn’t looking to make a typical, run-of-the-mill scary movie, but just wanted to make a simply amazing film using a Stephen King story— just like Stanley Kubrick did with The Shining.

New Line is moving forward with the project and is looking to officially hire a new director.  On top of that, they also want a completely new script, but for Fukunaga, that’s a good thing.  “Our biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardize it,” the director stated.  “So I’m actually thankful that they are going to rewrite the script.”

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