Cary Fukunaga

Indie director Cary Fukunaga, who helmed the 2011 adaptation of ‘Jane Eyre’ and more recently, the acclaimed first season of ‘True Detective’, spent three years co-writing the script for and developing ‘IT’ for Warner Brothers.  After the project was handed off to New Line, however, the film literally fell apart weeks before it was slated to begin filming.  Whatever when on behind-the-scenes, Fukunaga abandoned the project he’d spent so much time and energy on.

Apparently once New Line inherited the project, the studio took issue with several vital elements, including Fukunaga’s desire to take the novel, which jumps backwards and forwards in time into two separate movies– one set entirely in the past, starring child actors and one set in the present with adults playing grownup versions of the same characters.  New Line also didn’t like Fukunaga’s casting of relative unknown Will Poulter as the nightmarish clown Pennywise, hoping for a bigger name.

Surely there were even more disagreements leading to the director washing his hands of the project and moving on.  Fukunaga now opens up about his split with New Line:

“It’s never easy.  Chase [Palmer] and I had been working on that script for probably three years. There was a lot of our childhood and our experience in it… Ultimately, we and New Line have to agree on the kind of movie we want to make, and we just wanted to make different movies. It’s like a relationship: you can try to make the other person who you want them to be, but it’s impossible really to change. You just have to work.”

Or split up, which is what happened here.

It’s unusual, but not unheard of, for a movie to fall apart at the last minute like this.  Now that Fukunaga has received acclaim for what’s really his first commercial success ‘True Detective’, it leaves fans to wonder “what if” when it comes to what he would have done with ‘IT’.  Although he planned to make some rather big changes to the book, like updating it to modern times, would his style have made for a good match for this spooky classic?

At this point, we may never know.

New Line still plans to make ‘IT’ with Andrés Muschietti (‘Mama’) at the helm.  The studio is currently seeking screenwriters, so it’s unknown if they will keep any of Fukunaga and Palmer’s work or if they plan to start from scratch.

Are you interested in seeing a new version of ‘IT’?  How would you like to see the King novel handled onscreen?

Source: Entertainment Weekly