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Cary Fukunaga discusses his departure from the It adaptation

09.03.2015by: Cody Hamman

Earlier this year came the disappointing news that TRUE DETECTIVE director Cary Fukunaga had dropped out of New Line Cinema's two part adaptation of the Stephen King epic IT after three years of developing the project and writing the screenplay with Chase Palmer. A production start date was nearing, casting had begun, Will Poulter was set to play the evil clown Pennywise, and then it all fell apart over creative differences.

Initial reports said that Fukunaga and New Line were clashing over the budget, and until now Fukunaga had only said that he and the studio "wanted to make different movies".

Talking to Variety, Fukunaga has now elaborated further on what made him decide to walk away from IT, and says that the budget had nothing to do with it, there was already a number set and agreed upon ($32 million). The problem was the notes he was receiving about the script.

"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.

"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.

"It was being rejected. Every little thing was being rejected and asked for changes."

New Line is now seeking a new director for the project (MAMA's Andy Muschietti was said to be in talks) and plan to start over with a fresh script. Hearing that the script is getting reworked is a relief to Fukunaga, as he and Palmer had both written their own childhood experiences into the adaptation.

...our biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardize it. So I’m actually thankful that they are going to rewrite the script. I wouldn’t want them to stealing our childhood memories and using that.

Fukunaga admits that he isn't sure that fans of the book would have liked the approach he and Palmer were taking, but says that Stephen King himself had read and liked one of their earlier drafts.

I was looking forward to the new IT adaptation when Fukunaga was involved, but after all of this my hopes are no longer high. Given Fukunaga's comments, I'm not feeling too positive about how a by-the-notes script might turn out. Regardless, at least we'll always have the 1990 mini-series to go back to.

Mini-series star Annette O'Toole

Extra Tidbit: What do you think of what Fukunaga had to say?
Source: Variety

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