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Screenwriter David Kajganich gives an update on Stephen King's IT

07.01.2010

Writing this article, I'm sort of terrified. The small screen adaptation of Stephen King's IT gave me nightmares for 3 months or so.

I keep flashing back to that damn Pennywise the clown under the storm drain...stop looking at me clown!

A website called Lilja's Library spoke to the new screenwriter for the big screen remake of the 1990's TV movie. Warner Bros. hired David Kajganich, who wrote 2007's THE INVASION starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig.

This is a rather lengthy interview, so I'll hit the highlights. If you want to read more head on over to the site here.

Lilja: You are also working on a remake of IT, how did that happen?

David Kajganich: When I heard Warner Bros. was going to give the novel a go theatrically, I went after the job hard. I knew the studio was committed to adapting IT as a single film, so I went back and reread the novel to see if I thought this was even possible, and to try to find a structure that would accommodate such a large number of characters in two different time periods, around 120 pages, which was another of the studioís stipulations.

Had I not worked with the producers before, I might have been more tentative about trying to pull off such a massive undertaking, but Iíd worked with Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and Doug Davison on our original version of The Invasion, and I knew they would fight for good storytelling, and would also give me the time I needed to work out a solid first draft, which they did. They really went to bat for that. Weíve done some tinkering with it and I am just about to turn that draft in to the studio, so weíll soon know a lot more.

Lilja: What will be different in your version of IT compared to the TV series?

David Kajganich: I think the biggest difference is that weíre working with about two-thirds the onscreen time they had for the miniseries. That sounds dire, I know, but it doesnít necessarily mean two-thirds the amount of story. Iím finding as many ways as I can to make certain scenes redundant by deepening and doubling others. To me, this is an interesting process because it has the effect of thematically intensifying the whole, but it can lead to dramatic surprises. Certain scenes I thought would be crucial to the coherence of the whole ended up cut, while other scenes, which were somewhat cursory in the book, ended up being pivotal in the script.

I know Iím being vague, but thereís not a lot I can tell you at this point about the specifics, since weíre still very much in development on it. Iíll just say for now that weíre really swinging for the fences.

Lilja: I guess itís pretty hard to translate such a massive book to a movie.

David Kajganich: Itís been an enormous challenge, yes, but the rewards for me as a writer have been just as big. Iíve looked at every word of the book many times and Iíve spent months working with the text, uncovering all of the connections and nuances. In a way, itís like taking a look inside Stephen Kingís head, which is fascinating. Needless to say, Iíve learned a lot about story-telling, and from a master.

But I know how collaborative the filmmaking process is, and how many cooks will soon begin coming into the kitchen, so Iím really trying to enjoy being in this world more or less alone for the moment.

Just to soothe your worries, the film will be rated R. Obviously there's no other way to do it. They also asked Kajganich if he had any actors in mind while he was writing the script. He said that his dream choice would be Buster Keaton if he were still alive. Kajganich's Pennywise is apparently, "a less self-conscious of his own irony and surreality." Warner Bros. has made this project a top priority and plan to go big with it.

Extra Tidbit: Don't ever show your children KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE and IT back to back when they're 5. They will definitely develop coulrophobia.

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