Cary Fukunaga Talks About What Went Wrong With ‘It’

IT Pennywise

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

One of the biggest blow-ups this summer was the parting of ways between director Cary Fukunaga and New Line Cinema over the new adaptation of the Stephen King novel IT.

There were numerous sites citing creative differences, and judging from the route Fukunaga was going, it seemed like the studio wasn’t looking for the kind of movie he was looking to make.

In talking to Variety, the director opened up and talked about how he was looking at making an “unconventional horror movie” and the studio wanted something a bit more cookie-cutter:

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 director was also looking to do two films. The first would focus on the characters as kids and the second would find them as adults, coming back to face their fears thirty years later. New Line simply wanted one movie, most likely looking to curb costs and risks of lost profit (if the first one tanked, would people really go and see the second one?).

Tying into that was casting Will Poulter as Pennywise. The We’re The Millers actor was an interesting choice and it seems Fukunaga wanted to try and do something different with the antagonist in his version:

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.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know. The studio has most likely scrapped the script he and co-writer Chase Palmer put their childhood in and started fresh for new director Andy Muschietti. But Fukunaga is okay with that.

“Our biggest fear,” he says, “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.”

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