‘True Detective’ Director Cary Fukunaga Still Adapting Stephen King’s ‘IT’

Published 8 months ago by , Updated February 12th, 2014 at 10:45 am,

stephen king it movie director True Detective Director Cary Fukunaga Still Adapting Stephen Kings IT

Stephen King properties continue to prosper on the small screen (see: Haven, Under the Dome), even as multiple film adaptations – based on the iconic pop horror/suspense novelist’s work – have started to make their way down the pipeline. Indeed, in the past few months, we’ve seen (among other developments) the Pet Sematary remake enlist a new director, Warner Bros. actively scouting for a filmmaker to helm The Stand, and the Cell movie adaptation finishing up its casting in order to begin production this year.

One King project that we haven’t reported on since 2012 is IT, a big-screen treatment of King’s hefty best-selling novel, published in 1986 and made into a famous TV mini-series four years later (starring Tim Curry as the clown monster, Pennywise, who haunted many a child of the ’90s’ dreams). Last time we tuned in, acclaimed cinematographer-turned writer/director Cary Fukunaga had just been recruited to get the ball rolling again, after the project had spent the previous few years trudging along to, essentially, a complete stop (at that time).

Producer Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) added a new hit intellectual property to his belt this past weekend when The LEGO Movie opened big at the box office, and while promoting the animated feature/toy adaptation, he provided Collider (hat tip STYD) with an update on Fukunaga’s prospective IT adaptation:

“… Cary Fukunaga is writing and directing Stephen King’s It for me, and I’m really excited for that.  So I’m hoping that’ll be his next movie after the indie he’s shooting in Africa.  So I love what he did with True Detective.  I think it’s a great sample for Stephen King’s It.  So I’m really excited about that.”

The “indie he’s shooting in Africa” in this case refers to Beasts of No Nation, Fukunaga’s adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel – about an African child soldier – that will include award-winner Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) in a key role. According to previous reports, Fukunaga is going to be collaborating on the IT script with Chase Palmer – Fukunaga’s writing partner on the developing project No Blood, No Guts, No Glory – with the intention of covering King’s (more than) 1,000 pages-long source material during the course of two feature-length films.

cary fukunaga stephen king it 570x294 True Detective Director Cary Fukunaga Still Adapting Stephen Kings IT

Cary Fukunaga, left, filming ‘Jane Eyre’

It’s not clear yet whether a two-part movie is still the plan for IT, though nowadays that’s not so much of a far-fetched idea, with young adult franchises (Harry Potter, Twilight and later this year, The Hunger Games) and recent genre tentpoles (see: The Hobbit) having popularized the practice – demonstrating just how lucrative the box office reward can be. Not only is a King property like IT arguably popular enough to justify such a move from a business perspective, artistically the story lends itself to such an adaptation – as the novel alternates between two time periods (the 1950s and 1980s), yet revolves around younger and older versions of the same characters.

HBO’s Fukunaga-directed True Detective limited series relies upon a related narrative structure, wherein extended flashbacks set during the mid-1990s are framed with scenes featuring the same lead characters in the year 2012. Moreover, the acclaimed detective drama has exposed Fukunaga’s technical mastery of pure visual storytelling to a larger audience than that which saw his arthouse releases (see: Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre), while having also illustrated his ability to weave a yarn that is both fairly atmospheric, yet at the same time character-focused and contemplative.

In other words: an IT movie by Fukunaga sounds all the more promising now, perhaps even more so if it were to be split up into two separate movies. Let us know if you agree and/or what your feelings are towards this particular Stephen King project in general, in the comments section of this article.

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We’ll keep you updated on the IT movie(s) as more information becomes available.

Source: Collider [via STYD]

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  1. I want to be excited for this, but there is no way to properly squeeze this movie into a 2-3 hour slot. IMO

    Hope they prove me wrong.

    • Considering how desensitized our society has become, I’m curious to see if Fukanaga will “??monsterize??” his version of Pennywise or will he stick closer to the original? Nowadays I’m just not sure if it’s possible to evoke the same level of pure nightmare inducing terror as the original (who was essentially just a creepy looking clown) without making him actually LOOK scarier?

      What do you guys think?

      Any examples?

      • And before anyone tries to go there, I’m obviously referring to how he looks during MOST of the film (see photo above).

        : )

        • Well in the book it changes form- WAY more than it does in the movie. Everyone sees it as something different, while it slowly morphs into the clown. And the description is far more terrifying than Tim Curry in a clown suit for the majority of the movie. I think if they still a little closer to the book, it will be awesome and mortifying.

    • Well, they’re talking about making it a 2-parter. I think they could make that work. The first movie everyone’s a kid. The 2nd movie everyone’s an adult. It could work.

      • I hope they go for a chronological narrative for the movie(s), especially if it will be a two-parter. The novel and the original TV miniseries lost a lot of suspense for the scenes with the young Loser’s Club because we already know they survive to adulthood.

        And, I just have to say it;

        Benedict Cumberbatch as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

  2. Sounds good, still haven’t seen the original or read the book so lets see if they can manage to make this and satisfy new and old fans alike.

    Also, have to mention this but Robocop debuted in the UK second with £2.4million and Dallas Buyers Club had a disappointing opening weekend in 4th with just over £1million. Mr Peabody & Sherman took the top spot on opening weekend.

    RIP Shirley Temple too.

    (Apologies if I hijacked this article’s comment section here, just wanted to get some news out for people to mull over).

  3. The only thing I like about IT was when tim curry was clownin around.

    • I think it would be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I see the “Cell” is ready to start shooting. I was really disappointed to see one of the casting choices. In the book, the two main characters are an artist/illustrator and a gay man. The gay man is not flamboyant, but he is not a macho man and his growth as a character during the book shows his increasing ability to handle the situation. I saw in casting news that the role would be filled by Samuel Jackson and that the character had been changed to a former military man. Guessing he is no longer gay. Big disappointment and much less original. Guessing King had little say in the choice.

  5. I’m getting sick and tired of all the freakin’ remakes!!!! SyFy remade “Children of the Corn”….it STUNK! Now they want to remake The Stand, and IT??? NONONONONO!!!! WHY? To add more gore to them??? They are great just the way they are!! LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!!

    • AMEN!! finally, someone see’s what I see.

    • When a movie was done right the first time I have a problem with it being remade. In the cases of The Stand and It, which both sucked, I havenoproblem with a remake whatsoever. And, no, I am not some young kid that is jaded by the crap horror movies of modern hollywood. I am old enough to have watched the stand and it when they originally aired, as wellas the original pet semetary movie…I am also glad that one is being remade aw well.

      • Why would you be ok with a movie being remade if it was done right the first time. What the hell would be the point of remaking platinum and turning it into steel

        • But…danyael just said he has a problem with well-made movies being remade and then listed a bunch of Stephen King adaption movies he didn’t like, which, in his opinion, would justify a remake. You’re arguing with someone you agree with…

    • Technically, this would be a re-adaptation of the original novel, not a straight remake of the TV miniseries. There is a lot lost from the novel that two 2 1/2 hour movies could cover that the 4-hour miniseries missed.

  6. I just finished IT last night for the first time. I don’t want a movie…. I want an HBO TV Show, god damn it!

  7. Any King adaptation will be a challenge,just because of the depth he goes into his characters. Their inner worlds are much more understood on the pages than on the screen. But, they could pull it off, if they don’t try to rush it. I agree, you can’t cram it into 2 or 3 hours, but maybe two movies/parts that are 2-3 hours long might do it. Still waiting on “The Dark Tower.” Now THAT one will take more movies than Harry Potter, or else it just won’t be worth it.

    • agreed!

  8. I read the book n watched the mini-series. The show didnt impress me. Great cast but the were TV actors. IT could b a GREAT movie with the right director n cast! I support splitting it up into two 3 hour movies. That’s the only way they could do Stephen King’s book any justice! This was a GRUESOME tale of Pennywise feeding on kids with one group trying to fight him back. CAN HARDLY WAIT to see the re-make!!!

  9. I read the It straight through in a day and a half when I was in high school, and it scared the bejeezus out of me, so I was really disappointed in the 80s movie. I know, I know… it *was* the 80s, and made-for-tv. I think that, in the past, a huge chunk of the movies made from King’s books haven’t translated all that well, while the minority of them have felt true to me. I don’t know if it is the people producing/directing or what Hollywood thinks will sell, but it seems like a lot of the movies missed the mark. Even Misery, which was one of the better movies, missed some opportunities to explore Paul’s internal/mental dialogues because there was so much rich material there. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I am totally excited about the possibility for a new It. I love what Fukunaga is doing with True Detective so far. And I guess I’d rather have them split the movie into two (and do it well) than to leave the (reading) audience disappointed.

    • The IT mini-series debuted in 1990…

  10. I would be SUPER EXCITED!!

  11. The original IT continues to be my favorite movie, and the book was absolutely phenomenal. I can only hope that they include more of the monsters it shifts into. The mini-series only included the werewolf, the mummy, the spider, and then of course Pennywise the Clown. But there are so many other things it becomes! I look forward to seeing just how creative Fukunaga gets with this. And I eagerly await any more updates to where this stands and when I can finally see this movie(s)!!

  12. theres no doubt that any horror enthusiste isnt excited for a movie adaptation of stephen kings it. i for one will be on the edge of my seat in antisipation, and likewise for the movie!

  13. Hell ya…my fav book by mr king…however not a big fan of most of his movies…the mini mivie of IT fell short…hopefully new movei rocks.btw just had a dream last night about a remaje for CHRISTINE…hiw wierd is that!!!

  14. IT will be great, but in all honesty I just want to see The Stand already… Hopefully with less Sixteen Candles this time…

  15. They should definitely make it a two movie event. But please shoot them back to back so we don’t have to wait long for the second installment lol

  16. Why do they keep taking pefectly good movies and decide to remake them?I love IT just the way it is-of course there was a lot in the book that the movie didn’t cover,but that’s just the way things work.Are they just completely out of new ideas that they must remake the same movie over and over?They should just remake the movies that sucked.I thought Needful things could be better or The Stand.Tim Curry as an evil clown, you can’t get better than that-John Ritter,Jonathan Brandis(RIP),the cast was incredible.It’s like the director’s don’t care anymore-they just know that whether it’s a piece of poo or not,Stephen King fans will come to see it…money,money,money,money….money(sing that part)

    • alot was left out because it was a tv movie. so much more can be brought to the table with a theatrical release, personally i love this idea. maybe now we can get all the things that 1990 tv censors wouldn’t allow.

  17. Although I’d love to see Fukunaga directing It (especially after True Detective) I’m not going to let myself get excited until cameras are rolling.
    Along with The Stand and The Dark Tower we always hear and read that they are finally going to happen only to have the projects end up going nowhere.
    I’ll keep my fingers crossed though.

  18. I think that’s a good idea to do a two part movie not only that but I am a huge fan of Steven kings movies and loved the original movie it :)

  19. Bozo’s evil twin???!!!

  20. Although I think it would be great to see it remade, I just don’t think it will be at the same level as the original. The original just had soo much detail into every character that in order for it to be done properly they would need to seperate it into 2 parts and I just don’t see them doing that.

  21. It’s calling out for a remake, I’ve been saying it for years! But they have to keep Tim curry as pennywise! Not sure whether this would be possible as he was in pretty poor health at one point….

  22. I think IT needs to be redone. Seriously guys, I know the original adaptation is a CLASSIC and Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise is unbeatable! But this movie is a huge classic mainly because audiences who DID NOT read the book made it a “classic”. I’m sure, and I hope, that anyone who has read IT knows the original mini series adaptation is NOTHING compared to the novel. NOTHING. And much less now that audiences are used to having seen everything on screen. I especially think the interpretations of the adult actors in the original IT was DISASTROUS. Also the casting was terrible. Adult bill was BOLD and in the movie we see a man with a PONY TAIL THE SIZE OF HIS ARMS! Bev was a beautiful young girl, she looks so DUMB in the movie. Really, that mini series is overrated (except for Curry’s interpretation. That is flawless.). IT does need a PROPER remake: I agree, PLEASE NO GORE! But let’s face it, King’s book is very very descriptive. The movie NEEDS better special effects. I think the wolf and the “i wanna suck you for a penny” guys of the novel are so much more than anything that original series showed to us. I just hopehe finally does this novel justice.

  23. Speaking of Stephen King…

    has anyone here read Under the Dome or watched the show?

    Its a pretty decent show. It deviated a bit from the book though. Although I’ve only read like the first 75 pages. The book is a monster read!

    • I started watching the show, but just kinda fell off. No real reason, it wasn’t bad, just had other stuff going on.
      I have read the book and enjoyed it very much. Actually I have read almost all of King’s work. Which is something that can be a detriment when watching movies based on them because they always feel somewhat lacking.
      if you ever get he chance, read “The Running Man”, it is light years better than that ridiculous movie.

      • Yeah I saw Running Man when I was a kid. My dad really got me into Sci-fi, comics, etc. He has said that the book is really good too!

  24. As a child of the 90s who was utterly horrified of the mini-series, the book in my mothers room, and now an adult who has read the novel twice, please make this movie happen. I need the horror to continue with my family! And be as true to book as possible! The mini-series did no justice to the book. :)

  25. I was watching the original last week and realizing again how terrible it was. Tim curry wasn’t bad as Pennywise, but they skipped out on soooo much story line. And it was a brutal book- not the best choice for a TV adaptation. I can only hope this version will be more inclusive of all the stuff that happens, and will not hold back on the violence or vulgarity.

  26. Speaking of remakes/reboots/etc…

    Growing up a sci-fi nerd… 2 of my favorite shows when I was little were Quantum Leap and X-Files.

    I’ve heard the cast and crew want to do another X-Files movie to close things up properly and bring it back to its roots. Anyone hear of news about it?

    Also, Quantum Leap, very nostalgic show for me! I wonder if they could do a remake of that show. I guess some people might say they kinda did with a little show called Journey Man that was short lived like 6 years ago or so. Just a thought

  27. I can only hope that this will follow the book for the most part (there are some scenes that obviously wouldn’t and shouldn’t be adapted to film) but I have to say Tim Curry did an amazing job as Pennywise and i’m sure if monstered up with some make up he could pull off the same amazing acting job as he did last time only hopefully much scarier.

  28. Guys….doing a movie theater adaptation of IT is not a “remake.” A “remake” is when you take, say, Spartacus, which was conceived and written for the silver screen, and then re-doing it. Making a movie out of a book a second time is not a “re-make,” it’s another adaptation. How many adaptations have there been of Dracula, The Three Musketeers, etc? Those aren’t “re-makes” of other movies, they are different artistic film adaptations of a single book that was written as a book to be a book.

    The first film adaptation of IT was the made-for-TV film in the early 90′s, which was incredibly tame considering the source material, but still managed to be effectively creepy and had great performances. But doing a NEW adaptation in a NEW format for a movie-theater audience will allow for even greater depth and vision of the source material.

    So all of this complaining about “no need for a re-make” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

  29. Also, I want to say that what made IT scary in the first place was not the fact that it was merely another creepy clown – but it was what the clown represented: Pure, All-Knowing, Near Omnipotent Evil. The kind that watches you in the shadows and appears whenever it wants, to toy with you and eventually consume you.

    Creepy clowns are a dime a dozen and frankly, not terribly scary, just a little disturbing. But IT? That’s more than a creepy clown. It’s a masquerade of evil.