Updates on the ‘Pet Sematary’ and ‘It’ Remakes

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 11th, 2014 at 5:52 am,

pet sematary it header Updates on the Pet Sematary and It Remakes

It turns out tackling two Stephen King adaptations can be as harrowing an experience as the nightmares faced by the characters in one of his novels. Screenwriter David Kajganich recently chatted with King fansite Lilja’s Library about his work on the Pet Sematary remake and the upcoming big-screen version of It.

Kajganich revealed his approach to Pet Sematary and his enthusiasm for the source material:

“I should say up front that Pet Sematary is my favorite King novel and adapting it was one of the best screenwriting experiences I’ve had, creatively speaking. In its modern way, I think it is easily the equal of anything in the literary canon by Hawthorne or Poe, so I approached the book as a piece of literature as opposed to a horror concept to be pillaged. It was a pure pleasure.”

However, an unfortunate turn of events derailed his plans:

“After I turned in my first draft, Paramount went through a top-down regime change and I was given a new executive who had creative ideas I just couldn’t stand behind. They wanted to appeal to younger audiences, so there was talk of making a teenaged Ellie the main character, and etc. It was really heartbreaking, but that’s how the process works sometimes. The studio was gracious enough to let me out of my contract and the project was dormant at the studio until very recently.”

Matthew Greenburg was later brought on board to write a new script after his work on another King adaptation, 1408. While Kajganich confirms that the Pet Sematary remake is still moving forward, he’s unclear what direction they’ve decided to take with it.

Luckily, he seems to be having a better experience with It. Apparently the big screen version of the mammoth-sized novel will bear little resemblance to the early 90s TV miniseries:

“I think the Pennywise in this adaptation is a less self-conscious of his own irony and surreality than was Tim Curry’s Pennywise. I think it will be harder to laugh at his antics since, under the permissiveness of an R rating, I was able to give him back a lot of his more upsetting moments from the novel, ones that could never be aired on network television.”

it pennywise Updates on the Pet Sematary and It Remakes

He also reveals the challenges of condensing such an expansive narrative:

I think the biggest difference is that we’re working with about two-thirds the onscreen time they had for the miniseries. That sounds dire, I know, but it doesn’t necessarily mean two-thirds the amount of story. I’m 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.”

While I’m generally opposed to remakes, Pet Sematary and It are two properties I don’t think they necessarily nailed the first time out. I’m particularly excited about the prospect of an R-rated version of It. Even though Tim Curry’s performance inspired many a nightmare when I was a kid, anyone that’s read the book knows that it’s infinitely more horrifying and disturbing than what was depicted in the miniseries. It does seem like an awful lot of ground to cover in just two hours, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they manage to deliver a solid adaptation.

How do you feel about the Pet Sematary remake and the feature film version of It? Were you satisfied with the previous adaptations or are you excited for a new take on the material?

Source: Lilja’s Library.

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  1. I just hope that with the IT remake, that they will completely change the climax. That, honestly, was the only part of the novel that lost me

  2. They need to do it by the book literatly exept it would be way to long unless they did A trilogy ( june,july,and august) like in the book

  3. An r-rated It would be freakin amazing. But whatever they decide to do, they NEED to keep Tim Curry as Pennywise ;-)

    • i totally agree I love Tim Curry. And we all know from his role as Darkness in Legend he is perfectly capeable of going a bit darker than he originally did for Pennywise.

  4. Ugh! I hope things move forward with these projects very soon! I really would love to watch an R rated big screen adaption of IT. Just after reading the novel and everything not at all mentioned in the mini series, I would love to see how it’s put together in a film of a running time of 2-2.5 hours.

  5. Ok, both of those movies scared the crap out of me when I was a kid. Like the scene where it showed the wife’s skeletor-esque sister still gives me chills, and to this day (I’m 31), I still stay away from drains because of Pennywise. But honestly, they can do SO much more with film these days, so seeing just how sinister and malevolent Pennywise is going to be with no breaks on is gonna scare me stiff, and I cant wait!!

  6. IT ruined clowns for me as a kid. Caused so many nightmares, but is still one of my favorite made for TV movies. I always wished they would bring this one to the big screen with the R rating. I read the book years ago and yes, it is waaaay more deep than the movie. It’ll be hard to put it all in a 2 hour time span, but hopefully they’ll make the best of it. I’m ready for a scary movie to come out that is actually horrifying.

  7. Paramount wanting to appeal to the youth audience.

    That explains the extreme callowness of Abrams’ NuTrek.

    But, frankly, since Star Wars Episode 1 came out, it has seemed apparent to me that the youth audience is all anyone wants to appeal to. I suppose people haven’t noticed how dumbed-down content has become in general.

    Funny, Kajganich didn’t seem to have a positive opinion of King when he taught at Miami.

  8. I love how they are finally working on a script for IT and planning to adapt the film into two feature films. I cannot wait. :)

  9. A remake of It makes me ecstatic. I loved how the miniseries went and would like to see a remake that takes more from the book. But a Pet Cemetery movie is something that should be avoided, in my opinion. The plot was never deep enough to impress. And its not a remake, if they change the people in the movie.

  10. I just hope they feature Derry as an evil entity as they will and have done with Pennywise. The town itself is a character.

  11. IT WAS HERE.

    • Um if you were truely it, you would have said that you were pennywise the dancing clown.

  12. Whatever they do I just hope they don’t ruin it by putting a lot of cgi in it.

  13. c’mon.. Pennywise has to be funny.. there really is no other way unless we want it to fail like the Nightmare On Elm Street remake.. Freddy should have had a sense of humor..not the evil serious humor, but the crazy havin fun gettin em kinda humor. Pennywise was the same.. loved the game of his role, had fun with it, exploited the whole clown role with a twist. ya lets take full advantage of the R rating, but lets not forget the signature points of the individual characters personalities. Pennywise on screen was original which gave him his place in history..lets use that and make another original, making it fit nicely with the R rating. i just dont want his film to fail me…Freddy, Pennywise, the Leprechaun, Chucky.. they were may absolute favorite horror villains. Freddy was just desecrated in that remake.. it had potential and was visually nice, but the whole feel was bland to me. Pennywise better be handled with care.. CARE!! O_O

    • KEEP TIM CURRY… OMG THAT WOULD BE PERFECT LOL.. c’mon.. i would love to see him as a clown again lol. wheres he been? havent seen him on anything in a while.

    • I agree w your point about Freddy’s sense of humor, but dont put pennywise in the same boat at all. The tim curry role in the miniseries was like you said, a twisted kind of humor, but thats not really how it was in the book. With this remake well get a chance to see how depraved this entire story is in two installments of pure hell, and I’d be disappointed if they just tried to redo tim currys role to pay homage in some way to the miniseries. Gotta remember the miniseries wasnt the OG either. If you havent read the book, go for it, and enjoy sleeping while you still can. Doubt there will be much of it going on after the movie comes out.

    • Freddy was never supposed to have a humorous side, he was supposed to a serious, dark killer thats how Wes Craven intended him to be. Yes it made Freddy intersting but it did make it did take away a lot the intensity the 1st one had. Nightmare on Elm street: A new nightmare, was how Freddy was supposed be in all of the movies. Now for It I think giving Pennywise a personality and making him funny is ok, becasue that it how he was in the book. Now I don’t understand why for it to be good it has to have a R rating?

  14. i feel like 1/5 of the IT miniseries was taken from the book and the rest was made up, although it was probably necessary because the book is…oh my gosh. read it if you’re a fan of horror. i saw the miniseries when i was 8 years old and it scared the crap out of me because, hey, i was eight. i read the book twice when i was 21 and i had nightmares both times. i pray that the remake of the movie will scare the crap out of me like the book did.

  15. Super excited about the IT remake….I just wish they would keep Tim Curry! He will always be Pennywise to me!

  16. Whatever they do with “IT”, they NEED to make sure that they don’t turn Pennywise into a “scary clown” appearance wise. The thing about Pennywise that made him so particularly frightening to me as a kid was the fact that he looked so average(By clown standards), and therefore seemed so out of place. A scene in particular was Ben’s first encounter, when you see Pennywise standing on top of the swamp/lake. Remember, you don’t need to make a clown scary, they are inherently scary.

    • I agree, Pennywise has to look like a normal clown. But knowing todays horror genre they will make him look a demom with blood driping from his mouth or something like that. Now I really hope they have Tim Curry as Pennywise again, but if they can’t get him to do it again who will be the new Pennywise. Normally I hate remakes because I feel that Hollywood is becoming lazy, but this is actually a remake I am looking foward to, mainly becasue the orignal was for TV, so as a nontv movie they will be able to do a lot more. I just really hope they don’t make it to bloody or to much gore.

  17. I’m sorry making It two hours is not going to do it any justice. I looked forward to this idea until the Guy said two hours. I smell disappointment.

    • I agree that 2 hours is to short, I love longer movies and I don’t think 2 hours is enough to make IT into a really great movie. But the problum is that most people today don’t want to sit through a movie that is longer than 2 hours. A lot of people didn’t like how long The Dark Knight Rises was and that was close to 3 hours. Now if they split the movie up into 2 parts I think that will make up for the short run time.

  18. As soon as i read this i got excited at the thought of remakes of both films. I was only about 8-9 when “it” came out and i wasn’t aloud to watch so i kept sneaking out of my room to catch a peek and at the time it made it even more scary! I think the clown scared the s*** out of me all on its own but add to it the thought of my mom catching me made it even scarier!! All through life i was not fond of clowns. And i never tried to watch “it” again until recently and as i watched all i could think was.. “I remember this being way more terrifying!” But i agree that when i look back at both movies, not though my child eyes, I believe they were not done as well as they could have been. I hope this time around they bring back that fear i felt as a kid! Can’t wait!

  19. I really enjoyed the movie it and pennywise was my nightmare besides Freddy I would hope they would make two it flicks then smash it into a 2 hr 45 min flick

  20. I have a strong feeling they are going to totally destroy IT. like Richard Fleming posted on here, since Star Wars Episode 1, Hollywood tries to aim everything at the younger audience, making everything “barney-style”. I have a feeling they will totally butcher the cast selections even some of the scenes. I hope to be proved wrong severely about this, if done properly…this remake would make for “THE” greatest horror film of all time in my book.

  21. You guys are completely miss understanding this. its not about the former movie. Read the book, i saw the movie as a kid and enjoyed it. I read the book as a kid only during the daytime. That’s the way the book is much scarier then the tv based show of it

  22. I’m thinking 2 hrs is not enough for a novel such as It.I am hoping for all of the content from the story.I particularlly hope they scare the s*** out of me.

  23. While I certainly think there’s room for improvement over the TV miniseries as a whole, the screenwriter’s apparent lack of appreciation for the performance Tim Curry turned in results in strong misgivings for me. I don’t think a deadly serious Rob Zombie-style slasher villain is going to be better than the inherent creepiness of a seemingly funny and welcoming clown that likes to joke and play with its victims first. If they try to do with CGI teeth and gore what Curry did with charisma and expressiveness, they’re going to fail badly.

  24. Please, need some more info =( is this still happening, also I disagree with the idea of Tim Curry reprising his role, he was great but I don’t want any ties to that failed attempt at IT, if they do this they need two films I think, splitting it like in the book, also they need to emphasize how alone the children become in the town as IT influences every part of Derry, there should be some very dark humor, remember ‘the loser’s club are still losing, but Stanley Uris is finally a head’ haha that is funny is a sick way.

    • Tim Curry is the only one that can play Pennywise, if was really the only reason the original IT was good. The original IT wasn’t that a total fail, was made it bad was that they didn’t really follow the book and it was made for TV. For the new IT to be great they have to have Tim Curry there really is no other actor that can play as Pennywise, also no CGI, CGI has ruined the horror genre really its ruining movies in general

      • Tim Curry is awesome, but if they are going to remake it, then why not give Tim Curry a cameo as Henry Bowers. I think Paul Giamatti could pull off Pennywise. In fact, He would be perfect.

  25. I WAS excited bout the prospect of a Pet Sematary, I’m soooo worried about making it for younger audiences!! Don’t ruin it for the love of God just keep it true to the masterpiece of the book!! No teenage Ellie!! As for IT, I loved Tim Curry so much and am not sure anyone could pull of the iconic character that he made, and I’m terrified of clowns. That being said, the fact that it’s getting an R rating makes me happy and the fact that it seems to be more true to the story is awesome! Good luck not ruining it for everyone lol

  26. The only way to do that massive book justice would be to make it a triligy june,july,august,58 pretty much like the book is broken down

  27. I love both of the books. Ive been waiting for years for the remake of pet sematary. Im so excited.

  28. I think it be kinda neet if they did a TV series on IT, But it must go along with the book and use Tim Curry. I think it be awesome 1 hour show every week but must go hand in hand with the book . Just like how they did the TV Series TAKEN and made it real long . But that is just a Idea

  29. IT aka Pennywise the Dancing Clown aka Robert Gray, most certainly had a sense of humour, and she still does, for Pennywise lives.
    The Ritual of Chud is a way to dispatch the Clown. The Ritual consists of psychically connecting to alien, and biting down upon one another’s tongue. Jokes are told in turn, and the first one to laugh is devoured by the other participant. Another fellow, named Dandelo was not unlike Pennywise.
    “He nearly killed Roland Deschain, Susannah Dean, and Oy while feeding on their laughing response to his comedy stylings. He held Patrick Danville captive in his basement and routinely fed on many of his emotions.”
    So in other words, Pennywise most certainly does have a killer sense of humor. I know because she’s entertained me.