One thing I never understood about cinematic adaptations of Stephen King stories is why they were mostly TV movies or mini-series instead of theatrical releases. The Langoliers, Salem’s Lot, The Tommyknockers, and The Stand, to name but a few.
Well one of King’s novels that was unjustly adapted into a TV mini-series rather than a theatrical film, was It. The mini-series has undoubtedly earned a loyal cult following (the performance of Tim Curry as the clown Pennywise is what the majority of people probably remember most), however, it always felt like a story ripe for a big-screen adaptation.
Well, it looks like that’s exactly what’s going to happen: Stephen King’s It is making it’s way to the big-screen. Warner Bros. will be behind the film, with Vertigo’s Ray Lee and Doug Davison producing alongside Dan Lin. The Invasion writer Dave Kajganich has been pegged by WB to adapt the book for the big-screen. No director has been pegged as of yet, although I’d like to throw Frank Darabont’s name into the ring – he has proven himself successful at adapting other King works like The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist. He’d be perfect for It.
For those of you not privileged enough to be fans of Stephen King, here is the story outline for It:
“It” centers on seven children in a small Maine town who confront the source of a series of murders in 1958 and again in 1985, when the cycle begins again.
The stories of Stephen King have been prolifically adapted for the screen over the years, but more often than not, the adaptations don’t compare to the books. The Shawshank Redemption is about the only one out of the bunch that most people agree is “better than the book,” but even then that was originally a short story and not a full novel, so depending on how you look at it, you could reasonably argue that it doesn’t count.
If they were to take a previously incarnated King story and do it properly on the big-screen then I’d like that they go down The Langoliers route. With an adequate budget and the right creative team behind it, I think that could be a fantastic sci-fi film.
However in general it’s great to hear they are attempting a King story once again (it’ll never get old, no matter how many times they may mess up), and I think most would agree that It is a damn scary bit of source material for a film. The big question is whether or not the filmmakers will once again have It appear as the maniacal clown Pennywise (and if so will Tim Curry play him again?), or will they go down a different route. After all, if you remember correctly, in the original story It was an entity that could manifest itself in the form of someone’s deepest fear–in the case of the seven children that the story centered on, that fear happened to be an evil clown. A new take on the story could possibly result in a new take on how It manifests itself.
I also wonder how they are going to boil this 1100+ page book into a couple of hours of movie. As is always necessary with literary adaptations they will have to cut out a lot of stuff, but the challenge for the filmmakers is choosing which parts to cut and which to keep in. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how they fare at it.
However, Hollywood, I’m begging you now – please don’t turn this into a generic horror/thriller or even worse: another torture-porn movie. IMO, Stephen King deserves better than that.
Are you happy that they are bringing Stephen King’s It to the big-screen? Or is it fine as in the form of the ’90s mini-series?