IT Chapter Two writer Gary Dauberman discussed the many challenges of adapting Stephen King. With decades of experience to his name and a reputation as one of the most successful and prolific horror/suspense fiction writers working, Stephen King’s books have been adapted over the years into a lengthy list of films.
Beginning with Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Carrie in 1976, King’s novels have undergone the transformation from book to screen just under 50 times, with IT Chapter Two, the latest adaptation of King’s 1986 novel, IT, arriving in theaters this fall. IT Chapter Two takes a 27 year time jump from 2017’s IT, allowing audiences to catch up with the full grown adults who made up the adolescent protagonists of that film. It’s the final effort in a series that some might argue deserved more than two films, given the immense degree of content that the original novel offers. Adapting that content is no easy task, though, as IT Chapter Two’s writer, Gary Dauberman, has gone from being part of a team of writers on the first film to being the sole writer on the second.
Being the only writer on a project as all encompassing as IT Chapter Two is no small task, and CinemaBlend was recently able to chat with Dauberman about exactly that. Describing the reality of not being able to fit every great moment from the novel into the script, Dauberman spoke about how he strove to preserve as much of IT’s spirit, as well as the immense challenge of getting an adaptation of a novel as iconic as IT just right. Said Dauberman:
"There's a lot of challenging things, but it really is an editing process of like...you know you're not going to get all the f***ing great scenes in there. You know, they always say you have to kill your darlings. But it's like, [they're] not. They are my darlings, but I'm such a fan of the books and the scenes, and so it's a challenge to sort of decide, 'Okay, well, I really like this, but I love that. Is there a way to get the two ideas in there and maybe put it somewhere else?' It's one of those things where I tried to preserve as much as I can of the book, in the spirit of the book, and why it works."
He then added:
"I mean, there's books out there that have great concepts, but they're not executed so well. So you're like, 'Well, I like the concept, but I'll kind of just run with it.' Or it's got a good first half, but the second half is not great, so you can depart from it. But these are not those, right? They work so well. There's a reason they've been around as long as they have been. So you're just working very hard to preserve as much as you can of it and give it the respect it deserves."
Dauberman will also be adapting King’s Salem Lot, a 1975 vampire story that has failed over the years to reach the big screen. If done well, the new film could help to regenerate interest in the vampire genre, which has gone through its fare share of stages over the course of the last few decades.
It’s great to see that King’s work is in the hands of a writer who clearly cares for the material and has already found success with it. Going from one King project to the next is not a particularly common characteristic for screenwriters adapting King’s work, so it’s obvious that Dauberman has managed to handle the job well. With IT Chapter Two reportedly offering a scene that was controversial enough to be cut from the 1990 miniseries, Dauberman is treading some new ground with classic horror material.
- IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019