Two weeks before he resurrected Stephen King's terrifying clown Pennywise, Cary Fukunaga stepped away from the most recent adaptation of IT that he had tirelessly written and prepared to direct. Why the sudden change of heart? Almost one year after the release of the first installment of the two part film, Fukunaga finally gives fans an answer.
Way back in 2009, there was initial talk of IT's return to the big screen and with it came a resurgent fear of clowns everywhere. The anticipated re-incarnation of the classic story, about the haunting of a group of children in Derry by a clown named Pennywise, was to be led by the director of True Detective and Beasts of No Nation. Neither of these projects were finished when Fukunaga, then known as the director of Jane Eyre, took the helm. All this aside, in May of 2015, Fukunaga parted ways with the project, alluding to creative differences with New Line Cinema. This loss set the timeline for IT back significantly, back nearly to square one.
In a recent interview with GQ for his latest project, Maniac, Fukunaga explains what happened with IT. The truth is, Fukunaga himself isn't sure why he parted ways from the film, stating, "I think it was fear on their [New Line's] part, that they couldn't control me." He goes on to explain that he hates the notion that he's an "uncompromising" filmmaker; he views himself as much more of a "collaborator". He refers to his budget cut driven re-writes on Beasts of No Nation to further distance himself from the uncompromising label.
Fukunaga retained writing credit for IT Chapter One; however, it doesn't appear that he's receiving writing credit for IT Chapter Two. It's unclear how much of a hand he had in developing the story for the sequel outside of setting it up with his script for the first installment. Set to make its debut next September, the sequel takes place 27 years after the first and boasts a star-studded cast playing adult versions of the children from the first movie. Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James McAvoy are a few of the big names headed to Derry.
Listed as the fifth most profitable film of 2017 and the highest grossing R-rated horror film of all time, IT Chapter One can be described as nothing short of a success - both critically and commercially. However, the film did receive a fair amount of criticism for turning a Stephen King novel into a conventional Hollywood blockbuster. But that's not to diminish the accomplishments and technical prowess of director Andy Muschietti, who has mastered the horror genre. However, people will always wonder what IT would've been like if Cary Fukunaga remained on board.
- IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019