'It': Stephen King Film Adaptation Loses Director Cary Fukunaga

It Stephen King adaptation loses director Cary Fukunaga

True Detective season one director Cary Fukunaga has been attached to a big screen take on Stephen King's It novel for a few years now. The project appeared to be picking up steam in recent weeks, as it lined up Will Poulter (We're the Millers) to play monstrous Pennywise the Clown in what would've been a two-part film adaptation, with Part 1 set to begin production by Summer 2015.

However, it seems the project has hit a roadblock - one large enough to have forced It to head back to square one. Fukunaga is reported to have left the project, after failing to see eye to eye with New Line on a number of issues; current outlook among insiders is that the King adaptation (in its current form) is on indefinite hold at best, dead in the water at worst, for the time being.

Fukunaga's It (which recently moved from Warner Bros. to New Line) would've divided King's narrative into two parts: each revolving around the same group of characters, as children and adults thirty years older (respectively), and each film dealing with their ongoing attempts to kill the mysterious creature haunting them (a.k.a. Pennywise). King had publicly expressed support for Fukunaga's adaptation of the author's source book, as based on a script co-penned by Fukunaga and his writing partner Chase Palmer.

However, according to The Wrap, problems began to crop up following the It adaptation's change of studio backers. Here are some reasons cited in the source article, regarding the differences that led to Fukunaga departing the project:

  • Fukunaga was hoping to shoot the It movie(s) in New York, while New Line preferred a less costly filming location.
  • New Line was (and remains) more interested in a single movie It adaptation, and was worried that the first installment (featuring kid actors) wouldn't sell well to adult moviegoers.
  •  The (arguably) outside the box casting of Poulter as Pennywise, which may've further contributed to the project being regarded by New Line as a "gamble."

Cary Fukunaga no longer adapting Stephen King's It
Cary Fukunaga has stepped down as director on 'It'

Truth be told, certain fans of King's source novel had voiced concern about Fukunaga's approach with his It movies. That includes his plan to break up the book's timelines into two separate movies (whereas King's It novel and the famous 1990 mini-series adaptation jump back and forth between the past and present), in addition to Fukunaga's indication that the original settings (the 1950s and 1980s) would be updated to, respectively, the 1980s and 2010s, respectively.

At the same time, a lot of fans were definitely anticipating an It adaptation with an eery visual style, haunting atmosphere, and psychological complexity resembling Fukunaga's past efforts on HBO's True Detective (as well as his work on films like Jane Eyre (2011)). It's for those reasons that many will no doubt be disappointed by the latest development concerning this specific King adaptation.

... All the more so because it sound as though Fukunaga and Palmer's script work is either going to be abandoned or heavily revised, when/if the project starts moving forward again. We'll let you know what happens, once more information becomes available.

In the meantime, consider It on indefinite hold until further notice (see below for case in point):

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