Last year’s It was a phenomenal horror film and director Andy Muschietti’s superb handling of the source material made it one of the best Stephen King adaptations to ever grace the screen. However, the process leading up to the production of this film is quite tumultuous with plans of the film being developed as early as nearly a decade ago. The film could have been entirely different, perhaps even released earlier as True Detective and Beasts of No Nation director was initially supposed to helm the project.
So, an It adaptation was planned way back in 2009 with Cary Fukunaga hopping on board to take on the project in 2012. At the time, Fukunaga had Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre under his belt as directorial credits, which were good films. However, Fukunaga parted ways with the project in 2015 citing creative differences with New Line Cinema. Fukunaga still maintained writing credits but his departure set the film back significantly.
In an interview with GQ for his latest miniseries Maniac starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, Fukunaga discussed what happened with It. It seems (no pun intended) like Fukunaga himself is a little confused with the whole thing himself and it seemed like the studio might have been a little afraid of him (sorta). He said:
“I think it was fear on their part, that they couldn’t control me… they thought they couldn’t control me. I would have been a total collaborator. That was the kind of ridiculous part. It was just more a perception. I have never seen a note and been like, Fuck you guys. No way. It’s always been a conversation.”
Wow New Line! He’s not some demonic entity like Pennywise. It does sound like New Line was fairly paranoid about what Fukunaga would do and if he would go rogue and I don’t know… make a better film. It seems that even Fukunaga seemed a little ticked off by the notion of being “uncompromising” alluding to his time in Beasts of No Nation. He said:
“I don’t think I’ve ever been able to make something uncompromising. Like, someone commented on Beasts…’Oh, how did it feel to make a movie that’s uncompromising?’ Like, uncompromising? I had to rewrite my entire third act ’cause we didn’t have the money to finish the film. We compromise all over the place.”
Well in the end, It was a fantastic horror film and one of the year’s best films. Maybe Fukunaga would have made it Best Picture worthy but we’ll never know. In the meantime, Muschietti would likely be able to deliver a great sequel with It: Chapter Two and Fukunaga’s Maniac looks great so we might as well enjoy both their efforts.