Cary Fukunaga talks about the "unconventional" IT that almost was

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Ah studio tampering. If it weren’t for the people bankrolling the industry, movies would be non-existent. That being said, backing a film can be risky. And when you’re rolling millions of dollars into a production, you’re going to want to see where the money is going.

IT (1)

Some studios however, want more. They want to be hands on, a decision that more often than not results in disaster. Take the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s It for example, which had Cary “True Detective” Fukunaga attached to direct. That’s a remake that had some interesting ideas, until studio meddling drove him off. And speaking to Variety, Fukunaga revealed that he had some grand designs for the remake.

“I was trying to make an unconventional horror film,” Fukunaga said.

IT (3)

It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget.

It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn’t care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script.

But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.

IT (2)

According to Fukunaga the decision to cast English actor Will Poulter as the central villain Pennywise, would have also resulted in a more layered incarnation of the character that Tim Curry made famous:

The main difference was making Pennywise more than just the clown.After 30 years of villains that could read the emotional minds of characters and scare them, trying to find really sadistic and intelligent ways he scares children, and also the children had real lives prior to being scared.

And all that character work takes time. It’s a slow build, but it’s worth it, especially by the second film. But definitely even in the first film, it pays off. It was being rejected. Every little thing was being rejected and asked for changes. Our conversations weren’t dramatic. It was just quietly acrimonious.

We didn’t want to make the same movie. We’d already spent millions on pre-production. I certainly did not want to make a movie where I was being micro-managed all the way through production, so I couldn’t be free to actually make something good for them. I never desire to screw something up. I desire to make something as good as possible.

Last Updated: September 4, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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