When the news was released detailing that Stephen King’s novel It was going to get a more honest and true telling than it’s cult classic counterpart, fans rejoiced over the news, and the excitement only expanded as New Line Cinemas penned True Detective director Cary Fukunaga to helm the film. Since then, the struggles to get this film flying again had been all but delayed once Fukunaga politely dropped the project for undisclosed reasons. With an interview with Variety, we were given a beam of light on what happened.
“I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. 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.”
Tell me this isn’t disappointing to hear. We have seen this over and over with projects trying to stay honest to their source material or the directors visions, an example is the recent stink pile that is Fantastic Four, and how Josh Trank more or less disowns the project entirely. Whatever it is about the dictatorship mentality of these studios it is tarnishing the opportunities of quality films. The old adage is that film is a business at the end of the day and that’s fair, but good films tend to make for good business, right?
It’s a shame we won’t get to ever view Fukunaga’s vision of the murderous clown Pennywise, but it brings up some clarity of how much power these studios should have when hampering unique properties like this. If they were looking the sellout horror that Fukunaga later describes, why get a director of his caliber to helm the project? Just a thought.