Late last month, we brought you the news that, in the name of staying within budget, director Andy Muschietti was forced to nix two scenes from It, the imminent big-screen rendition of Stephen King’s timeless horror classic.
It’s part and parcel of the adaptation process, and the fact that New Line’s book-to-screen translation endured a meandering journey to release – former True Detective helmer Cary Fukunaga was once poised to summon Pennywise to cinema, before ultimately walking away due to creative differences – only emphasizes how these visions tend to ebb and flow over time.
That’s something Andy Muschietti addressed while chatting to Collider. Two weeks out from release, the Mama filmmaker presented a thorough overview of Pennywise – for the record, Bill Skarsgård’s demon has been dubbed “animalistic and instinctive” – those tentative sequel plans, and what it was like to split the King classic in two.
Well it appealed to me because I always thought that the kids’ storyline was more interesting than the adults, but I also appreciate the fact that there is a dialogue between the two timelines, and that’s where… I came to the project when that was sort of dealt, that it would be about the kids. But I always insisted that if there is a second part, there would be a dialogue between the two timelines, and that it would be approached like the adult life of the losers, there would be flashbacks that sort of illuminate events that are not told in the first one.
Also of note, it appears Fukunaga’s original pitch didn’t draw enough attention to Pennywise’s shapeshifting qualities as Muschietti would’ve liked, and that’s something the latter rectified upon climbing aboard.
Well, one of the things— It was a good script, in terms of characters and the depth of characters and such, but it didn’t really tap into one of the most attractive traits of the character, which was the shapeshifting qualities. So that’s one of the things that I started talking about.
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Circling back to those scrapped sequences, though, the writer-director recalled two scenes that were left on the cutting room floor in order to stay within budget, and they’re exactly as horrifying as you’d expect from a film about an ancient killer clown.
So there’s not anything from the book that I couldn’t do for budgetary reasons, but there are two sequences that I thought of that I had to postpone until more money comes. One is a flashback, that sort of portrays the first encounter of It and humans, which is an amazing scene. And the other is a dream, where Bill sees— he’s leaning on a bridge, in Derry, and he’s spitting on the Kenduskeag Stream, and suddenly he sees the reflection of a balloon. And he looks up and it’s not one balloon, but a bunch of balloons, and then he starts to see body parts, and the shot goes wider and it’s a multitude of dead kids floating. I couldn’t afford it.
And finally, when quizzed about the film’s R rating and the creative freedom it brings, Muschietti noted:
It’s great that it’s R, you know, because it’s in the essence and the spirit of the original work, so it was good news that the studio wanted to make an R movie. Which is, you know, infrequent. So it’s rare. So it was a great opportunity to stick to the spirit.
Following a prolonged spell in development, It will finally haunt theaters – both IMAX and regular screens – on September 8th.