When Stephen King’s literary classic It was first auctioned for the big screen, and New Line swooped in with plans for a two-movie arc, film fans were understandably skeptical.
But as writer-producer Barbara Muschietti (sister to director Andy Muschietti) noted to /Film, “if ever there was a book that was perfect to be divided, it was It.” Of course, that can largely be traced back to the book’s dual narrative, which follows the Losers Club and their battle against Pennywise first as children, and later as adults. Ever the one to challenge his readers with a complex, intertwining plot and temporal disparity, King’s horror gem hops between these two time periods at will, resulting in an engrossing page-turner that hooks you in from start to finish.
If Barbara and Andy Muschietti were to remain true to the source material, it would’ve resulted in all kinds of logistical problems both from a casting standpoint – recruiting two lookalikes is one thing, but an entire cast? Next to impossible – and narrative standpoint, leading to a cinematic adaptation of It that likely would’ve stretched past the three-hour marker. As Muschietti tells /Film, the goal was always to respect Stephen King’s work:
We’re not doing [both stories] for a simple reason – we didn’t think it was necessary to intertwine them. The book is our bible, for sure, but we thought it would be more interesting to respect the proper chronology, and also, it’s such a massive book. This, I have to say, we inherited [the film from previous director Cary Fukunaga] and we could have changed it, but we decided not to, to stick to the kids, because I think it [lets you] really understand the characters in the first part of the movie, rather than spending half of the movie 27 years later.
Andy Muschietti, on the other hand, revealed that he’s partial to It Part 1 – The Losers Club for the nostalgia factor, which begs the question: will Part 2 adopt a different tone and style?
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 […] 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.
That sequel isn’t a sure thing just yet, though, as Barbara Muschietti conceded that “there isn’t an assurance, but we really want to make it,” she said, “New Line really wants to make it and I’m sure King would want us to make it. I’m very hopeful that we will.”