Learning of Cary Fukunaga’s departure from his two-film adaptation of Stephen King’s IT after creative differences with New Line was one of the most depressing stories to come out of Hollywood in recent weeks. But in what’s a small silver lining to a huge grey cloud, Bloody Disgusting reports that the project is still very much alive.
The site initially reported that IT had moved to Warner Bros. and would shoot in New York City (contrary to earlier articles that cited the studio’s desire to trim the budget and roll cameras in less expensive areas as two reasons for Fukunaga’s exit), but it has since updated that story to reflect that the project will remain at New Line, with no firm details on shooting locations or production schedule.
If it turns out to be true that IT will film in NYC, that likely means “budget cuts” is a cover-up for deeper issues between the director and studio. That’s tremendously dispiriting, given the stunning work Fukunaga did on the first season of True Detective, but hopefully there will be a sturdy replacement found in the coming weeks.
No word yet if Will Poulter is still cast as demonic clown Pennywise, who terrorizes a group of friends first when they’re kids then decades later as adults. Fukunaga’s vision would have seen IT split into two movies, one centering on the protagonists as children and the other picking up with them as adults, reuniting to rid the world of Pennywise once and for all.
This whole mess is really surprising, given Warner Bros.’ and New Line’s reputations as pretty director-friendly studios. Fukunaga is a proven auteur, so there must have been a considerable disconnect between his ideas for the adaptation and the studio’s needs – hopefully we’ll find out more about what that disagreement was later down the line.
In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for IT. King’s novel is one of the scariest books ever written, and especially if Poulter remains cast as its main antagonist, the potential for a new horror classic seems high.