It: Chapter Two Scribe Reveals The Challenges Of Adapting Stephen King Novels

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Stephen King is an author – nay, a creative luminary – who needs no introduction.

Since his writing career began all those years ago, King has published 58 novels (!) and approximately 200 short stories, most of which center around themes of blood-curdling terror. They don’t call him the ‘king of horror’ for nothing, you know. And while King has always commanded a tremendous amount of respect all across the four corners of the film industry, since the blistering success of New Line’s It reboot, there’s been a clear uptick in movies and TV shows based on Stephen King’s legendary oeuvre.

Case in point: this year has already served up the decidedly creepy Pet Sematary, and will soon signal a return to the quaint town of Derry, Maine for It: Chapter Two. Speaking of which, the latter’s screenwriter, Gary Dauberman, recently sat down with CinemaBlend to recount the inherent challenges of adapting King’s literature for screens big and small.

There’s a lot of challenging things, but it really is an editing process of like…you know you’re not going to get all the fucking great scenes in there. You know, they always say you have to kill your darlings. But it’s like, [they’re] not. They are my darlings, but I’m such a fan of the books and the scenes, and so it’s a challenge to sort of decide, ‘Okay, well I really like this, but I love that. Is there a way to get the two ideas in there and maybe put it somewhere else?’ It’s one of those things where I tried to preserve as much as I can of the book, in the spirit of the book, and why it works.

Many of those creative obstacles can be traced back to the fact that Stephen King’s work is, by and large, well-written and damn entertaining. As Dauberman reveals, the biggest challenge of the lot is attempting to preserve the tone and spirit of the source material on which It: Chapter Two is based which, in this case, means adhering to the adult Losers’ Club and their second (and final!) confrontation with Pennywise, Eater of Worlds and Destroyer of Dreams.

Dauberman concluded:

I mean, there’s books out there that have great concepts, but they’re not executed so well. So you’re like, ‘Well, I like the concept, but I’ll kind of just run with it.’ Or it’s got a good first half, but the second half is not great, so you can depart from it. But these are not those, right? They work so well. There’s a reason they’ve been around as long as they have been. So you’re just working very hard to preserve as much as you can of it and give it the respect it deserves.

It: Chapter Two makes a beeline for theaters this September and yes, there will be blood. Lots and lots of blood.