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‘It’ Director on Adapting Stephen King & Changing the Original Novel’s Timeframe

‘It’ Director on Adapting Stephen King & Changing the Original Novel’s Timeframe

‘It’ Director on Adapting Stephen King & Changing the Original Novel’s Timeframe

Cary Fukunaga has quickly become a household name for avid movie/TV fans due to his work directing True Detective season one. And just this week, his African war drama Beasts of No Nation (starring Idris Elba) was acquired by Netflix, so the future is looking bright for Fukunaga, professionally-speaking.

Fukunaga is currently preparing to begin filming this year on It, a big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling horror novel that (assuming all goes to plan) will end up spanning two movies, in order to do justice by King’s very dense source material. The director, who co-penned the current It movie screenplay alongside David Kajganich (True Story) and short movie-maker Chase Palmer, has now talked a bit about the process of adapting King’s writing – revealing an interesting tidbit about his new project, at the same time.

It follows a group of outsiders who (as children) form a close bond while battling a supernatural menace, before they reunite thirty years later to battle the monster yet again. King’s story, when you think about it, shares a fair amount in common with the True Detective season one narrative; both span larger amounts of time in the same characters’ lives, while exploring dark and troubling themes about the dark underbelly of small-town society, in a tale about people having to confront someone (or some thing) from their past.

‘It’ Director on Adapting Stephen King & Changing the Original Novel’s Timeframe

True Detective, of course, required a fair amount of time to weave its rich and often cinematic narrative tapestry – eight episodes total – which is something that Fukunaga realized It would also need, in order to be done right on the big screen. Here’s what he offered Brazilian newspaper O Globo (hat tip Bloody Disgusting) on that very topic, when roughly translated to English:

“I’ve been in this project for about five years. I had already read versions of the script but nothing felt right. Everybody tried to put too much into it, telling it from the perspective of the adult and the child in a two hour movie. It didn’t fit. So I decided to throw it all away and start from scratch.”

King’s book takes place in both the late 1950s and ’80s, as did the 1990 TV mini-series adaptation featuring Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown: the character that became the stuff of nightmares for many a person when they were growing up. Fukunaga told O Globo that the casting search for Pennywise in his movie(s) is ongoing, while he also mentioned that the timeframe for the narrative will be different in his adaptation. (Again, the following is a rough translation.)

“This will be my first movie in the US and I’m still trying to find the perfect guy to play Pennywise. It’s really good to know Stephen [King] likes what we did. We (Fukunaga and writers David Kajganich and Chase Palmer) changed names, dates [the story is originally set in the 50s], dynamics, but the spirit is similar to what he’d like to see in cinemas, I think.”

‘It’ Director on Adapting Stephen King & Changing the Original Novel’s Timeframe

The indication appears to be that Fukunaga’s It will adjust things so that the 2010s now serve as the modern-day setting; which, if true, would mean the first half of the story will now take place during the 1980s (the present-day when King published his original book). As for Fukunaga’s comment about It being his first movie set in the U.S., that’s also correct; his previous big screen directorial efforts (Sin NombreJane Eyre, and Beasts of No Nation) took place in South America, England, and Africa, respectively.

Both Fukuanaga and producer Dan Lin have said that King is a fan of the It film script, which suggests the author approves of whatever changes have been made in terms of historical backdrop. True Detective, as mentioned before, offers a compelling look at the dark side of American life beginning in the mid-90s, so there’s no reason It cannot paint a similarly troubling portrait of childhood for people who grew up during the ’80s – again, assuming that is the case here.

Fukunaga has a proven talent for crafting gritty character-heavy drama in a fittingly dark and ominous setting, which also makes the prospect of him tackling It read as being all the more promising, on paper. Production on the first movie in the two-part project is tentatively slated to begin this summer; unless that changes, we may well have casting news (including, for Pennywise) to offer sometime in the next few months.

It currently does not have an official release date, but may arrive as soon as 2016.

Source: O Globo [via Bloody Disgusting]

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