Stephen King properties continue to prosper on the small screen (see: Haven, Under the Dome), even as multiple film adaptations – based on the iconic pop horror/suspense novelist’s work – have started to make their way down the pipeline. Indeed, in the past few months, we’ve seen (among other developments) the Pet Sematary remake enlist a new director, Warner Bros. actively scouting for a filmmaker to helm The Stand, and the Cell movie adaptation finishing up its casting in order to begin production this year.
One King project that we haven’t reported on since 2012 is IT, a big-screen treatment of King’s hefty best-selling novel, published in 1986 and made into a famous TV mini-series four years later (starring Tim Curry as the clown monster, Pennywise, who haunted many a child of the ’90s’ dreams). Last time we tuned in, acclaimed cinematographer-turned writer/director Cary Fukunaga had just been recruited to get the ball rolling again, after the project had spent the previous few years trudging along to, essentially, a complete stop (at that time).
Producer Dan Lin (Sherlock Holmes) added a new hit intellectual property to his belt when The LEGO Movie opened big at the box office, and while promoting the animated feature/toy adaptation, he provided Collider (hat tip STYD) with an update on Fukunaga’s prospective IT adaptation:
“… Cary Fukunaga is writing and directing Stephen King’s It for me, and I’m really excited for that. So I’m hoping that’ll be his next movie after the indie he’s shooting in Africa. So I love what he did with True Detective. I think it’s a great sample for Stephen King’s It. So I’m really excited about that.”
The “indie he’s shooting in Africa” in this case refers to Beasts of No Nation, Fukunaga’s adaptation of Uzodinma Iweala’s novel – about an African child soldier – that will include award-winner Idris Elba (Pacific Rim) in a key role. According to previous reports, Fukunaga is going to be collaborating on the IT script with Chase Palmer – Fukunaga’s writing partner on the developing project No Blood, No Guts, No Glory – with the intention of covering King’s (more than) 1,000 pages-long source material during the course of two feature-length films.
It’s not clear yet whether a two-part movie is still the plan for IT, though nowadays that’s not so much of a far-fetched idea, with young adult franchises (Harry Potter, Twilight and later this year, The Hunger Games) and recent genre tentpoles (see: The Hobbit) having popularized the practice – demonstrating just how lucrative the box office reward can be. Not only is a King property like IT arguably popular enough to justify such a move from a business perspective, artistically the story lends itself to such an adaptation – as the novel alternates between two time periods (the 1950s and 1980s), yet revolves around younger and older versions of the same characters.
HBO’s Fukunaga-directed True Detective limited series relies upon a related narrative structure, wherein extended flashbacks set during the mid-1990s are framed with scenes featuring the same lead characters in the year 2012. Moreover, the acclaimed detective drama has exposed Fukunaga’s technical mastery of pure visual storytelling to a larger audience than that which saw his arthouse releases (see: Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre), while having also illustrated his ability to weave a yarn that is both fairly atmospheric, yet at the same time character-focused and contemplative.
In other words: an IT movie by Fukunaga sounds all the more promising now, perhaps even more so if it were to be split up into two separate movies.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.