Knowing that Stephen King's It is headed to the big screen, fans of the book are left to wonder whether the feature adaptation will maintain the timeline of the novel, or if the time periods will be adjusted to modernize or drastically alter the story. From what director Cary Fukunaga reportedly said in a recent interview, it sounds like the time period could be different.
Before we get to what was said, it needs to be noted that this information was passed from a reader to Bloody Disgusting from a Brazilian newspaper called O Globo. It was translated by the reader, so there's a chance the context shifted through that process.
The mention of the change in the time period was included when True Detective's Cary Fukunaga was commenting on Stephen King's approval of the adaptation:
It’s really good to know Stephen [King] likes what we did. We (Fukunaga and writers David Kajganich and Chase Palmer) changed names, dates dynamics, but the spirit is similar to what he’d like to see in cinemas, I think.
His mention of changed names, dates and dynamics is too vague for us to do much more than speculate at this point. Dynamics could mean anything, really. But "dates" is particularly interesting, as it's unclear yet what time periods this story will be set. Stephen King's It is actually set in the late 50s and the mid-80s. The story is split between the past and the present, as it centers on a group of kids whose lives came together over during a summer when a number of mysterious and brutal child murders took place. The present day is nearly three decades later, when they reunite in Derry after they learn that "It" has come back and bad things are happening again.
The book hit shelves in 1986 and was adapted in 1990 for a TV miniseries. The time period then was similar enough to when the book was first published that the past and present settings didn't need to be drastically altered. But today's "present" is 25 years from the book's present-day setting, which leads us to wonder if the story will shift the time period and set the present around 2015. Assuming the ages of the characters (past and present) aren't drastically altered, that would put the flashbacks somewhere in the late 1980s.
The alternative to shifting the timeline up to suit a modern-day set adaptation would be to do a period piece, where the timeframe remains as it is in the book (Past: 1950s, Present: 1980s), or to leave the past in the 1950s and make the present 2015, in which case instead of the characters being in their late thirties or early forties in the present day, they'd be in their late 50s or early 60s, which would obviously have an impact on the present part of the story.
The tricky thing about Fukunaga's quote is that it still leaves a lot open to speculation, as the changed "dynamics" could certainly tie into a change in the dates, if they're shifting the past and present to modernize the story, or they're only shifting the present, and making the characters older.
We'll have to wait and see what additional details emerge, and we'll likely have a better idea of just how drastically things are changing once the casting process begins. From what Fukunaga says, he's on the hunt to find "the perfect guy to play Pennywise." Personally, I wouldn't hate it if Tim Curry returned for that role, as it's impossible to imagine anyone playing that character any better than he did. With that said, there are different ways to approach something so terrifying, and I'm sure there is someone out there who could bring their own chilling brand of horror to the scary clown.
At present, we know that the It movie is expected to be two movies, and from these latest comments from Cary Fukunaga, it sounds like we shouldn't anticipate a page-for-page adaptation. But if what he says is accurate, the "spirit" is similar, so that's something.
Until we have more info, beep beep, Richie.