There's movement on the feature adaptation of Stephen King's It, and we mean that almost literally. The anticipated project, which has been in the works for years, is being moved from Warner Bros. to the studios's New Line division. A two-movie adaptation is planned.
THR notes that this shift from Warner to New Line is happening ahead of a planned move for the studio from West Hollywood wot Warners' Burbank lot and it sounds like the studios are looking to firm up the line for what kinds of movies they make. While New Line Cinema has been around since the late 60s, the studio didn't find its first commercial success until the 1980s when A Nightmare on Elm Street arrived. So New Line's certainly no stranger to horror, and it sounds like that's the direction the studio is headed toward again. With that in mind, New Line would be a perfect fit for It, a terrifying tale, published by Stephen King in 1986.
We learned back in 2012 that Cary Fukunaga was brought on board to direct the adaptation, and last we heard, that's still the case, as is the plan to make It into two movies. THR's new report notes that the goal would be to focus one film on the kid side of the story (set in the past), and one focused on the characters as adults.
Those familiar with Stephen King's novel know that the story is split between the past and the present, as a group of old friends from Derry, Maine are called to return to their hometown to face the big evil that's brewing beneath the surface of Derry. Flashbacks reveal a series of horrible child murders and the same group of characters -- then just a bunch of misfit kids -- facing off against the terrifying monster, which often took the form of a creepy clown called Pennywise.
In 1990, It was adapted into a TV miniseries, which starred Tim Curry, Seth Green, Annette O'Toole and John Ritter. If we're comparing the book to the movie, the book comes out ahead, obviously, especially in the novel's focus on the powerful, seemingly magical friendship that develops among the characters in their childhood years.
As outstanding as the book is, as a miniseries, It's TV adaptation was actually pretty great, despite its abridgments. I'm also fairly certain that Tim Curry's terrifying take on Pennywise the Clown helped ruin clowns for a generation. It's hard to imagine anyone topping Curry's take on that vicious clown, but over all, by comparison to the book, the TV adaptation left plenty of room for improvement, so we're optimistic about the feature adaptation and eager to see who's cast.
In terms of splitting up the story, the plan to focus one film on the past and one on the present -- or the 80s, assuming the movies stick to King's original 50s/80s timeline -- is intriguing, and may prove to be the best way to approach the story for the big screen. Focusing one film on the kids' efforts to beat the monster and then revisiting the story in their adult years may be the best way to allow for an even distribution of story between the two films, and also allow each film to stand on its own, with the second movie being as much a sequel as it is a conclusion to the story. And with that in mind, hopefully this new adaptation will have a bit more time to explore aspects of King's book that didn't make it into the TV miniseries.
At this point, we can only speculate. Updates on the project haven't exactly been plentiful, but this studio shift does suggest that it's still on people's radar. Hopefully we'll hear more updates in the near future.
We all float down here.