The feature adaptation of Stephen King's It hit a pretty substantial setback recently, leaving fans of the novel to wonder if the horror story will ever see the proper adaptation it deserves. Author Stephen King's reaction to It's death is as on point as we might expect, as the writer not only acknowledges the film's demise, but also calls our minds back to Tim Curry's brilliantly chilling portrayal of Pennywise the Clown.
They all float down here.
Anyone else having a terrifying Pennywise flashback right about now? Thanks Stephen King!
Published in 1986, Stephen King's It is set in two time periods (the 1950s and the 1980s) and centers on a group of friends who faced an evil shapeshifting entity as children, and must return to Derry to face it again as adults. The story was adapted for a miniseries that aired in 1990, and while some would likely argue that it doesn't hold a candle to the book, it was sufficiently creepy and particularly well cast. That includes Tim Curry effectively ruining clowns for a generation of kids with his terrifying performance as Pennywise.
Cary Fukunaga was on board to direct the remake, which would star Will Poulter as Pennywise, however, we learned earlier this week that the director dropped out of the project, and that the sticking point for him was that New Line wanted to condense the adaptation to one movie. HitFix's recent report on the topic suggests budget issues factored into a lot of areas, including casting and filming location, in addition to the length of the horror movie.
King's book clocks in at about 1,100 pages. The runtime of the TV miniseries is nearly three hours, and even that wasn't enough time to fully delve into King's dark, emotional, terrifying and complex tale.
Whether or not It really is dead, or just dead-for-now remains to be seen. Bloody-Disgusting reported earlier this week that It will remain at New Line but there's "no firm determination on location or shooting schedule." King's Tweet suggests the status is a bit less open-ended, at least for now. So we'll have to wait and see if there's any update on a new director taking over the adaptation, or if this one is going to be shifted aside for the time being.
I can't imagine I'm alone in thinking one movie for It would have the potential to be a disaster. While Pennywise may serve as the memorable scary clown-face of the story, It's heart is with the Losers club, in the characters' childhood years and as adults. A proper adaptation would need time to tell that story, and it's really hard to picture that happening in the space one movie, even if they had to make necessary alterations to bring the story to screen, and even if the movie were more than two hours. It might even be better suited as a miniseries or limited series. A TV remake on Netflix, HBO or even a basic cable channel like FX, with the right people involved, could be fantastic. But if its destination is the big screen, two movies seems like a reasonable minimum for such a rich story.
If it's between making a drastically condensed version of the story just to make it, or doing it right, I'd rather they hold off, or not make it at all. And in the meantime, I'm with King, we'll always have Tim Curry!
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Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.