It's a damn good time to be a Stephen King fan. Two of the iconic author's best literary works -- The Dark Tower and It -- are deep into production for silver screen adaptations. Meanwhile, over on Netflix, the original series Stranger Things did an incredible job at recreating the tone and texture of King's best works, without ever adapting an actual King story. The Duffer Brothers, the guys behind Stranger Things, recently admitted that they tried to get the It job... which makes the newest comments by an It producer sound really -- well, strange.
Dan Lin is a successful producer whose credits include the Sherlock Holmes movies (with Robert Downey Jr.) and The LEGO Movie. He's also working on It with director Andres Muschietti, which is currently filming and heading to theaters in September 2017. During an interview with Collider, Lin was making a comparison between his movie and the Netflix series, and commented:
I think a great analogy is actually Stranger Things, and we're seeing it on Netflix right now. It's very much an homage to '80s movies, whether it's classic Stephen King or even [Steven] Spielberg . Think about Stand by Me as far as the bonding amongst the kids. But there is a really scary element in Pennywise.
Now, here's the strange part (in my mind, anyway). Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of Stranger Things, WANTED to direct It. In a recent interview with THR, the brothers admitted that they asked specifically to helm the planned adaptation of It -- long before even Cary Fukunaga was attached to the project -- and they were told no. However, now that Stranger Things is popular, and has captured the attention of the national zeitgeist, an It producer is saying that the movie will feel like Stranger Things?! Why didn't you just hire the guys who JUST DID STRANGER THINGS?!
If you haven't yet seen Stranger Things, the eight-episode sci-fi fantasy basically takes several pages out of the It playbook, casting three childhood friends on an adventure when their fourth friend disappears late one night. Their investigation puts them in contact with mysterious alien forces that threaten a small Indiana town (not Maine, where Stephen King would set it). If you grew up reading King, this series has his DNA ingrained in every fiber.
Watching Stranger Things, I was wondering how The Duffer Brothers didn't get approached to direct It. Then, I learned they asked to direct It, but were told no. Now, we learn that It will feel like Stranger Things. The mind reels. I get that the Duffers didn't have any real credits BEFORE they shot Strangers Things, so a studio rolling the dice on unknowns would have been a real risk. But was their pitch that bad? How is that possible?
I still hold out hope for Andres Muschietti's It, because I love the story and want a better adaptation than the televised mini-series. But knowing what the Duffers pulled off with Stranger Things, I'm wondering how It will get closer to Stephen King than that.