IT's Original Director Cary Fukunaga Reveals Why He Left The Project

Pennywise in IT

It's no secret that Warner Bros. had been attempting to adapt Stephen King's classic novel, IT, for the big screen for years, with numerous starts and stops plaguing the production for assorted reasons. Eventually, the studio found its way through with Mama director Andy Muschietti at the helm, and they're currently hard at work on a second chapter that will follow up on the extremely successful IT from 2017. But prior to Muschietti, Cary Fukunaga of True Detective and Beasts of No Nation fame took a pass at IT and thought he secured the gig, only to lose it. And in a recent interview, Fukunaga revealed why he thought he got fired, explaining:

I think it was fear on their part, that they couldn't control me. No, they thought they couldn't control me. I would have been a total collaborator. That was the kind of ridiculous part. It was just more a perception. I have never seen a note and been like, Fuck you guys. No way. It's always been a conversation.

This is the hindsight opinion of Cary Fukunaga regarding the opinion around "town" that he's difficult to work with. Is it true? Only few know, and those people likely worked with Fukunaga on either his adaptation of Jane Eyre (with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender) or that masterful first season of True Detective. Would Fukunaga be willing to have creative conversations with the producers at WB to bring his vision of Stephen King's IT to the big screen? We will never know -- as that ship has sailed -- but in this interview with GQ, the writer-director sure makes it sound like he would be willing to trade a few things to get the story that he wants to tell. Fukunaga went on to say:

I don't think I've ever been able to make something uncompromising. Like, someone commented on Beasts, 'Oh, how did it feel to make a movie that's uncompromising?' Like, uncompromising? I had to rewrite my entire third act 'cause we didn't have the money to finish the film. We compromise all over the place.

Welcome to the business of show. No movie makes it to the big screen without compromise. Would Cary Fukunaga's vision of IT been worth the compromise, either on his part, or on the studio's part? It's hard to say, though it's not really on anyone's part to complain. He went on to make more of the projects that really stimulate him -- he's being interviewed on the cusp of Maniac reaching Netflix (see the mind-bending trailer below), and IT broke box office records by connecting to audiences on a grand scale. This sounds like it ended up being a win-win.

Andy Muschietti's IT Chapter Two will be in theaters on Sept. 6, 2019... just about a year from now. Do you think Cary Fukunaga will go see it?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.