Cary Fukunaga Explains Why He Left as Director of Stephen King's 'It'
When it was announced that they were making another version of Stephen King’s It, I don’t think that many of us were excited about it until we understood that True Detective’s first season director Cary Fukunaga was going to behind it. The man has a talent for eery visuals and creepy moods (see the surprisingly excellent Jane Eyre), and it seemed that he’d be able to update It and Pennywise in a way that could potentially terrify us more than even Tim Curry’s version.
Sadly, Fukanaga left the project. It was about creative differences, and about Fukunaga not wanting to settle for an inoffensive version, as he explained to Variety:
“I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget. It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn’t care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.”
Yes. Exactly. Fuck ‘em, Fukanaga.
The biggest point of contention was actually over the clown, Pennywise.
“The main difference was making Pennywise more than just the clown,” said Fukunaga.”After 30 years of villains that could read the emotional minds of characters and scare them, trying to find really sadistic and intelligent ways he scares children, and also the children had real lives prior to being scared. And all that character work takes time. It’s a slow build, but it’s worth it, especially by the second film. But definitely even in the first film, it pays off. It was being rejected. Every little thing was being rejected and asked for changes. Our conversations weren’t dramatic. It was just quietly acrimonious. We didn’t want to make the same movie. We’d already spent millions on pre-production. I certainly did not want to make a movie where I was being micro-managed all the way through production, so I couldn’t be free to actually make something good for them. I never desire to screw something up. I desire to make something as good as possible.”
Based on that, it sounds like Fukanaga could’ve created a masterful It miniseries himself. Alas, if Warner Brothers decides to move forward, we will probably be saddled with a conventional, inoffensive film full of archetypes and jump scares, just like every other fucking horror film released by the major studios.
Someone buy the rights away and given them to Fukanaga so he can make this movie for Netflix, because seriously: Can you imagine a version of It where everything else lived up to the terror of Pennywise?