Fukunaga Will Not Direct It. Cary Fukunaga will no longer be involved with New Line Cinema’s two-part It adaptation. It, was set to begin production this summer and is now on an indefinite hiatus. The Wrap is reporting that Fukunaga clashed with New Line over budgetary concerns; Fukunaga could not create his vision of the film while coming in under the studio’s $30 million budget.
One of the issues leading to Fukunaga’s departure was an inability to shoot in his desired filming locations. Fukunaga was set on shooting in New York, an expense that New Line wasn’t willing to open up their purse strings for. Fukunaga also lost out on casting Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn as Pennywise, the film’s titular monster. Mendelsohn reportedly passed after New Line demanded he take a pay cut.
Horror movie fans everywhere are shedding a tear at Fukunaga’s split with It. Considering how prolific Stephen King has been over his career; the lack of quality adaptations of his work to both the big and small screen is disconcerting. Stephen King is America’s most heralded horror writer, and if only one of his works deserved a top notch adaptation, It would certainly be in the conversation.
While there haven’t been many great cinematic re-imaginings of King’s body of work, it’s not for a lack of trying. Over the years, dozens of King’s stories have made their way to TV, movies and comics with the quality of most ranging from not so bad to god-awful. If there were ever a team with the cred to get a novel like It right, it would be Seth Grahame-Smith and Cary Fukunaga. Grahame-Smith’s fantastic novel, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter was a sharp social commentary bursting with more political frustration than one would glean from the book’s pulpy title. Fukunaga is fresh off of a masterful run directing the first season of HBO’s True Detective. Fukunaga’s work on True Detective created a horrifically palpable atmosphere that was as much of a character on the show as Rust Cohle and Marty Hart.
It’s still too early to tell how New Line plans to proceed with the project. Until the dust settles and a new director signs on to helm the project, It fans can only sit and puzzle over how a dream movie scenario turned into a Stephen King novel level nightmare so quickly.
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