New Line began working on a big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It over a year ago, but hit a speed bump when the studio lost director Cary Fukunaga. After replacing the True Detective visionary with Mama’s Andrés Muschietti last summer, the sewers appeared clogged. Now, producer Roy Lee has finally confirmed that production is expected to begin later this year.
“We are very close to turning in the final draft of the script,” Lee told Collider. “It’s mainly working on it for budgeting purposes to make it fit within the budget that we have. It will hopefully be shooting later this year. We just got the California tax credit.” Lee also said that each of the planned two films in the series would be looking for R ratings.
As for the script, Funkunaga had turned in a draft with Chase Palmer, but Lee said that won’t be the vision we see on screen. Instead, Muschietti and co-writer Gary Doberman have reworked the script, keeping it, as Lee said, “very close to the source material in one way but very different if you look at it as a literary piece of work. We’re taking it and making the movie from the point of view of the kids, and then making another movie from the point of view of the adults, that could potentially then be cut together like the novel. But it’s gonna be a really fun way of making this movie.”
King’s original novel bounced back and forth between the two time periods from beginning to end, while ABC’s 1990 TV mini-series was mostly similar to New Line’s approach with their new feature. As for who’s playing Pennywise the Dancing Clown, originally portrayed by Tim Curry, it’s unclear whether Fukunaga’s original choice of Will Poulter (The Maze Runner, The Revenant) remains attached to the film.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” Poulter told Den of Geek about his involvement. “I was [attached] when Mr. Fukunaga was directing, but the circumstances at New Line are such that a new director’s attached now. I think, with all due respect to him of course, I was selected by Cary and subscribed to Cary’s vision for the movie, and so I haven’t had a chance to connect with that [new] director. Of course, I have a relationship with New Line so I’m grateful to them for taking a punt on me — both for We’re The Millers and It. But my involvement remains to be seen.”
It isn’t the only King adaptation seeing movement, either. 11.23.68 starring James Franco recently premiered on Hulu, while Idris Elba is a favorite to star as Roland Deschain in the long-gestating big screen adaptation of The Dark Tower. The first film in that series, the Nikolaj Arcel-directed The Gunslinger, is targeting a January 13th, 2017 release date. Matthew McConaughey has reportedly been offered the role of The Man in Black.
On the less positive front, Josh Boone’s attempt to adapt The Stand stalled earlier this year when Warner Bros. let the rights lapse and they reverted back to CBS Films. While that film sits in limbo, Boone is said to be working on adapting King’s latest novel, 2014’s Revival.