Cary Fukunaga Explains His Exit From IT
It’s hard to imagine a better adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic, decades-spanning story of childhood trauma and killer clowns It than the box-office smash version helmed by Andy Muschietti last year.
However, while Muschietti preps the second part of the series, with the grown-up versions of the Losers’ Club including Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, we’ve heard how different the film could have been in the hands of its original director…
Cary Fukunaga retains a screenwriter credit on It: Chapter One, shared with Chase Palmer and Gary Dauberman, but that still somewhat belies the amount of work he put into the movie. The True Detective and Beasts of No Nation director was originally signed on to co-write the film with Palmer, with an eye for directing the film, too.
Despite giving pre-production interviews which suggested he was fully on board with the project, with a particularly personal passion for the source material, Fukunaga left It on May 25, 2015. At this point, he and Palmer had their scripts in place, had cast Detroit star Will Poulter as Pennywise, and were eyeing Jurassic World‘s Ty Simpkins as a member of the Losers’ Club.
At the time, word on the street was New Line wanted to cut down the film’s substantial $30 million, and Palmer and Fukunaga walked, not wanting to compromise their vision. Now, the latter has spoken out on what actually went on with his abortive version of It.
Apparently the real issue was that the studio were concerned about their inability to “control” the director. In an interview with GQ, promoting his forthcoming Netflix series Maniac, Fukunaga explained this was a miscalculation on New Line’s part, saying “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.”
In the end, Fukunaga was relieved his and Palmer’s script was rewritten, saying in earlier interviews that “Chase and I both put our childhood in that story. So our biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardize it. I wouldn’t want them to stealing our childhood memories and using that.”