Appearing at San Diego Comic Con briefly to discuss his upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s “IT,” director Andres Muschietti sat down with Collider and answered some lingering questions fans of both the book and mini-series have had regarding the movie.
First up, many remember that “True Detective” helmer Cary Fukunaga was originally attached to direct and departed over creative differences. It has been said that quite a bit of Fukunaga’s draft remains the film, with Muschietti’s changes mostly being about steering things back to the horror of the book:
“The commitment to the depth of the characters was there in Carey’s draft and that’s what I connected to mostly. All my changes have to do with the events in the story and Pennywise…I probably stuck more to the idea that Pennywise is a shapeshifting monster and in that sense, I stuck closer to the book.”
We do know there’s going to be some changes from the book, most notably the setting of the childhood era now being in the 1980s as opposed to the 1950s. With that change, it meant the scary manifestations of IT that these kids see are a little different. Muschietti says: “I chose to expand that range of fears. I wanted to layer those fears and make them deeper and more strange.”
That includes Pennywise the Clown with Muschietti saying he wanted to stay true to the essence of the character, but make him edgier and more unpredictable.
Of course, the one obvious change is the removal of the gang bang (or rather train) scene with the teens. Despite attempts at justifications from readers about its metaphor of growing up, the scene remains an oddity and one that wasn’t ever really under consideration:
“I don’t think anyone digs that event. Nobody really understands it and people who try to draw theories from it, they think it’s a necessary analogy of the kids doing a ritual of passage from childhood to adulthood, that way they become immune to being victims of their own imagination because they become adults.
Things like that were not necessary, I don’t think, in the movie. Other subjects and things that are sort of hardcore, like abuse and stuff, they are in our movie. It’s an R-rated movie so we were able to explore those themes freely, of course with subtlety and some ambiguity.”
Muschietti recently confirmed he’s definitely returning for the second film which will adapt the other half of the book with the characters now as adults. He says he’s very keen to get to work on it:
“I’m not letting anyone [else] touch it. Everyone wants to make it and yeah, it seems like we’re going to do it. It’s the second half, it’s not a sequel. It’s the second half and it’s very connected to the first one. In my mind, there will be that dialogue between the two timelines that we didn’t have in the first one because the first one is all about the kids.”
The very R-rated “IT” will arrive in cinemas on September 8th and already has one fan in the form of King’s son and author Joe Hill (“Locke & Key,” “NOS4A2”) who sung the film’s praises and calls it “tremendously humane” and “relentlessly terrifying” and up there with classics like “Jaws,” “The Thing” and “Let the Right One In” in terms of being a scary movie: