It’s been quite a year for scary clowns. American Horror Story introduced us to John Carrol Lynch’s Twisty, and the Eli Roth produced Clown made its way to Italian cinemas in November. However, back in May, Warner Bros. reignited interest in one of the scariest cinema clowns of all, Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. Fresh of the success of The Conjuring in 2013 and Annabelle earlier this year, the WB has officially rebranded New Line Cinema as their house of horror and shifted production of Stephen King’s It to what used to be known as: “The House That Freddy Built” (which was a nod to the franchise A Nightmare on Elm Street).
While It has been in development for years, the film also garnered some additional interest when people realized that Emmy-winning True Detective director Cary Fukunaga was attached to direct. Many wondered if the director would stay on board given his recent critical acclaim for the HBO series. Fukunaga had previously directed Jane Eyre and Sin Nombre.
Last night while speaking to Vulture, producer Dan Lin confirmed that their adaptation of the novel will likely begin shooting in summer 2015. It will be two movies and Fukunaga is still going to direct the first film with the expectation that he will also direct the second. Said Lin, “The idea is to start official prep in March for a summer shoot. Cary likes to develop things for a while, and we’ve been with this for about three or four years, so we’re super excited that he stayed with it. You guys are gonna be really excited.” On why the studio split the story up into two movies, Lin added, “The book is so epic that we couldn’t tell it all in one movie and service the characters with enough depth.”
May I say, HOORAY!!! I think this means a lot of good things for the genre. Allow me to explain.
First, New Line is taking the adaptation of King’s novel seriously, which has been previously made into a TV mini-series and is best known for Tim Curry ruining your dreams. Having someone with a “serious drama” background bringing the film to life also lends a bit of credibility to the genre. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with young, passionate directors taking on horror flicks and cutting their teeth, but for a genre that is often thought of as the red-headed step child of cinema, having directors with major accolades come to the party is incredibly exciting to me.
It’s also something that I’ve noticed sneaking up in things throughout the year like John Logan’s Penny Dreadful and Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal on television, and in more psychological indie fare this year like The Babadook and Starry Eyes. I’ve been wondering for a while when studios would start to take the genre seriously and I think this is a good start.
Finally, according to Lin, the project moves forward with blessings from King himself. “The most important thing is that Stephen King gave us his blessing. We didn’t want to make this unless he felt it was the right way to go, and when we sent him the script, the response that Cary got back was, ‘Go with God, please! This is the version the studio should make.’ So that was really gratifying.”
With pre-production beginning in March 2015, we will likely hear casting announcements then. What do you think, horror friends? Are you excited for Fukunaga to take the reins on this one? Is it a good sign for studio horror which struggled to find an audience in 2014? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!