Stephen King’s epic 1986 novel It is one step closer to getting remade for the big screen. The novel was previously turned into a 1990 ABC miniseries that had more to do with an entire generation of kids being terrified of clowns than any other movie in recent memory, thanks to an amazing performance from Tim Curry as the evil Pennywise. According to the Hollywood Reporter, It has been in development at Warner Brothers for something like five years, but most recently Cary Fukunaga signed on to develop it as two separate movies. Since then, Cary Fukunaga has become a hot name around Hollywood, having written and directed the film Sin Nombre as well as the first season of HBO’s True Detective. It’s not clear whether he’s sticking around, but Warners would be wise to keep him.
Warner Brothers is now shifting the production of It to New Line Cinema, which is starting to become Warner’s boutique label for horror films. This would be fitting, as New Line was built almost entirely around the success of one franchise: A Nightmare on Elm. Street. With the success of the Freddy Krueger movies behind them in the nineties, New Line became a major indie label in the vein of Miramax. Just as Miramax was bought by Disney, New Line was gobbled up by Warner Brothers, but was allowed to run independently. Unfortunately, a series of flops after the Lord of the Rings films brought a lot of money to the studio forced Warners to end New Line in everything but name a couple of years ago. Now things are coming full circle, as New Line is set to become a horror label, much as they were when they began. Last year’s hit The Conjuring was via New Line, and now it looks like It will be among the next.
Stephen King’s novel is about a group of six kids in the late fifties who are attacked by an entity that appears to them in different forms, preying upon their worst fears. (The most well known form, thanks to the 1990 miniseries, is that of Pennywise the Clown.) The kids narrowly defeat the creature, only to find it has returned in their adult lives. The book is split between the 1957-58 and 1984-85, although I imagine they could change the time period for the movie without losing much. The current plan is two release It as two films — one set in the past with the kids, the other with the adults. No production start date has been given, but expect to be hearing a lot more on this one soon.
Now…who the heck can replace Tim Curry as Pennywise?? Those are some big clown shoes to fill.