New Line's 'It' Project Loses Director Cary Fukunaga, Now Delayed
Troubles with another big production. It was recently reported by The Wrap that New Line Cinema's new version of It, adapted from Stephen King's book about the evil clown, has been delayed indefinitely due to production troubles. Specifically, they say that director Cary Fukunaga is no longer attached and has left the project, which was nearing a June start date but was halted due to budget problems and other issues. The adaptation was originally set up at Warner Bros, with Roy Lee and Dan Lin producing, but only recently shifted to New Line where they're a bit more stern about how much they're willing to spend. Now it's stuck.
Director Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre, Jane Eyre, "True Detective", Beasts of No Nation) was working on developing a two-part adaptation of Stephen King's evil clown story It, and they were even close to securing Will Poulter for the lead role as Pennywise. Everything was gearing up to start shooting this summer, until they ran into problems with the budget getting bigger, especially for two movies. Aside from shooting costs going up per Fukunaga's request to film in New York, there were other pain points in development recently.
As the start of production loomed in mid-June, Fukunaga’s recent drafts were coming in over-budget, and New Line has had success with genre movies when it has maintained a hard financial line. The budget conflict over “It” had been brewing for weeks, as Fukunaga discovered when he initially tried to cast Ben Mendelsohn as the titular villain.
While many assumed Mendelsohn was forced to turn down “It” due to his pending involvement in “Star Wars: Rogue One,” an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap that the Australian actor could’ve starred in both movies — “It” in June and “Rogue One” in September — but New Line wanted Mendelsohn to take a sizable pay cut, prompting him to pass on the project.
So what's the current status? "One insider told TheWrap that It was dead as currently constituted. A studio insider acknowledged the film has been pushed indefinitely…" That includes Will Poulter, or at least, he can now go on to do other films and whenever this comes together again, who knows where everyone will be. In the meantime, even though there wasn't much anticipation for this It remake, it definitely was Cary Fukunaga who made it appealing. Without him, it's hard to say there's much interest at all. Author Stephen King, who wrote the story the movie is based on, took to Twitter to make a quick joke about the situation:
The remake of IT may be dead--or undead--but we'll always have Tim Curry. He's still floating down in the sewers of Derry.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) May 25, 2015
This is also a good reminder to check out the original It movie starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. As for Cary Fukunaga, I'm not worried. He's a very talented director and can easily line up more opportunities. As stated before, he was one of the reasons I was interested in this new It adaptation, but now not so much. We'll still be closely following Fukunaga and any other development updates on this project. As The Wrap goes on to add, "it wouldn’t be surprising if New Line ended up adapting King’s acclaimed book as one long movie" and that may very likely be the outcome of the current situation. They'll have to find a new director, figure out a new plan, and give it another shot. But is it worth it anymore? We'll find out one day, I'm sure.