Regardless of which version you may have read, Stephen King's IT is a literal beast of a novel, even larger than the Barrens, and longer than the leering grin on Pennywise's face. Spanning roughly 1100 pages or so, the King of Horror's magnum opus is understandably difficult to adapt, although many fans hold a special place in their heart for the '90s TV movie starring Tim Curry.
Given the book's mammoth word count, it's hardly surprising that the mini-series and the upcoming movie adaptation are both extended beyond the typical two-hour running time that such a story usually entails. Director Andres Muschietti may have the unenviable task of translating over 1100 pages to the big screen, but by splitting the original novel into two movies, it's clear that the studio isn't clowning around with the source material.
What Does Muschietti Think of The '90s IT Adaptation?
During an interview with Variety, Muschietti discussed how difficult it was to adapt the colossal book. Inevitably, talk soon turned to how the process compared to the '90s TV version. When asked what fans thought of the project, Muschietti explained that:
"There are naysayers. Those tend to be the people who are fans of the miniseries rather than the fans of the book. People who read the book and got the book, they’re not crazy about the miniseries. It was a very watered-down version. It didn’t contain the darkness that the book had. They couldn’t make something for TV about a clown who eats children."
Before dissenters float up from the sewers and angrily chew on these words like the children of Derry, it's worth bearing in mind that Muschietti does have a point. While Tim Curry's performance as Pennywise is a large reason why there's even interest in a movie adaptation of IT 27 years on, the TV mini-series is rather dated now. Restricted by a TV-14 rating, those who worked on the '90s adaptation could only venture so far into the dark, beating heart of the source material. Given the typical budget used in TV productions, it's remarkable that a successful adaptation of IT was pulled off at all.
Will Muschietti Have The Last Laugh?
Fortunately, director Andres Muschietti has no such restrictions. Like Pennywise after 27 years of slumber, the R-rated adaptation of IT will devour the competition with free reign to delve into the book's most lurid and controversial chapters — aside perhaps from that teenage sex fest in the sewers.
Muschietti revealed his excitement for the movie's adult rating to Variety, explaining how he and his team didn't hold back "in any aspect". However, gore and scares aren't the only reasons why IT remains one of Stephen King's most celebrated books. Fortunately, Muschietti is fully aware of this, telling Variety how characterisation is key above all else:
"You have to start simple. You track the big emotional tentpole events of the movie. We tried to fill it with as much character and story as we could in a two-hour movie."
Pennywise may grab most of the headlines, but it's the Losers' Club who are the true stars of IT. The young cast have drawn in readers and viewers alike with their all too relatable hopes and fears — many of which will be exploited by Bill Skarsgard's clown in the upcoming movie. The '90s version of IT certainly tried to include as many of these emotional beats as possible in its three-hour running time, but from what we've seen, the new cast already embody their characters with more natural banter and pathos, re-enacting key scenes in a more faithful way than their previous counterparts.
Whether your rose-tinted glasses need checking or you enjoyed the TV adaptation of IT, Muschietti's upcoming movie sounds like it won't suffer from the same restrictions. In fact, the changes that Muschietti has put in place ensure that his version may even surpass Stephen King's original story — and that, my friends, is the most terrifying prospect of all.
How do you think the IT movie will compare to the '90s TV adaptation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!