Like many Stephen king fans (and more specifically IT fans) I was woefully disappointed with the miniseries made from that magnificent book back in 1990. Actually, disappointed is an understatement – more like hated it with the heat of a thousand suns.
The cast were approximately 50% well chosen in my opinion, the script a disgraceful mess that almost destroyed the heart of the novel, and the direction pedestrian and uninspired. If I could have destroyed every copy of that loathsome miniseries I would have.Not signed in
I know my reaction is extreme but the novel itself is beyond special to me, I have a numbered copy of it, I carry a copy with me at all times, I even have a quote tattooed on me for goodness sake – this thing really means a lot to me.
So when word got around that a real movie version had been green lit I was cautiously optimistic. Once burnt, twice shy as they say but I truly believe they cannot make a worse version than the one already out there, so I am willing to take the many twisty turny roads this novel-to-film project has taken.
In early 2013,the project’s producer, Dan Lin (also producer of The Lego Movie) announced he had obtained Stephen Kings blessing to create a two-part full-length feature film version of IT
True Detective director, Cary Fukunaga, was attached to co-write the screenplay and direct so it promised to be atmospheric, dark, intelligent and human – perfect for the magnificent and complex novel King wrote.
Unfortunately, citing ‘creative differences’ Fukunaga left the project in 2015 amid rumors that there were major changes to the novels original story such as main characters being cut, characters being relocated, sexualities being changed, not to mention pushing the action from 1958 and 1985 to 1985 and 2010. If any of those rumors are true then I for one am glad those versions will hopefully now not see the light of day as the problems I had with the miniseries were mainly due to the ridiculous story alterations that just detract from the feel and superiority of the novel.
In a wonderfully unexpected twist of casting Wil Poulter was announced as Pennywise, which seemed a stroke of genius; but his involvement ended with Fukunaga’s exit and because of scheduling conflicts. Discussions since have mentioned Ben Mendelsohn (and after his malevolent performance in ‘Animal Kingdom’ a great choice) but a new Pennywise has yet to be announced.Not signed in
Mama director Andy Muschietti is now the new director for the remake and filming is slated to officially begin in Canada in June this year, with the first film to be released in 2017. Muschietti is apparently still keen to cast Wil Poulter if his scheduling changes, but it seems to me that if they are filming this year then that is cutting it very close.
When it comes to the script the history of ‘too many cooks’ does not bode well –
It was reported on the 13th of March 2009 that Dave Kajganich (The Invasion) had been hired to pen the script. In 2010 Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) came on board and started from scratch on the script. Later on in 2012 Chase Palmer came onboard to assist Fukunaga with the script. As of 2015 the new director Andy Muschietti (Mama) and his sister & co producer Barbara Muschietti has since done some re-writes on the Fukunaga/Palmer script to match the new directors "vision". Most of the Fukunaga/Palmer script will remain intact. It was also just announced as of Feb 2016 that (Annabelle) writer Gary Dauberman has touched up the script with Andy Muschietti to match the financial goals.Not signed in
In April 2016 the project was officially greenlit with effects company DDT (Pans Labyrinth) locked in to bring the R rated horror to gruesome life.
There are still rumors that the eras the film is set in will be moved forward 27 years from the novel which already gives fans of the novel cause to have grave concerns about its faithfulness to the source material and its ability to evoke the same sense of place felt in the novel. Changing from the 50’s seems unnecessary and will alter most moments/encounters/nostalgia that the novel uses to its advantage. I hope this is incorrect, it already creates a kind of despair that they will once again get it so very wrong.
Taking a look at the many facebook pages, fansites, twitter buzz etc people are already very opinionated about everything concerning this production, not the least of which is casting. Most fans of the mini-series defend it citing Tim Curry’s performance, and those who enjoyed him as Pennywise have been very vocal about their doubt in the film-makers abilities to find an actor they feel will be his equal.
With this in mind I thought it would be fun to close out this article with a little game of ‘dream cast’. My list (which took me longer than I’d like to admit) is as follows.
Who should play Pennywise? Her Are My Picks:
Because he has a growly gruffness but also a teddy bear softness that makes him approachable to kids.
As seen in the green mile, a laconic friendliness that can turn deadly on a dime..Not signed in
An unpredictable insanity behind that face splitting grin..
Hidden depths of sinewy rage behind that intense stare
But What About The Rest of The 'IT' Cast?
Bill - Daniel Craig
An off-kilter handsomeness, a sense of innate goodness but also a willingness to do what might be difficult for the greater good.
Ben - Tom Hardy
An inner sweetness just like Ben with pain in his eyes that belie a tumultuous past
Beverley - Julia Roberts
I can believe her as a woman from humble beginnings, troubled by her past, but slowly discovering her inner strength.
Eddie - Edward Norton
He has a softness about him, an air of vulnerability that tells me he could portray both Eddies weakness and his hard won final triumph
Mike - Chewital Ejifor
An actor who adds substance to every role, he would be perfect as the man who keeps vigil and calls them all home.Not signed in
Stan - Adrien Brody
An actor of quiet dignity and purpose, I think he would make quite the meal of this small but pivotal role.
Richie – John Cusack
Like many 'clowns', Richie uses humour to hide his true feelings, something Cusack has proven himself to be an expert at.Not signed in
Audra - Amy Adams
Always strong, always inquisitive and always personable, I would love to see what she would do with Audra.
Tom - Theo Rossi
Cast against type as a psycho, I'd love to see what someone so likeable could do with a character so noxious. It's always the quiet ones...Not signed in
Henry - Colin Farrell
Capable of seething under-the-surface malevolence with hints of just plain crazy, Farrell would own this.
With an announced release date of September the 8th, 2017 , fans don’t have to wait too long to find out what is on the pros column and what is firmly coming down in the cons column. There are bound to be triumphs, suprises and disappointments but hopefully this time they stick closer to the novel – if it aint broke don’t fix it guys.
Please let me know in the comments below who you’d cast in the upcoming IT movie, and I’d love to hear what you think of my choices!