Cary Fukunaga has already touched on some of the reasons he stepped away from the much-anticipated reboot of Stephen King’s It, simply saying he and New Line Pictures “just wanted to make different movies.” Now, in an interview with Variety, he goes a bit deeper on exactly what kind of movie New Line wanted him to make:
“I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget. It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn’t care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.”
Fukunaga went on to describe how the studio sent an endless list of changes his way, while rejecting everything he and script co-writer Chase Palmer put forward. There were apparently no screaming matches or dramatic power plays, just the two creatives slowly having their vision grounded into the dust til they couldn’t take it any more. Fukunaga decided he’d rather walk away than be “micro-managed all the way through production.”
Now New Line is rebooting the reboot and working on a new script, which is a relief for Cary, as his “biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardize it.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement of what he thinks the studio is capable of producing moving forward. But sometimes it is better to get as much distance from a project as possible. True Detective season two just made Fukunaga’s season one look all the better, and I’m sure people will — fairly or not — pine for what could have been if Fukunaga had been allowed to implement his vision on It when New Line’s version comes out.