Another classic Stephen King novel is being adapted into a feature film… make that two feature films. Interestingly enough the project has also attracted an up-and-coming director.
The author’s epic 1986 horror tale It, which had been previously made into a four-hour miniseries for ABC in 1990 under the direction of Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween III: Season of the Witch), is on track to become a two-part movie with Sin Nombre director Cary Fukunaga calling the shots. Fukunaga will also be teaming with relative newcomer Chase Palmer to write the screenplay adaptation.
Fukunaga previously filmed another literary adaptation: last year’s Jane Eyre, based on the celebrated Charlotte Bronte novel. Prior to working on It, Palmer tackled the writing duties on the long-in-development film of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic Dune.
It told the story of a group of seven disenfranchised kids in a small Maine town who battle and seemingly defeat a malevolent force of evil responsible for many horrific deaths that can take the form of its intended victim’s greatest fear, but more often than not manifests itself as a jovial killer clown named Pennywise. Thirty years the kids have moved to different parts of the country and attained varying degrees of success, but when the terror that plagued their childhoods rises to begin another rampage of murder and insanity they must come together to defeat Pennywise’s evil once and for all.
The 1990 miniseries is often regarded as one of the better TV adaptations of a King novel thanks to its stellar cast, in particular Tim Curry’s nightmare-inducing performance as Pennywise, definitely the scariest clown in horror fiction.
The book ran a total of 1,104 pages and was divided into two distinct halves so the new movie of It will be similarly split into two features. The first movie will likely focus on the kids’ battle against Pennywise in the past and the second will revolve around their return to confront the evil force in the present.
With Ron Howard’s ambitious plans to bring King’s Dark Tower series to film and television, Ben Affleck’s gestating adaptation of The Stand steadily building up speed, and now this the major studios are taking huge risks to bring the author’s longer, sprawling narratives to cinema screens. Past adaptations of King works have been based on his shorter publications – the slimmer novels and short stories – while the longer books were reserved to be made into television miniseries.
With an ace director behind the camera It could shape up to be a memorable film experience if the script works and the project is cast brilliantly. There are so many great characters in this story that there should be no shortage of A-list talent chomping at the bit to join Fukunaga’s massive endeavor.