Originally set up at Warner Bros. before shuttled to New Line, and slated for production in June, the project has been shelved indefinitely. “Fukunaga repeatedly clashed with the studio,” writes Jeff Sneider, “and did not want to compromise his artistic vision in the wake of budget cuts that were recently demanded by New Line, which greenlit the first film at $30 million.”
Fukunaga took a gamble casting young “Maze Runner” breakout Will Poulter as Pennywise, the demonic clown that haunts a group of seven outcast friends. Fukunaga reportedly considered older actors like stage thesp Mark Rylance and “Bloodline” star Ben Mendelsohn for the part, but was knocked over by Poulter’s audition.
Rather than follow in the footsteps of the 1990 miniseries version of King’s terror tome, starring a creepy Tim Curry in the role of Pennywise, Cary Fukunaga went young. This unusual casting, apparently, may have contributed to the fallout.
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Pity, because this was looking like an ambitious and exciting horror picture. Will New Line find another director? That conversation’s not yet on the table.
The “True Detective” director wanted to stay close to King’s 900-page horror epic, with one movie focusing on the protagonists as kids and the other focusing on their adult lives as they reunite to put their monsters to rest. Stephen King is reportedly a fan of the script, co-written by Fukunaga and Chase Palmer. “It” would have been Fukunaga’s first film to shoot in the US.
While Fukunaga directed all eight episodes of “True Detective”‘s first season, he stepped back to assume the role of executive producer on the second season, premiering June 21. Later this year, his Participant Media-backed drama “Beasts of No Nation,” also a Red Crown coproduction, will open day and date on Netflix and in theaters. Fukunaga will also be teaming with the “Brokeback Mountain” writers on an inspiring father-son drama from A24.