it movie

Director Andy Muschietti has had to wage a war on two fronts as he’s worked on his upcoming big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It. In one corner, he has to deal with the King fans who wonder if he can do justice to the source material. In the other, he has to deal with fans of the 1990 television miniseries adaptation who have fond memories of that movie traumatizing them in their youth.

It turns out that Muschietti isn’t too fond of that miniseries, something he is very upfront about in a new interview.

Speaking with Variety, Muschietti was blunt about the process of transforming King’s 1,000 page-plus tome into a two-hour movie. Well, technically two movies, as a sequel adapting the second half of novel is currently in the works. He speaks about getting King’s approval for making changes to the book (including changing the time period) and explains that his movie will hew closer to King’s darkness…something that the miniseries didn’t capture:

Most of the people are excited about seeing a good adaptation. 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.

While I have my fair share of nostalgic affection for the original miniseries, Muschietti is right. Aside from Tim Curry‘s ferocious performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (the monstrous It’s most famous guise), it’s very, very much a product of its time – tame and straightforward and lacking the bloody, uncomfortable nerve of King’s work. I imagine some fans will take issue with this statement, but I can only offer a shrug of agreement.

Speaking of Pennywise, Muschietti also spoke about casting the young Bill Skarsgard as the iconic villain, noting that he specifically didn’t want an actor who would deliver something similar to Curry’s work:

I wanted to stay true to the essence of the character. I knew that I didn’t want to go the road of Tim Curry [who played Pennywise in the TV miniseries]. Bill Skarsgard caught my attention. The character has a childish and sweet demeanor, but there’s something very off about him. Bill has that balance in him. He can be sweet and cute, but he can be pretty disturbing.

It is set to open on September 8, 2017.

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