Cary Fukunaga Wanted His Version Of It To Be Like The Shining

The 2017 adaptation of "It" was a huge hit, and fans of Stephen King (like me!) found a lot to love about the flick. But I'll always wonder what the Cary Fukunaga-directed version of the film might've looked like. Fukunaga spent years developing the adaptation but left due to creative differences. After he departed, Andy Muschietti took over as director, and Muschietti's film turned out well in the end. Still – Fukunaga's version was bound to be something different, and the filmmaker, who is currently out there promoting his Bond movie "No Time To Die," recently offered some insight into what he would've done had he helmed the pic. 

Creative Differences

I've read Cary Fukunaga's "It" screenplay (the script used for the actual film is credited to Fukunaga, Chase Palmer, and Gary Dauberman) and I can tell you that structure-wise, it's very similar to the film Andy Muschietti made. But it goes without saying that Fukunaga would've handled the material differently, and I'll always wonder what that would've been like. According to Fukunaga himself, the tone he was striving for wasn't a straight-up horror movie. Instead, he wanted to do something a little different. Speaking with THR, the filmmaker said: 

"I was on that for four or five years with Warners and then it got moved to New Line, right before we were about to go into production. I think New Line's view of what they wanted and my view of what I wanted were very different. I wanted to do a drama with horror elements, more like 'The Shining.' I think they wanted to do something more [pure horror] like 'Annabelle' [from the 'Conjuring' films]. That was essentially the disconnect."

I want to point out here that "The Shining" is very much a horror movie, not a "drama with horror elements." But I think I get what Fukunaga is saying here: he wanted the horror in the film to be more based around cerebral dread rather than jump-scares. And again, while I really enjoy Muschietti's film (the sequel ... not so much), I do wish we could've seen Fukunaga's vision. Perhaps he'll attempt to make another horror movie at some point. 

"It Was Disheartening."

We can all agree that the first season of "True Detective" was the best. That also happens to be the season that was helmed from start to finish by Fukunaga, and while it would've been great if the filmmaker remained with the series, that wasn't in the cards. Fukunaga and "True Detective" creator Nic Pizzolatto clashed behind the scenes of the series, and in the same recent interview, Fukunaga opened up about that as well. "The show was presented to me in the way we pitched it around town — as an independent film made into television," Fukunaga said, adding that things changed quickly, and Pizzolatto started to act like he was in charge of everything: 

"The writer and director are a team. Over the course of the project, Nic kept positioning himself as if he was my boss and I was like, 'But you're not my boss. We're partners. We collaborate.' By the time they got to postproduction, people like [former HBO programming president] Michael Lombardo were giving Nic more power. It was disheartening because it didn't feel like the partnership was fair."

Fukunaga also stated: "As for their creative differences, Nic is a really good writer, but I do think he needs to be edited down. It becomes too much about the writing and not enough about the momentum of the story. My struggle with him was to take some of these long dialogue scenes and put some air into them. We differed on tone and taste."

I don't think the subsequent seasons of "True Detective" were as bad as their reputation suggests, but it's hard to deny that seasons 2 and 3 of the show lack the spark of that first season, and I can only assume Fukunaga was the secret ingredient that made season 1 so successful.