Cary Fukunaga Talks About Finding Pennywise for Stephen King’s IT



Just as his new film Beasts of No Nation found a home on Netflix, Emmy-winning “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga is going back to (fictional) Derry, Maine where he’s been hard at work bringing a two-part feature adaptation of Stephen King’s IT to the screen. He recently talked to Brazilian newspaper O Globo (translation courtesy of Bloody-Disgusting) about reshaping the 1,138-page tome into something cinematic, and the trouble in tracking down that elusive clown Pennywise.

“This will be my first movie in the US and I’m still trying to find the perfect guy to play Pennywise,” Fukunaga added. “It’s really good to know Stephen [King] likes what we did. We (Fukunaga and writers David Kajganich and Chase Palmer) changed names, dates, dynamics, but the spirit is similar to what he’d like to see in cinemas, I think.”

It’s been implied for a while that the era for the IT childhood flashbacks would shift from the 1950’s to the 1980’s in order to make it more contemporary, and this confirms what producer Dan Lin said in December about King’s seal of approval. The “find the perfect guy” comment will sour more than a few people who had their hopes set on Tilda Swinton taking on Pennywise, but Paul Giamatti and Michael Shannon are still glimmers in the fan community’s eyes.

“I’ve been in this project for about five years,” says Fukunaga in the translation. “I had already read versions of the script but nothing felt right. Everybody tried to put too much into it, telling it from the perspective of the adult and the child in a two-hour movie. It didn’t fit. So I decided to throw it all away and start from scratch.”

If things are going according to plan, prep is happening now for a summer shoot, with Fukunaga co-scripting and directing Part I and at the very least co-writing the second film, but hopefully he will sign on for both. Stephen King’s IT will be released by Warner Bros./New Line Cinema.