On my top 10 all time favourite books list ranking pretty high is IT by Stephen King. I read it when I was about 12, and have read it many times since.
I regularly reference IT to writers and storytellers as an example of brilliant characters, in depth and extremely detailed back story; research and history; consistency, epic tension building and on point language. I’m not sure when I saw the 1990 series adaptation of IT, but I remember not being very impressed, especially after the massive build up. I felt the series didn’t do the phenomenal writing justice.
Maybe it was because the actor cast as focal character Bill Denborough was Dean Thomas, otherwise known to us old enough as Jon-Boy Walton of the 1970s series The Waltons. King is such that type of writer that he masterfully describes his characters in such a way that you build their image, their voices, even the way they walk quite clearly in your head. It was really hard for me to reconcile the two. Also the look and feel of the series didn’t fit the visuals in my head. It all looked a little too Dynasty shiny.
Rumours about the IT remake have been circling for years, and finally after much trouble behind the scenes with Beasts of No Nation director Cary Fukunaga quitting as director way back in 2015 after falling out with New Line over budgeting issues and such. Then being replaced by relative newcomer Andrés Muschietti everything is back on track to now we have a completed film to be released in two parts. Following the two halves of the book and series, first half the kids, second half the kids as adults.
I’m excited, and also shit scared; the first trailer looked on point, this latest one takes it to a whole new level. We get to see more of the characters, already I think casting has done a good job. This first part will deal with when children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
Pennywise is played by a relatively young actor, Bill Skarsgård better known probably to the millenials for (Allegiant, TV’s Hemlock Grove). The rest of the young cast are a bunch of newbies including Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip), Sophia Lillis (37), Finn Wolfhard (TV’s Stranger Things), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy), Chosen Jacobs (upcoming Cops and Robbers), Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales of Halloween) and Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic).
Shout out Chosen Jacobs, the African American representative. As with the book, his role as Mike is significant, non-tokenistic and in the adult half he’s the one who brings the adults back together.
IT is adapted from a screenplay adapted by Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman. Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg and Barbara Muschietti are producing, with Marty P. Ewing, Doug Davison and Jon Silk serving as executive producers. The behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Chung-Hoon Chung (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), production designer Claude Paré (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), editor Jason Ballantine (The Great Gatsby), and costume designer Janie Bryant (TV’s Mad Men). The music was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch.
This is probably the only horror movie, I have no choice but to go and see. As a young person and through my teens I watched horrors. Loved the first 3 of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise (1984, 1985, 1987 – after that it all got a bit rubbish). Loved Tales from the Hood (1995) the classic Hip Hop horror and as mentioned Stephen King is a favourite author, love most of his books; have survived most of his book to film adaptations. In adult years I find horror films ridiculous and no longer scary. There is one, but it freaked me out so much that I won’t even write its name. But, that’s because it was based on truth, and in my opinion, a horror film should scare you in order for it to be successful. With that in mind, why the hell would I pay to be scared?
The difference with IT is that it’s not just a horror story for kicks. It’s got a deep psychological narrative and definitely plays into some of the issues we’re dealing with today’s culture, or should I say if this remake is on point it will… so for that reason and nostalgia I’ll be at the cinema when IT is released this autumn.
IT gets its UK release September 18th 2017