Rumors have been bubbling like blood from little Beverly Marsh’s sink that a big-screen, R-rated version of the Stephen King novel It is in the works. The buzz began in 2009 that the infamous TV miniseries adaption of 1990, which quickly charmed Its way into our hearts and fortune cookies forever, is getting a modern makeover. While details are scarce and unreliable, such as a reported 2011 theatrical release date that never happened, I can find no evidence (and I actually looked) that the project has been cancelled. IMDb currently lists the movie as “in development.”
What we DO know (or THINK we know): If It actually exists the screenplay writer is rumored to be David Kajganich, whose street cred includes The Invasion (2007) and Blood Creek (2008). (He’s also rumored to be writing for the film remake of another King novel, Pet Sematary, but I didn’t feel like researching that.) Kajganich has said the Warner Brothers production will be nothing like the often comical cult classic miniseries, claiming his It will stay truer to the novel’s dark depiction of unfathomable evil while bringing the timeline of terror up to today’s terms.
For those living under a rock (or born after 1992) the short synopsis is this: There’s a group of misfit tweens in the late ‘50s from the small town of Derry, Maine, who refer to themselves as The Losers Club and battle a diabolical kid-killer that assumed the shape of Pennywise the Clown. After defeating (or so they think) the monstrous force that dwelled in the city’s sewer the kids promise that each of them will return to fight again if the evil ever resurfaces… which is exactly what happens 30 years later.
Yes, the miniseries was limited because it was made for TV. And yes, it was more satirical than macabre. But here’s where you might want to arm yourself with your inhaler and zero in on my face (“It’s battery acid you slime!”)– I think the idea of remaking It is the worst King movie cash-in since the recent Bag of Bones shit show. While you’re busy searching the sewer floor for that silver earring to shoot me with, here are my reasons:
Tim Curry. “Beep, beep Richie!” How can you recast Pennywise as anyone other than The Cheshire Cat himself? It’s blasphemy, and such tricks have proven to be deadly mistakes, even in the limited realm of King-inspired films. Remember 1997’s The Shining miniseries? No? Don’t feel bad. Most don’t. But unlike the Stanley Kubrick adaptation it followed the novel almost flawlessly. What it didn’t have? Jack Nicholson. Everyone on the planet saw Nicholson KILL in the role of crazed caretaker Jack Torrance; a polished screenplay and Steven Weber were no competition for “Heeeeeere’s JOHNNY!” And admit it… you were secretly rooting for that unhinged (but highly entertaining) lunatic to hack his screechy-ass wife’s head off with that axe. It’s okay, we all were.
So who do you cast? How do you compete with Tim Curry, whose portrayal as Pennywise is probably why Coulrophobia (google it kids) is a word? Well, you could tap Russell Brand. He seems to be today’s go-to choice for slaughtering classic characters. Or maybe a random juggalo from an ICP concert, they’re terrifying enough. Or you just kill it completely and go CGI. CGI and 3D; might as well exploit ALL the annoying fads of the era.
Which brings us to…
Modern times suck. I understand they want to make the story relatable to today’s audience. (Because evil sewer-dwelling clowns that turn into giant fucking spiders on a whim isn’t the hard to grasp part—it’s the 80s HAIR!) But imagine modern-day Mike Hanlon facing the task of contacting his childhood friends to inform them that the horrifying evil they faced three decades ago has returned. In 1990 he called them one by one. What would he do now? Text? [OMG IT’S BACK OMFG ] Or would he send a message to his “Losers Club” circle on Google+? The good news about the latter method would be Stan would never have to kill himself, because he’d never get that fucking message. Even someone in “The Losers Club” no longer logs in to Google+. That social network has turned out to be a bigger turd than anything that’s ever floated through Palace de Pennywise. But I digress.
Anyway, I can agree that my beloved miniseries wasn’t an exact replica of the novel; it was restricted by television regulations and a small budget, so was unable to stick to the 1,090 page epic of evil exactly. So what? That’s why there’s books AND movies (and internet forums for people to bitch about how one doesn’t live up to the other). Some of King’s sordid details have no place being visualized. In the book, before defeating Pennywise the loser boys basically form a train and gang bang the shit out of Bev. Sure, a cherry-popping festival like that might hold a little more weight than a pinkie swear when you’re asked to honor a childhood promise 30 years later, but no one wants to see a bunch of ten year olds going at it on the big screen. Let me rephrase that: anyone who WANTS to see that should be shoved down the nearest sewer grate to test if they really do all float down there.