Cary Fukunaga, who was once Warner Bros.’ pick for directing 2017’s It, has finally opened up about his reasons for leaving the film.
Fukunaga connected his time working on the adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 opus to his time directing Season 1 of HBO’s True Detective. Fukunaga recalled working with showrunner Nic Pizzolatto, advocating for the six-minute-long take that eventually came to define the show, compromising and defending his directorial decisions in equal measure. It was precisely this sort of push and pull that led the studio to fear for their ability to control the project, but Fukunaga didn’t fully buy that reasoning.
"No, they thought they couldn't control me,” Fukunaga said. “I would have been a total collaborator. That was the kind of ridiculous part. It was just more a perception. I have never seen a note and been like, fuck you guys. No way. It's always been a conversation.”
He wasn’t done relating his projects to one another, using 2014's Netflix film Beasts of No Nation to showcase his ability to compromise, which makes his departure from It all the more heartbreaking.
"I don't think I've ever been able to make something uncompromising,” he said. “Like, someone commented on Beasts, ‘Oh, how did it feel to make a movie that's uncompromising?’ Like, uncompromising? I had to rewrite my entire third act ’cause we didn't have the money to finish the film. We compromise all over the place."
Given what we’ve heard regarding Fukunaga’s vision for It, he probably would have had to compromise all over the place. His first drafts deviated heavily from King’s novel and contained heavily sexual subtexts, and it’s hard to imagine Warner Bros. signing off on those decisions.
Nevertheless, Andy Muschietti’s final product was highly successful and harkened back to an age where mainstream horror really connected with audiences. It went on to be the highest-grossing horror film of all time, with an impressive $700 million worldwide box office haul.
It: Chapter 2, from director Andy Muscietti, will release in September 2019, and Cary Fukunaga’s dark comedy Maniac, starring Jonah Hill and Emma Stone, will hit Netflix on September 21, 2018.