Cary Joji Fukunaga was lined up to direct It, the killer clown movie based on Stephen King’s book. However, he left the project three weeks before production was set to begin, with Andy Muschietti coming aboard to direct, and now Fukunaga has shed some additional light on what happened.
Fukunaga told The Hollywood Reporter that he spent four or five years working with Warner Bros. on It, and he also wrote the script. But when the project moved to New Line, right before production was set to begin, Fukunaga walked away over creative differences.
“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,” he said. “I think they wanted to do something more [pure horror] like Annabelle [from the Conjuring films]. That was essentially the disconnect.”
Fukunaga was listed as a credited writer on It, despite everything that happened. Muschietti wrote and directed a new version for New Line, and it was a box office smash in 2017, earning more than $700 million globally. A sequel, which was less successful commercially and with critics, came out in 2019.
According to Fukunaga, it was only a matter of creative differences that led to his exit from the It movie, not anything related to his behavior. “If I was a difficult director, they wouldn’t necessarily want to be working with me,” Fukunaga said of producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee, with whom he continues to collaborate with.
Fukunaga’s next movie is the James Bond film No Time To Die, which premieres in the UK on September 30 and in the US on October 8–tickets are on sale now. As for Muschietti, he is directing the DC movie The Flash.