Update on Stephen King’s ‘It’ Remake
Lilja: You are also working on a remake of IT, how did that happen?
David Kajganich: When I heard Warner Bros. was going to give the novel a go theatrically, I went after the job hard. I knew the studio was committed to adapting IT as a single film, so I went back and reread the novel to see if I thought this was even possible, and to try to find a structure that would accommodate such a large number of characters in two different time periods, around 120 pages, which was another of the studio’s stipulations.
Had I not worked with the producers before, I might have been more tentative about trying to pull off such a massive undertaking, but I’d worked with Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and Doug Davison on our original version of The Invasion, and I knew they would fight for good storytelling, and would also give me the time I needed to work out a solid first draft, which they did. They really went to bat for that. We’ve done some tinkering with it and I am just about to turn that draft in to the studio, so we’ll soon know a lot more.
Lilja: What will be different in your version of IT compared to the TV series?
David Kajganich: I think the biggest difference is that we’re working with about two-thirds the onscreen time they had for the miniseries. That sounds dire, I know, but it doesn’t necessarily mean two-thirds the amount of story. I’m finding as many ways as I can to make certain scenes redundant by deepening and doubling others. To me, this is an interesting process because it has the effect of thematically intensifying the whole, but it can lead to dramatic surprises. Certain scenes I thought would be crucial to the coherence of the whole ended up cut, while other scenes, which were somewhat cursory in the book, ended up being pivotal in the script.
I know I’m being vague, but there’s not a lot I can tell you at this point about the specifics, since we’re still very much in development on it. I’ll just say for now that we’re really swinging for the fences.
Lilja: I guess it’s pretty hard to translate such a massive book to a movie.
David Kajganich: It’s been an enormous challenge, yes, but the rewards for me as a writer have been just as big. I’ve looked at every word of the book many times and I’ve spent months working with the text, uncovering all of the connections and nuances. In a way, it’s like taking a look inside Stephen King’s head, which is fascinating. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about story-telling, and from a master.
But I know how collaborative the filmmaking process is, and how many cooks will soon begin coming into the kitchen, so I’m really trying to enjoy being in this world more or less alone for the moment.