Here are a couple film projects I have a love-hate relationship with. I love the books and the original movies for these classic Stephen King horror tales It and Pet Sematary. I hate that they are going through the Hollywood remake grinder. It would be awesome if they came out the other side being a couple of great horror films, but who knows how they will turn out at this point.
The Stephen King fansite Lijas Library recently conducted an interview with David Kajganich who has been involved with the feature film projects for both Pet Semetary and IT.
On the Pet Semtary remake he had this to say:
After I turned in my first draft, Paramount went through a top-down regime change and I was given a new executive who had creative ideas I just couldn’t stand behind. They wanted to appeal to younger audiences, so there was talk of making a teenaged Ellie the main character, and etc. It was really heartbreaking, but that’s how the process works sometimes. The studio was gracious enough to let me out of my contract and the project was dormant at the studio until very recently.
The current news is that Paramount has restarted the process with a new producer and writer (Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Matt Greenberg; both previously announced). I wish I could tell you something about their approach, or how it’s going, but I’m entirely out of the loop now.
Well, that's a shame. Here's a guy that had the desire to stay true to the vision of Stephen King. Then the evil studio executive comes in and wants to target the movie towards teenagers!? Come on people! Looks like Pet Sematary is on the road to sucking ass.
He goes on to talk about IT and where it currently stands. This update has a much better outcome.
In all of my talks with the studio, it has only ever been discussed as a single feature film. The book's length is clearly more suited to a mini-series—and I understand very well why they went that route the last time around—but I think the book’s content is really more appropriate for cinema. I told the studio from the beginning that I felt I needed to be able to write for an R rating, since I wanted to be as candid as the novel about the terrible things the characters go through as kids. They agreed and off I went.
Awesome! So at least it looks like IT could end up getting a decent feature film adaptation! There was a lot in the book that was not suitable for the TV movie, so it should be interesting and cool to see they new film try and bring all that craziness to the big screen. Kajganich went on to compare the feature film he's working on with the TV movie.
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.
It seems like they are on the right track for IT, and I'm defintely more excited about IT than I am for Pet Sematary. What do you think of the two Stephen King movie remakes?
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