It's no surprise to see director Cary Fukunaga take off now directing more mainstream projects. After his little-seen but brilliant, gritty Mexican gang drama "Sin Nombre" debuted in 2009, his painterly eye as a director manifested fully with "Jane Eyre" starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. Both movies confirmed Fukunaga's own prescient self-assessment that he frequently gravitates to projects about troubled childhoods and the repercussions of that into adulthood.
Though perhaps that theme diverges in Fukunaga's other awaited project, Civil War heist film "No Blood, No Guts, No Glory," the director isn't going to stop with his troubled childhood themes. Now that Fukunaga is attached to direct and co-write a new cinematic take on Stephen King's "It," he may have the largest canvas and stage he'll ever need to explore troubled teens who turn into troubled adults. But it'll likely be Fukunaga's vision, not Stephen King's.
For King, that could be a problem; the author's adversarial relationship with Stanley Kubrick while making "The Shining" is the stuff of Hollywood legend. Perhaps Kubrick can stand alone in a having a more singular cinematic vision over any other director since, but Fukunaga clearly has definitive ideas in exploring different angles to what happens to troubled kids psychologically.
It's also clear that "It" had to be remade after the relatively known 1990 TV miniseries adaptation went decidedly its own way. For those who remember that TV movie 22 years ago, you'd remember the excellent cast of very recognizable TV actors who seemed to be tapping into dark sides they hadn't explored in their other TV work. Some of them were comedians, with Harry Anderson, John Ritter, and Tim Reid playing dramatically -- and very convincingly.
You also had the perfect casting of Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown, the human manifestation of the creature It. There really haven't been many creepy clown characters you can name in a horror movie that don't scare you as much as Pennywise. Had it not been for Curry and his ominously oval, white makeup face in the film, it perhaps wouldn't have succeeded.
Along with the troubled kids in the movie, Fukunaga is going to have to find the perfect face for Pennywise as the catalyst toward exploring those kids' psychological trauma at the hand (or tentacle) of It. Once that key role is set, it's fair to say we'll be in for the deepest portrait of the "Losers Club" of Derry, Maine, since the book. However, as Mia Wasikowska did so brilliantly in Fukunaga's "Jane Eyre," he needs young actors who can subtly project to audiences how much trouble is in their heads.
Wasikowska obviously won't be in Fukunaga's "It" due to a new commitment of making three films a year. Not that the casting stops there, what with Fukunaga making "It" into an apparent two-part movie. That alone complicates the process, requiring at least 20 actors to play all the parts at different ages.
You also have the complications of trying to market a two-part movie, even though it might be an easier sell today due to how well it's worked with other franchises. "It" deserves an epic treatment in the movies based on it still holding up as this country's most grandiloquent, insightful study of childhood fears ever written in the horror genre.
That a fantastical creature could instigate more psychological fear to teens than Mexican gangs in "Sin Nombre" tells us that Fukunaga has moved up in his career.
Find showtimes and tickets near you on Yahoo! Movies.