Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Let’s talk about the It trailer

The promo for the first episode in the two-part Stephen King adaptation has attracted a lot of attention

Thu, Mar 30, 2017, 18:58


It’s red nose day.

There was a time when we got a Stephen King adaptation every second week. Things have calmed down considerably on that front in recent years. We got a decent TV version of the great man’s 11/22/63 last year and, in 2016, an awful film of his minor novel Cell. It’s been quiet in Kingtown apart from those. Normal service is about to be resumed. In 2017 there will be TV series of Mr Mercedes and The Mist. There’s an oblique movie adaptation of his epic fantasy The Dark Tower along in a few months. Also watch out for Henry Thomas and Carla Gugino in Gerald’s Game. But the King dramatisation that everyone seems to be hot for is the upcoming It. As you will recall, that book is the size of a paving stone. So we should not be surprised to hear that it (or “It”) comes in two parts. Published in 1986, King’s novel tells the story of a small New England town (well, duh?) that is terrorised by an entity that takes the form of a clown.

The TV adaption from 1990 has a peculiar reputation. Nobody much liked it, but many still remember Tim Curry’s malevolent turn with dread and respect. There has been talk of a second take many times over the following decades. At one stage, Cary Fukunaga was attached. He subsequently dropped out, but retains a script credit on the version that we will see in September. The full title is It: Part 1 – The Losers’ Club and it will be directed by the Argentinian Andrés Muschietti.

The social media buzz around the teaser trailer has confirmed quite how many people still savour the thrills of the mighty tome. And the film-makers look to have done a pretty good job of, well, teasing expectations. The trailer hangs around that famous scary opening that draws a young boy towards a storm drain, within which the clownish malignity looms. Bill Skarsgård, son of Stellan, brother of Alexander, takes over red-nose duties. The promo also features that balloon, that catchphrase and a reminder that the spirit of Stephen King — and other 1980s disciples — is still very much about the zeitgeist. Even if Finn Wolfhard, young star of Stranger Things, were not in the shot we would be reminded of that series when the kids gather about their bikes at about 1’22″.

We know nothing of course. The film could follow through on potential or it could fall apart like a clown car. But we can confirm that King is back again. Not that he’d ever really been away.

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