Fans of Stephen King's IT know that one big difference between the source novel and new movie is the era the story is set in. The first part of King's novel is set in the town of Derry in the 1950s, while the IT movie updates that chronology to have the story take place in 1980s Derry.
While doing the press tour for IT, we here at Popculture.com got to sit down with director Andy Muschietti and discuss the decision to change the era when the story takes place, and why it made sense for his re-imagining of the story. You can read his explanation below, or watch the full interview above!
According to Muschietti:
"Well the exciting part was that I was given total freedom to explore whatever I wanted. New Line was very receptive of my pitch and my vision; but part of my vision was also staying true to the original novel... But then again, making it in the '80s implied that there would be some re-imagination, because I didn't grow up in the '50s like Stephen King did. He's so passionate about like descriptions and details of growing up in the '50s...
So for me, the idea of making in the '80s it was not like the fad or a trend thing, it was about being able to look into my own life and growing up, and my own experience, and creating some fears that connected more to my childhood, so that they would be different, and surprising, and more layered, if you will."
Though it's always a risk for a filmmaker to make a big change to an adaptation of beloved source material, it's also a worthwhile risk, in that the changes create a cinematic experience that can be surprising and new even for hardcore fans of the source material.
So far, it seems most viewers (even the hardcore King-heads) approve of how Muschietti has re-imagined the Losers Club as '80s kids, or the new ways Pennywise manifests the kids' fears. The change also sets the upcoming IT sequel to be set in modern times, which will probably play a lot better with audiences.
IT is now in theaters, and the sequel has already been greenlit for production. Be sure to read (or watch) our official IT review.