Now that The Dark Tower has arrived to what we’ll politely call a tepid response from critics and audiences alike, many are looking ahead to next month, and what’s rapidly becoming one of late 2017’s most anticipated movies at large: IT.
For years, Stephen King has weighed in on adaptations of his work, whether it’s his kind words for many or his sustained dislike for Stanley Kubrick’s highly liberal re-imagining of The Shining. But he’s often been given the chance to be involved at some level of consulting, even if only in name, or in at least getting to watch a King-based film before its release. (Most recently, he told Dark Tower director Nikolaj Arcel that “as far as I’m concerned, you have remembered the face of your father,” so take that with whatever grains of salt you might.) It’s hardly obligatory that King be any more involved in adaptations of his work than any other writer of source material, but it’s worth mentioning that few commonly adapted authors have the staunch cult following that King enjoys.
(Read: Stephen King in Five Films)
His stamp of approval still carries some weight for many Constant Readers, which is why one observation he made about IT during a recent Variety interview might come as a surprise. While discussing the upcoming TV adaptation of his recent novel Mr. Mercedes, King had this to say about the update of his classic Derry horrorshow:
“I wasn’t involved at all. I wished them well. Geez, I don’t even think they sent me any swag from that one! But maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve seen it, it’s fabulous.”
Again, King tends to be effusive about the vast majority of his adaptations, at least all of those not named Maximum Overdrive and delivered by his own hand. (This isn’t shade, on the record. Maximum Overdrive should be protected in the Smithsonian.) But given the general success-failure ratio of King adaptations, with or without the author’s presence on/around the set, it might be for the best that director Andy Muschietti executes his own vision. IT will be released on September 8th, and King will probably continue to see his work adapted in droves, for at least as long as Stranger Things maintains its quality.