New Line and “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga have found their “It.”
Sources tell Variety that Will Poulter (“We’re the Millers”) is in negotiations to play Pennywise, the evil monster who lured in children disguised as a clown, in the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s horror classic.
Fukunaga will direct “It,” which will be split into two feature films.
The original story followed a group of outcast kids who come together over summer break to take on the monster that’s haunting their town, battling their own personal monsters in the process.
King’s popular book was made into a TV miniseries in 1991 starring John Ritter and Tim Curry, who played the clown in terrifying fashion. A film adaptation was never undertaken given the size of the King novel, but Fukunaga has been very vocal recently that the latest script will stay true to the King story while also giving the film a new look.
Fukunaga penned the screenplay along with Chase Palmer. Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are also producing through their KatzSmith banner while Dan Lin and Roy Lee are also producing.
Niija Kuykendall, Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada are overseeing for Warner Bros. and New Line. Production will begin this summer.
After considering older actors like Mark Rylance and Ben Mendelsohn for the Pennywise role, New Line wanted to take a different route and go younger. New Line also distributed Poulter’s “We’re the Millers,” which co-starred Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis.
Sources say in the end, Fukunaga could not say no after being blown away by Poulter’s audition for the part and felt he was the right choice for the role.
While the role is dark and evil, sources say Poulter is more than capable of taking on the character especially after his work on New Regency’s “The Revenant,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In the Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu film, he plays one of the robbers who leaves DiCaprio for dead after he is mauled in the wilderness by a bear. Insiders who have seen early footage feel that Poulter, 22, is more than ready for a villainous lead.
Since the original novel ran at about 900 pages and spanned several decades, the plan is for New Line to shoot one movie focusing on the protagonists as kids and another focusing on them as adults. Fukunaga has scripts for both ready, with Poulter appearing in both films, making him the star of the project.
He can be seen next in “The Revenant,” which opens on Christmas Day, and is attached to “Yellowbirds” opposite Tye Sheridan.
He is repped by WME, Hamilton Hodell and Pippa Beng and Donna Mills in the U.K.