Romero *almost* made more movies than he did make over the years.
You may remember that Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective”) was originally attached to direct this year’s feature adaptation of Stephen King’s IT – of course, that didn’t work out, which led to Andy Muschietti (Mama) being brought in to take over. Similarly, the man who was originally set to direct the ’90 mini-series dropped out after spending quite some time working on it.
That man? George freakin’ Romero?!
We tip our hats to Movie Pilot for bringing to our attention an interview with writer Lawrence D. Cohen that hit the website Coming Soon last year – we somehow totally missed the interview at the time, which is why we’re only now getting around to uncovering the juiciest little tidbit that was spilled in it. Cohen, who wrote the 1990 adaptation, recalled working with Romero on the project for nearly a year before Tommy Lee Wallace (Halloween 3) took over the reins!
Cohen explained to the site:
At that point, the sky was the limit there was no restriction as to how many hours the miniseries was going to be 8, 10, even 12 – and the guys already had George Romero in mind to direct. I thought he was a genius match for this particular piece. As the creator of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, he was an amazing talent in his own right, and given his prior King association with CREEPSHOW, he was a natural and sexy choice that further psyched me about wanting to do the project.
I then worked with Romero on the project for the better part of a year, and that was incredibly gratifying to have the director whos actually going to make the piece involved that early in the writing process, especially a director like George who also had a first-rate screenwriters mind. We both quickly and excitedly realized that the book lent itself to what was then the exact miniseries format dividing up every night of two hours into seven acts, which turned out to be perfect because there were seven main characters in Steves story as kids and then as adults, and each could have his or her (in Bevs case) own little act.
He continued, revealing why Romero left:
George and I worked on a Bible for the piece laying out the entire story as a detailed blueprint with act breaks and everything. When we began, the plan was to run 10 hours. A little at a time, the network lost its nerve and cut back from 10 to 8 which started to worry us. While many miniseries are too long and outstay their welcome, this was IT – a horror magnum opus that deserved no, demanded – a marathon rather than a sprint. Four nights felt just about perfect still an event – only for us to learn it would now be six. At that point, we lost Romero who felt we were diluting the heft of what made IT Kings IT that if there ever was a case for more is more, IT was it!
Romero instead released Two Evil Eyes in 1990, a collaboration with Dario Argento.