Would this have been awesome or a bit too distracting?
As soon as we learned that New Line was re-adapting Stephen King’s IT and bumping the timeline up to the ’80s, it immediately crossed our mind that Pennywise *could* take the form of another New Line icon, Freddy Krueger. After all, the novel’s Pennywise takes the form of movie monsters that were popular in the ’50s…
The bulk of the story in Andy Muschietti’s IT is set in 1989, hot on the heels of A Nightmare on Elm Street: Dream Child being released. In fact, a theater marquee in one scene advertises that Dream Child is playing in Derry. So it would’ve made perfect sense that one of the kids had seen the film, and was terrified of Freddy Krueger.
As it turns out, Muschietti did consider a Freddy cameo. In a chat with Ain’t It Cool News this week, he revealed why he ultimately decided against it.
“Obviously we considered that for a bit, but I wasn’t too interested in bringing Freddy Krueger into the mix,” Muschietti told the site. “I love the story and I love how Stephen King basically makes a portrait of childhood in the ’50s. He’s very genuine when he brings all the Universal Monsters to the repertoire of incarnation because that’s what kids were afraid of. It would be a natural path to try to recreate that in the ’80s, but I really wasn’t too crazy about bringing stuff like Freddy Krueger into the story. I thought it was a bit too meta with New Line involved in the film. It’s distracting and it didn’t feel right, for some reason.”
He continued, “I wanted to bring fears that were a little more layered and related to childhood trauma and more surprising in general. I think that Stephen King was open to that. When he saw the film I basically wrote a letter to him asking him for forgiveness for having taken so many licenses, especially with the many different incarnations of Pennywise. He said ‘Don’t worry about it. All the changes are great!'”
As cool as it would’ve been to see Pennywise take the form of Freddy, I kind of love that IT doesn’t prey upon nostalgia in ways you’d expect. Instead of hammering us over the head with homages, Muschietti instead focused on telling the best story/making the best film possible, and I think that really shows in the finished product.
Still though, what could have been was pretty damn awesome.