IT: Chapter Two Writer Discusses the Challenge of Adapting Stephen King

Gary Dauberman, who penned the Stephen King-inspired IT: Chapter Two and the coming Salem’s Lot remake, says the biggest challenge in adapting the acclaimed novelist’s works lies in appeasing King while preserving as much of each book’s spirit during its journey to the screen.

“There’s a lot of challenging things, but it really is an editing process of like... you know you’re not going to get all the f—ing great scenes in there,” Dauberman told CinemaBlend.

“You know, they always say you have to kill your darlings. But it’s like, [they’re] not. They are my darlings, but I’m such a fan of the books and the scenes, and so it’s a challenge to sort of decide, ‘Okay, well I really like this, but I love that. Is there a way to get the two ideas in there and maybe put it somewhere else?’ It’s one of those things where I tried to preserve as much as I can of the book, in the spirit of the book, and why it works.”

Because King’s novels already “work so well” and carry strong concepts, the task becomes preserving what works when translating it for live-action.

“I mean, there’s books out there that have great concepts, but they’re not executed so well. So you’re like, ‘Well, I like the concept, but I’ll kind of just run with it,’” Dauberman said.

“Or it’s got a good first half, but the second half is not great, so you can depart from it. But these are not those, right? They work so well. There’s a reason they’ve been around as long as they have been. So you’re just working very hard to preserve as much as you can of it and give it the respect it deserves.”

And King, who praised the first chapter of IT but had sharp criticism for The Dark Tower, is who Dauberman hopes to please most.

“Being able to be a part of the team that brings these things to the big screen has been a remarkable experience and a whole hell of a lot of fun. So at the end of the day, man, we’re working on IT or Salem’s Lot, and I just don't want to... I just hope Stephen King likes it,” Dauberman said with a laugh.

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“At the end of the day, if he’s okay with it, then I’m okay with it. That’s kind of what I’m working towards. I’ve talked about keeping my head down and doing the work, and to not try to think about the pressure of when I read this for the first time, or all the fans and all that stuff. You just try to go, ‘Okay, this is a f—ing great book. How can I make this a great movie?’”

IT: Chapter Two opens September 6.

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