31 Days of Dreadtober(2017): Andy Muschietti's Road To IT
IT(2017) just won’t stop making money and continues to make headlines, although it’s been weeks since its release weekend. It’s my sincere belief that a large part of that success is owed to director Andres Muschietti, often credited as Andy Muschietti. Whether you liked the movie or not, Muschietti’s technical skills and prowess with a camera are not up for debate. Though skilled, Muschietti is not a director well known to audiences outside the cinephile and horror communities. He only has two major motion picture’s credited to his name as a director. Today we’ll be looking at how this relatively little-known director wound up making the highest grossing (domestically) horror film of all time.
A mother’s love is forever.
A young couple takes custody of their two nieces who have gone feral after spending five years alone in the woods. When paranormal events start occurring in their home, they begin to suspect that an antagonistic, maternal spirit the girls call Mama has latched on to the children and won’t let them go without a fight…
2013’s Mama marks Muschietti’s first major motion picture, but do you know the story behind the film? Mama started out as a short film released by Muschietti all the way back in 2008. The short caught the attention of director Guillermo Del Toro, who recognized the technical skill that went into the making of the short and thought it contained some of the scariest sequences he’d ever seen. Del Toro decided to produce a big screen adaptation with Muschietti at the helm as director. The film came out to mostly positive reviews and debuted at #1 at the box office, going on to be a commercial success, making almost $150 million worldwide on a $15 million budget.
I rewatched the film for the purpose of this article and there is a lot of Mama in the new IT. It has a hint of Guillermo Del Toro’s whimsical, fairytale style with Muschietti’s signature camera work. I especially loved how Muschietti was able to incorporate the sequence from his short into the film.
Mama Short Film
2013’s Mama: Hallway Sequence
The 4 Years Between Mama and IT
After the success of Mama in 2013, Universal Pictures hired Muschietti for their planned reboot of the Mummy franchise. Muschietti would later leave the project in 2014 citing creative differences. That’s diplomatic Hollywood speak for “People were messing with my shit.” The Mummy, which released earlier this year, wound up being helmed by Alex Kurtzman. From there, Muschietti’s name gets pinned to a number of productions that would end up in development hell such as an adaptation of the novel The Bird Box, the He-Man and Masters of The Universe reboot, and the adaptation of the legendary video game, Shadow of The Colossus.
In an interview at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 with ColliderVideos, Muschietti was specifically asked about the four-year gap between Mama and IT. He explained that a lot of the projects for one reason or another just didn’t work out, although he had been particularly excited by the prospect of working on a big screen adaptation of Shadow of the Colossus. He also said he was particular about choosing the projects he wanted to work on, which I think really worked out for his benefit.
Now IT is making money hand-over-fist and it is no secret that Hollywood loves a director that can make them money. With the second part slated for a 2019 release, we will continue to see big things from Muschietti.
Here’s the ColliderVideos interview for those interested.