No Time to Die director Cary Joji Fukunaga revealed his inspiration for his latest Bond film draws not from action films, but those of horror. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal (h/t IndieWire), he wanted to make the film's opening to feel more like a psychological thriller, specifically evoking his IT adaptation from the Stephen King work that was scrapped. Unlike previous Bond films, which has 007 engaging multiple different action scenes and grandiose stunt work, Fukunaga's No Time to Die features as slow-paced, visually arresting, subtitled with dialogue in French, and entirely Bond-free focusing more on his love interest Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) and her traumatic childhood. "Safin (Rami Malek), wearing a Japanese Noh mask, kills her mother, pursues Madeleine through the home, and hunts her down on a frozen lake. 'Some clown chasing a child around the house," Fukunaga says with a laugh. "Yeah, it's like I brought back It in the first five minutes of Bond."
Fukunaga was attached to the original theatrical release before he left over creative differences and Andy Muschietti took over. "They didn't want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares," Fukunaga said. "I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don't think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive."
Fukunaga went into his understanding of Pennywise and the psychology of the character. "The main difference was making Pennywise more than just the clown," he continued. "After 30 years of villains that could read the emotional minds of characters and scare them, trying to find really sadistic and intelligent ways he scares children, and also the children had real lives prior to being scared. And all that character work takes time. It's a slow build, but it's worth it, especially by the second film. But definitely, even in the first film, it pays off."
The director said he understood the decision behind MGM and Eon delaying No Time to Die's release. "I look at it unemotionally right now…There are so many bigger things happening. I have friends who are losing businesses, restaurants, and other friends who have lost family members. The film will come out when it's right. and it will perform in the context of this new world, in which no one really can define what success or failure means." No Time to Die, which is co-written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, also stars Ana De Armas, Ben Whishaw, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Christoph Waltz, Jeffrey Wright, and Lashana Lynch. The film is slated to hit theatres on April 2, 2021.