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Director Cary Fukunaga Talks Throwing Out Scripts for ‘Maniac’ and His Exit From ‘It’

Director Cary Fukunaga was candid in an interview with GQ about being out of the public eye for nearly four years while he struggled to bring projects to fruition.

“Between directing ‘Beasts of No Nation’ and directing ‘Maniac,’ it was three and a half years of no production,” Fukunaga told GQ. Time “vaporized. Just gone. And without a break. I was working the entire time. “You’re like, ‘I’m in the prime of my directing life.’ That’s a long time.”

Fukunaga, an Emmy winner for his work on season 1 of HBO’s “True Detective,” addressed his reputation for being difficult to work with and his abrupt departure from the 2017 movie “It” and TNT’s “The Alienist.” Now Fukunaga is back in the spotlight with the upcoming Netflix series “Maniac,” which he directed and co-wrote.

The series, which stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, follows two patients in a pharmaceutical drug trial. Three months before “Maniac” was to go into production, he and co-writer Patrick Somerville threw half of their scripts away and started over.

“That was me. I was saying this wasn’t good enough. We need to look at this again and tear it apart and go again,” Fukunaga said. “Maniac” premieres Sept. 21 on Netflix.

“I realized I have a tendency to make things harder than they need to be,” he said. “Having fun with genre and not worrying too much about production value went out the door the moment I started conceiving of ideas. Everyone was concerned. It made it hard to budget, it made it hard to schedule. But it was the right move.”

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