Writer, by The Black PhoneJoe Hill had to make some major changes to change things from Stephen King’s This one. Apparently, Hill’s killer character “The Grabber” was originally going to be a part-time clown.
At the time, Hill wasn’t sure when it was going to be released, so it became a huge deal. he didn’t want to This one in theaters at the same time as The Black Phone – especially with both killers being clowns in some capacity. So at that point, Hill turned The Grabber into a magician.
“We had a lot of creative input, which is — I don’t know if we want to get into the weeds. I had a lot of creative input, which was when I read the first draft, it was very, very true to the story, and in the short story, when Finney is kidnapped by The Grabber, the guy shows up as a part-time clown. Hill told Screenrant. “He was still a part-time clown in the movie, in the script, which was kind of a natural progression, because the character kind of echoes John Wayne Gacy’s crimes. But I read the script and, I don’t remember if THIS ONE came out at that time or was just about to come out, and I said, “Guys, I don’t think he can be a part-time clown, not with Pennywise about to explode into the American consciousness. I think there’s only room for a deadly clown. What if we made him a part-time magician instead?’”
This is a huge change from what Hill originally wanted, but I can appreciate the change, especially to change any resemblance to anything King and Hill might have gone through.
Synopsis for The Black Phone it goes like this:
Finney Shaw is a shy but intelligent 13-year-old boy who is kept in a soundproof basement by a sadistic, masked killer. When a disconnected phone on the wall starts ringing, he soon discovers he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims – and they’re out to make sure what happened to them doesn’t happen to Finney.
The Black Phone is currently available on Blu-ray.