The True Detective director began working on the New Line revamp of the Stephen King classic in 2012 and poured over details of the script with co-writer Chase Palmer, with a view to adapting It into two films.

He walked away from the movie in May (15) amid reports suggesting he had clashed with studio chiefs after refusing to compromise his artistic vision following a budget slash.

Now Fukunaga is opening up about the failed venture, insisting his exit had nothing to do with finances.

Instead, the director reveals New Line executives' refusal to let him make an "unconventional horror film" and develop child-preying creature Pennywise the clown as an in-depth character prompted him to rethink his involvement in the reboot.

He tells, "Our budget was perfectly fine... It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn't care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn't want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. 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.

"Every little thing was being rejected... Our conversations weren't dramatic. It was just quietly acrimonious."

The frosty feedback surprised the filmmaker because King himself had already expressed his approval of an earlier version of the script.

New Line bosses have since recruited Mama filmmaker Andy Muschietti as Fukunaga's replacement, and they're starting afresh with the screenplay.

Fukunaga adds, "We invested years and so much anecdotal storytelling in it. Chase and I both put our childhood in that story. So our biggest fear was they were going to take our script and bastardise it. So I'm actually thankful that they are going to rewrite the script.

"I wouldn't want them stealing our childhood memories and using that. I mean, I'm not sure if the fans would have liked what I would had done. I was honouring King's spirit of it, but I needed to update it. King saw an earlier draft and liked it."

Meet the Millers star Will Poulter had previously been cast as creepy clown Pennywise, the character originally portrayed by Tim Curry in the 1991 TV mini-series, but he has also reportedly exited the project.