IT CHAPTER TWO
About The Production
Sometimes what we wish was forgotten...
What we tried to leave in the past...
Won't stay there.
Sometimes, IT comes back for you.
At the end of 2017's "IT," the game-changing motion picture adaptation of
quintessential horror novel, the young members of the Losers' Club are sitting
in the sunshine,
days after their defeat of Pennywise in the sewers below. The only ones in Derry
truly aware of
the pernicious evil that nearly annihilated the town, they swear a blood oath to
come back if their
efforts to destroy the malevolent presence weren't successful. If, indeed,
Twenty-seven years later, IT does.
For Andy Muschietti-director of the global phenomenon "IT" and now, the epic
conclusion, "IT Chapter Two"-IT never really left him. While the first film was
busy racking up
critical praise, fan love and record-setting ticket sales, Muschietti had
already plunged headlong
into early pre-production on the final chapter of what was always planned as a
of King's seminal novel.
Reacting to the first movie's astonishing success, the director says, "I've
been with this
project for a long time, shaping it, going through the challenges of that, and
also having a lot of
fun. I had such a strong connection with the process of making the film, it was
hard for me to see
it from the other side. But obviously, it was amazing, and I was incredibly
pleased and really
Muschietti did see, however, the urgency to return to Derry. He continues,
effect in the whole thing was incredible. People became emotionally invested in
and the story, and at the end of the movie, there was a promise of something to
if IT returns, the Losers will, too. I shared the moviegoers' need to see the
second half of the
story, the conclusion. This second chapter is as necessary to tell as the first.
I couldn't have been
more excited to jump in and start imagining what that would be."
For Gary Dauberman, screenwriter of both "IT" and "IT Chapter Two," working on
the bigscreen adaptation of King's monolithic tome was pretty much an
Dauberman attests, "We never really stopped tossing ideas back and forth and
conversation we started on the first film, because I think we just wanted to
keep carrying the
momentum forward. We developed a real sense of ease with one another working on
one, and that really helped the creative process. You always want the freedom to
throw out an
idea that might not work, because that idea may lead to one that does. Andy and
understand that as well, and it makes the collaboration really comfortable and
effortless in a lot
Barbara Muschietti-who produces along with Dan Lin and Roy Lee-adds, "The
over 1,100 pages, and our first film covers maybe 300 of those. We understood
conclusion was going to be a bigger story with twice the amount of characters:
Losers as both
kids and adults. But this film is much, much more in every way. Deeper. Better.
With "IT," filmmakers had chosen to break stylistically from the narrative form
novel-which continually leapfrogs in time-by telling the story of the young
Losers only. This
time around, the screenplay would include events from the summer of 1989 not
revealed, functioning not only as the present-day adults' flashbacks to their
younger selves, but
also filling in the memory gaps almost all the older Losers seem to have.
The director comments, "I love the dialogue between the two timelines in the
book and I
always wanted to include that in the second film. 'IT Chapter Two' is the story
of the Losers as
adults 27 years later, but they go back to their memories to retrieve something
that is very, very
necessary. They have to remember who they were, as well as their amazing bond
In addition to adopting the novel's storytelling structure, Muschietti
increased the King
quotient by including the novelist more directly. He says, "Stephen is very
adaptations, and our communications with him started when we were nearly
finished with the
first chapter. We screened it for him, and he reacted very positively. I didn't
want to let the
chance go by without getting his thoughts for our second film."
King remarks, "I had hopes for the film, but I was not prepared for how good
'IT' was. I
think the best vote of confidence for the second movie is that when the first
movie ended with a
title card that says, 'IT Chapter One,' audiences applauded. They wanted more.
going to get the rest. It's not a sequel; it's the second half of one unified
"I remember when I was working on the novel," the author continues, shifting
was on a walk when I saw this little girl sitting at the side of the road,
drawing in the dust and
talking to herself about the imaginary people in her doodles. I thought, 'What
if it was an adult
doing that?' We understand that kids have a wider perspective. Their
imaginations are unfettered
and as we grow older, it becomes tougher and tougher to hold on to that
imagination. So, what
I really wanted to do with IT was to bring these people back as adults. Having
had this experience
when they were kids, they are the only ones who have a chance to recapture that
capacity they had as children and use that against IT."
Barbara Muschietti initially came across King's expansive novel as a teenager
broadening her imaginative capacity through reading. She recalls, "I read the
book as a 15-yearold, and the story of these 13-year-old characters battling
this horrendous evil, along with
bigotry, sexism and anti-Semitism, really empowered me."
The filmmakers had always been committed to incorporating those themes from
book in the film. She continues, "The soul of Derry is even worse than it was 27
years ago at the
time of 'IT.' The bigotry, hatred, the lack of empathy... This fog is everywhere,
and residents don't
see how bad it is. That's part of the spell. Leaving Derry, your memory of the
town and your time
there fades. But if you stay, your life is deadened, enveloped in this fog.
Horrendous things occur,
but they just don't register."
One such atrocious event is a watershed moment for both King and fans of the
filmmakers were intent upon its inclusion. Barbara Muschietti says, "Part of
King's genius was to
write about this hate crime within a setting as festive as a carnival. It was
his way of reacting to
an actual incident in Bangor, Maine. A lot of fans kept asking, 'Are you going
to include the Adrian
Mellon scene?' Of course, we were always going to. The sequence is jarring and
very hard for the
brain to comprehend-how humans can behave like this, attacking someone for whom
Ultimately, it's essential to understanding Derry, how crazy and blind it is."
Dauberman observes, "Pennywise's influence, even during his slumber, has
hold of the town in ways we didn't see in the first movie. It feels a lot more
hopeless, as if Derry
is making its last dying gasp before fully succumbing to IT. When the Losers
becomes much more desperate to take them out, as he knows they are really the
standing in the way of his fully consuming Derry."
The only woman among the Losers is played by Jessica Chastain, who first
the Muschiettis in 2012, starring in their horror film "Mama." Since then, the
remained good friends.
The actress professes, "I loved the first film and really responded to the
Beverly Marsh, played by Sophia Lillis. She is such a dynamic presence and, in
many cases, is the
most brave. She's seen a lot of darkness in her life and because of that, it
creates a fearlessness
Chastain's castmate, James McAvoy, shared her appreciation of both the first
film and the
novel. McAvoy, who calls himself a "massive" fan of King, responds to not only
the scope of the
writer's works, but also, the larger-than-life themes woven into his stories.
The actor says, "Some
of his books are the kind you can read two or three times. There's so much to
mine out of them.
I read IT when I was 12. There's this battle between an ancient evil and a
group of kids, who then
return to fight it as adults. These seven kids are a magical army, imbued with
this unifying belief.
If believing is the thing that wins the day, a kid has the power to believe way
more than an adult
does. So, going back up against Pennywise 27 years later, the Losers are
hamstrung. As adults,
they no longer believe in magic, they believe in the mundane. The only way they
are going to
defeat IT is by rediscovering themselves as children, again believing in
monsters and challenging
him on his own terms."
Bill Hader, who refers to himself as "a big Stephen King nerd," remembers, "I
knocked out by 'IT.' From the opening scene with Georgie, I thought it was
vivid, gorgeous looking and unbelievably terrifying. It was also emotional and
funny, and had a real pathos. The
young actors were wonderful and incredibly subtle-Andy got great performances
And at the end, when they promise to come back if IT ever returns, I thought,
'Man, that will be
rad! We've got another movie coming up!'" He finishes with a laugh, "I never
beyond, 'Can't wait to see that!'"
Joining McAvoy, Chastain and Hader as adult Losers are Isaiah Mustafa, Jay
Ransone and Andy Bean. Returning in their roles as the younger Losers, in
addition to Lillis, are
Jaeden Martel, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs and
Taylor. Bill Skarsgard is once again Pennywise.
Andy Muschietti says, "All of the actors bring their own energy, their own
of these characters. In Chapter One, we met a bunch of children who are pure and
This is 27 years later and these characters are now broken. Even though they are
their professional and social lives, they're damaged deep inside. They all have
when Mike calls them to say, 'Come home,' some even physical. But there is
something, just the
smoke of a memory, that compels them to take the journey."
King calls that something "faith. There is a change when you become adults.
There is a
tendency to count the cost. There's a natural hesitation from the Losers-it's
hard to leave their
lives and take a chance. But, they not only have faith in each other, they have
faith in this promise
that they made as children. When you face the unknown, if you don't have faith,
The power of these individuals who find a sense of belonging and unity in
had always hit home with Muschietti, who also read the book in his youth. He
says, "It was a story
that spoke to me about experiences I was having. It was a kind of mirror that
showed all of the
awkwardness and insecurities at that age. Reading IT again as an adult, you
understand it from a
different perspective. It is basically a love letter to childhood and talks
about all of the treasures
of that time, like imagination and belief, that are inevitably lost in
adulthood. That's why these
special kids, who now happen to be adults, are the hope in this story."
THE LOSERS ALL GROWN UP
Even before the second chapter was officially announced, the casting of the
was a matter of intense media speculation, some of it fueled by the conjecture
of the young Loser
actors themselves. As it actually turned out, the filmmakers had long been
pondering their wish
list of actors to play the grownups called back to Derry to fulfill their
childhood blood oath.
Barbara Muschietti comments, "Even when we were casting the first film, we
stopped thinking about who the adults would be. There were always two
conditions: one was
that they obviously had to be great actors; and two, they really had to look
like their young
counterparts. I think we wound up with the perfect group of adult Losers."
As far as outward appearances go, most of the grown Losers present as
adults in their lives far from Derry. Bill Denbrough is a best-selling horror
author and screenwriter,
while Beverly Marsh co-owns a women's fashion line with her husband. Richie
Tozier is a popular
stand-up comic, and Ben Hanscom runs his own commercial architecture firm. Eddie
a New York senior risk assessor, and Stanley Uris is an accountant. The only
exception is Mike
Hanlon, who never moved away from his hometown and has been living in the clock
the library, where he works as an assistant librarian.
Outward appearances, however, don't paint the full picture. Dauberman
"When we are reintroduced to the Losers, there is something very incomplete to
don't remember that they're pieces to a puzzle that only takes shape when they
are all together.
So, they all have this missing 'thing,' and what they don't yet understand is
that the thing that's
missing is each other. When they are all called back to Derry and reunite, they
themselves feeling whole again...more like themselves. They are the way they
should be but
haven't been for a very long time."
James McAvoy reflects on the momentous phone call his character, Bill
receives from Mike Hanlon, noting, "What's the worst phone call you can get?
Your kid's been in
an accident. Your parents have died. Take all that and multiply it by a hundred.
remember Mike and he doesn't remember Derry that well-he knows that he's from
it's a blur, really. Mike tells him something has returned and Bill doesn't
really know why, but he
knows he has to go back. And he's suddenly reminded of this incredible,
guilt that he has carried for years. It's the driving force of everything in
Bill's life, his guilt and
feelings of worthlessness. The source of it has never been clear. Is he a
schlocky writer? A bad
husband? At that moment, he finally remembers Georgie and his perceived role in
death. That's the wellspring of everything he's ever felt."
McAvoy came highly recommended for the role of Bill by Jessica Chastain. The
shooting their second project together when the actress dropped a bomb into
McAvoy remembers, "We were having a nice chat, and 'IT' came up in the
discussion. Jess said
something like, 'Oh, Andy Muschietti's my friend. We did a film together.' She
had my attention.
Then she added, 'He wants me to be Beverly Marsh in the next one...um, would you
in playing Bill?' I don't think a second passed before I said, 'I will do that
in a New York minute.' I
got a call a few months later from Andy, and we FaceTimed. He made the case why
I'd be right for Bill, and he was really gracious and complimentary. Of course,
I found out that he
and Barbara are bloody lovely, two of the nicest I've ever worked for."
Jessica Chastain had flashed in the filmmakers' minds for the role of Beverly
Sophia Lillis walked into the audition room in 2016. Chastain reveals, "Andy had
pictures of me next to Sophia, asking, 'What do you think in terms of
resemblance?' When I
watched the first film, I wanted to see whether it worked for me to play Beverly
Marsh as an
adult. I wanted to see who she was as a child in Andy's vision of it."
When Beverly takes the late-night, out-of-the-blue phone call from Mike, she
flooded with emotions, many of them unidentifiable...at first.
The actress says, "Twenty-seven years later, Beverly has long since left
forgotten about her childhood, all of the memories of her past: Pennywise; Bill,
Ben and the
Losers; all of it, including a lot of her strength. She has kept repeating
abusive relationships, like
the one she had with her father as a child. Something shakes her out of that
cycle at the beginning
of the film-she realizes there is a far greater fear than one human being at
home, and she goes
back to Derry to figure it out."
Figuring that out, notes Chastain, leads her character to face not just IT,
but also the
fallout of her upbringing: "Beverly didn't have the safety of her parents-she's
quite a loner. Her
becoming a Loser, joining the group, in some ways it gives Beverly the stability
of a family,
because they become her family. For me, a lot of what this film is is Bev
learning how to love in
a different way. From her relationship with her father, love was defined as
something that was
always difficult, dramatic and complicated-it was never a pure emotion. My wish
for Bev is to
find a peace in herself and allow herself to truly be loved for who she is...and
not have to fight
for it or have anything negative connected to it."
Fellow Loser Richie always found it easier to treat his emotions as a herd of
elephants in the room-to be ignored, no matter how much stampeding occurred. His
deflection by humor has paved the path to standup comedy gold. For the
Hader, his journey to the part of Richie started somewhere near an interview
relates, "I had a couple of friends text me, because I'm not on social media.
They said, 'Hey, do
you know Finn, the kid from "Stranger Things?" He just said he wants you to play
Richie in the
next "IT" movie.' I thought, 'That's sweet, but it probably won't work out.'
Then, my agent called
me. 'There's this young actor named Finn, and he's in the "IT" movie.
recommended you to play the older version of him.' I thought, 'Oh, okay.' Then
my agent said,
'You're going to be having lunch with Andy Muschietti, the director.' Like,
what? this worked? I
met Andy, and he said, 'You know, the reason we are here is because Finn wants
you to play
Richie.' And so, the whole reason I'm in 'IT Chapter Two' is because Finn gave
an interview and
everyone ran with it. Clearly, I need to pay more attention to the internet."
Unlike the others, Richie's emotional reaction to the call home is direct and
says, "He literally pukes everywhere-that's my first scene. Andy and I talked a
lot in the
beginning about Richie being the audience surrogate. Well, at least a
audience member. 'Oh, the killer clown is back? Look, my car's right here!' I
related to Richie,
because he's like me in that aspect. I usually wonder why a character is
sticking around a
dangerous situation. And Richie has always had a lot of denial. There's stuff
about his past that
he's never wanted to face so, of course, he's petrified that that will be what
onto. It's natural that his response would be to run. But even though he's
scared, he stays,
because Losers stick together."
The one Loser who's never run nor ever forgotten a day of his past is Mike
Hanlon. His life
has been one of vigilance. His garret in the clock tower is stuffed with
research, Derry history,
artifacts and papers, all relating to his one reason for existing-to know when
and to have an actionable plan for defeating IT.
Isaiah Mustafa showed his own commitment to the process during the months of
repeatedly flying between Toronto and Los Angeles. After multiple auditions over
the filmmakers wanted to see him one last time-only the request came five hours
was to leave town for his wedding. With the blessing of his bride-to-be, he
delayed his flight a
day, read his last time for the part and flew off for the ceremony the following
day with an early
wedding present-the role of Mike Hanlon.
His role preparation proved to be no less committed, reading King's book four
repeatedly listening to the audiobook. "I just wanted to go through it as many
times as I could to
make sure that I had every nuance of the story," Mustafa states. "I think the
between Mike and the other Losers is his memory of IT. While the others have
gone off, lived
their lives and forgotten, he stayed in Derry and remembered everything. It
became an obsession
with him. He's been researching IT for nearly three decades and his research
never took him too
far from Derry. That kind of singular focus has a price. All the years of
searching for answers,
interviewing townspeople, combing over books and stories and deep-diving into
the internet has
taken its toll on Mike.
"He doesn't believe that Pennywise is really dead. He believes that IT is in
some form of
hibernation," Mustafa elaborates, "which is something the shape-shifter has done
arriving in Derry long ago. Through his research, Mike discovered that there was
an earlier group
of people who fought to defeat Pennywise. He hopes that he and the other Losers
can be more
successful than they were and end IT's cycle."
While Jay Ryan was vying for the part of Ben, he received a particular call
from his agent,
who had a slightly unusual request. Ryan says, "They asked me for a picture of
myself when I was
around 11. They wanted to see how much I resembled Jeremy Ray Taylor, which I
growing up. I really connected to the young Ben at that same age in the book. I
think a lot of us
grow up with some insecurity from childhood, the main one being, is this person
going to like
me? Am I going to make a good impression? To see someone go through that and
that fear incrementally, and become successful in spite of it, is admirable. I
wanted to do that
justice. But, even though he's successful at his business, there's this
inability to really connect
with anyone. He's a loner with a thriving firm and a big home...and a dog. I had
them add that,
because I wanted him to have something."
Ryan, oddly enough, held a job as a clown when he was a teenager, performing
his native New Zealand, and "creating balloon animals for screaming kids in
supermarkets. I can
still make a great teddy bear." He posits that Ben doesn't remember "the torture
and the trauma
of facing off against Pennywise. He remembers the good things, though. That
companionship he felt with the other Losers is something that he's never had
again in his life. In
a way, Ben's been waiting for the call to return to Derry for a long, long time.
Pennywise, for me,
is just the amalgamation of all of the garbage that you carry through life, and
pieces are, they add up to your deepest, darkest fear. The Losers actually need
remind them of their strength."
Barbara Muschietti surmised that James Ransone and Jack Dylan Grazer, the
older and younger versions of Eddie, "with the speed at which they talk and
think, and their
physical resemblance to each other, they must just be the same person...we joked
they met, they would both probably combust." They didn't, but they did
immediately form a
mutual admiration society, with Ransone becoming a mentor to Grazer.
The actor distinctly remembers his childhood reaction to the character of
when he says, "IT scared me and my brother so badly when I was a kid. I took the
off of the book that was out at the time and I photocopied, enlarged it and I
plastered it beside
my brother's bed. It terrified him, and he never forgave me for it. He even
brought it up when I
got this part.
"Reading the book this time around," Ransone remarks, "the scary stuff wasn't
supernatural elements, but the fact that all of these characters were in their
40s, and none of
them had children. First part of the story, these kids have unlimited potential,
their futures ahead
of them. Then, this huge event sidelines them. Time creeps up on them, and their
gone. They are whatever they have become. That's what I was really left with. As
far as playing
Eddie, though, what I was most concerned with was filling Jack Dylan Grazer's
Andy Bean, who portrays the adult Stanley, had a similar thorny relationship
horrifying creation. Bean recounts, "Of all of the scary creatures in books and
was the most traumatizing for me as a kid. I couldn't go to bed for an entire
While memories of the horrific clown were hard for the young Bean to shake,
it is an
entirely different case with his character. Bean says, "Stanley has done an
amazing job in
forgetting. He and his wife live this ordered life, which is imperative, because
he's always been
upset when things aren't ordered, when they're not as they should be. When he
was a kid, he
was constantly asking questions, double-checking and triple-checking. 'Are you
sure? Are you
absolutely sure?' That behavioral trait comes out in him as an adult, when
things don't make
sense, are not following expected order. When Mike calls, it's almost like he's
trying to buy time,
and he comes back at him with questions. This isn't following the rules. It's
like he's been terrified
of this call for 27 years and, somehow, knew inevitably that it was coming."
To include the time jumps back to 1989, Muschietti says his goal was to
flashbacks "into the main plot and the journeys of each of the Losers, not just
have them exist as
character scenes. For example, we see Ben as a lonely boy, afraid of ending his
days alone. We
get a glimpse of Beverly, where it's clear that she loves her father, despite
his treatment of her.
These behaviors play out all through their lives, with relapses and cycles that
become worse and
worse. But, they have an origin in something specific, something we didn't know
about the Losers
as children and something we haven't seen until now."
To accomplish this, of course, required the return of the young Losers...by
then, not as
young by three years. Barbara Muschietti acknowledges, "Physically, most of them
radically, and we knew we were going to employ some de-aging techniques for the
"They're all really amazing kids," she says, "like Ferraris, so fast and
brilliant, and they all
found each other on the first film. Having them back, we could literally watch
them regress to
their 13-year-old selves. They're now all young adults with strong careers, but
together, they return to that summer and they're all still kids...burping on each
other, just having
a great time. I love that and hope they never lose it."
Speaking for the young Losers, Sophia Lillis offers, "We all remember
shooting the first
film so vividly. It wasn't just my first studio film, it was everyone's first.
None of us had to go
through that experience alone. Having everyone around, all of us learning how
together-it was nice and we had a blast. Now, our adult versions are coming to
us and saying,
'We hope we do well by you.' We kind of thought the same thing on the first
film. We showed
up, worked really hard and did our parts, and we were the ones hoping that we
were doing it
well. I think the reason that bond between us showed up onscreen was because we
were all new,
sharing these feelings and going through this amazing experience together."
After filming "IT," the teen actors kept in regular contact. Finn Wolfhard,
who returns as
Richie, remembers, "We'd heard rumors, mostly from each other, that they were
going to bring
us back. We later went for dinner with Andy and Barbara, and they confirmed that
we would be
a part of the second movie, without much specifics. Then, one of us would see
mention a scene that we were going to be in, and that got around. We were
piecing it together,
really, until we got the official email. Our scenes turned out to be flashbacks
that actually tell
more about our characters, stuff that audiences don't really know about, until
Chapter Two. Of
course, it was great being back together on the set. But what was really cool
was us getting to
tell a bigger story about that summer."
Wyatt Oleff, younger Stanley, surmises, "I think as 12- and 13-year-olds, a
lot of the
Losers-before Pennywise, anyway-had a lot of normal fears for that age, all very
carefree. But once they come back as adults, they have a lot more
responsibilities, a lot more to
lose. They are risking their lives. Before, it was more about surviving. For
them to come back
together, risk everything, because of an oath they made when they were 13?
That formative experience of being in the Losers' Club together is what sets
members on their life paths. Andy Muschietti comments, "'Loser' carried a bad
the characters meet, but they chose to call themselves the Losers' Club,
implying a sense of
communion and a shared strength. When the adults return after 27 years of being
they pursue their lives and careers, they realize that there was nothing more
substantial in terms of emotion than being part of that club. That's what they
mean when they
say, 'We're Losers...and we always will be."
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