The Entire It Story Finally Explained
The 2017 film It was a sensation. The movie, based on the 1986 Stephen King novel of the same name, set records upon its release with the biggest-ever opening weekend for both a horror movie and for the month of September on its way to becoming the highest-grossing horror film of all time. But the movie only adapted half of King's wildly popular and notoriously long novel, meaning that a sequel to It was a sure thing. Now, that sequel — It: Chapter Two — is here, and the new film completes the epic story that began with its predecessor..
The novel It is told in a nonlinear fashion and describes a group of seven friends known as the Losers' Club who are tormented by a malevolent child-eating supernatural entity at two points in their lives: once as children, and again 27 years later as adults. The first It movie dealt only with the children's story, while the sequel tells the adults' tale while also weaving in some new information about their childhoods via flashbacks. It is a complex story in which a lot of things happen, and at times things get a bit confusing. But don't worry about getting lost in the story — we're here to explain everything you need to understand the full story of It .
In the beginning
In It: Chapter 2 , Pennywise is revealed to have arrived in Derry millions of years ago on an asteroid, implying that It is an evil alien. No more details are given about its origins in the film, but that's what King's original novel is for. In the book, It is billions of years old, having originated in another dimension outside of our universe known as the Macroverse . In prehistoric times, It came to Earth on an asteroid, landing in the place that would millions of years later become Derry, Maine. It hibernated until humans appeared, and then began a cycle of awakening every 27 years to feed on them because it is driven only by its desire to consume. It can take on any form, but its favorite eventually became that of Pennywise the clown. Its true form, known as the Deadlights, cannot be fully comprehended by human beings — the closest we can get is a giant spider — and looking upon them will drive a person insane. Beverly Marsh managed to glimpse them in the first film and make it out with her sanity, though she was cursed with visions of the Losers' collective demise.
As strange as Pennywise is, its mortal enemy is even more bizarre: A giant turtle named Maturin who also hails from the Macroverse and who created our universe. The turtle is a being of creation rather than consumption, and acts as a guardian of reality. Given the turtle's strangeness and complexity, the It films opted to omit Maturin from their version of the story.
You'll float, too
The story of It picks up in 1988 (bumped up from 1958 in the novel) when 7-year-old Georgie Denbrough ventures out into a rainstorm to play with a paper sailboat that his older brother Bill made for him. The boat gets away from Georgie, and ends up journeying down the street until it ends up in a storm drain. After chasing it, Georgie attempts to fish the boat out, only to discover that there is a clown in the storm drain as well. Though Georgie doesn't know it, this clown is the evil entity Pennywise, who has just awoken from its most recent 27-year slumber.
Pennywise entices Georgie — whose name it mysteriously knows — to come into the sewer, promising not only to give him his boat back, but also by telling him that an entire circus is waiting for him in the sewer. Georgie gets a little suspicious, but he still wants his boat back, so when Pennywise offers it to him, the kid goes for it. And for his trouble? Georgie gets his arm bitten off and then he's dragged into the sewer to be consumed by Pennywise. No one in Derry knows what happened to Georgie, and the town eventually moves on, assuming that he simply drowned. Bill, however, becomes determined to find out what happened to his brother.
Meet the Losers
The Losers' Club is the name of Bill's group of friends, wherein he acts as their de facto leader. Along with Bill, the club's original members are Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris, with three more members added near the start of the first film: Ben Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, and Mike Hanlon. Everyone in the group is an outcast in their own way. Bill has a stutter, Beverly is rumored at school to be promiscuous, Ben is overweight, Mike is essentially the only black kid in town, Stan is a weakling, Richie is a loudmouth who wears thick glasses, and Eddie is sickly. The gang bonds over the fact that they're all "losers" — hence the group's name — and they spend the entire summer together following Georgie's disappearance the previous fall.
Though they aren't all aware of it initially, a number of the Losers' Club are also suffering from some sort of private trauma. Beverly's father is extremely abusive both physically and, it's strongly implied, sexually, which makes the bullying she receives for her nonexistent promiscuity all the more hurtful. Eddie has an extremely overprotective mother who refuses to let him do anything on his own, and makes him believe he's sick when he's not. Mike is an orphan whose parents burned alive — an event he witnessed firsthand. And Bill, of course, is still mourning the disappearance of his little brother, for which he feels guilty.
A love triangle
A few of the Losers are more than just friends. Or, at least, they hope to be. Over the course of the first film, both Ben and Bill develop feelings for Beverly . Ben is the first to develop a major crush, going so far as to write Beverly a love poem from a secret admirer in which he tells her that her "hair is winter fire." Beverly cherishes the poem and comes to believe Bill wrote it, and as a result, develops feelings for him — much to Ben's chagrin. Even after discovering that Ben was her mystery poet after he revives her from her Deadlights-induced coma with a kiss, Beverly is unable to dismiss her feelings for Bill, and at the conclusion of the first film, Beverly and Bill kiss.
In It: Chapter Two , this love triangle continues through adulthood. In the book, following the Losers' Club's initial defeat of Pennywise, the group all go their separate ways. In the ensuing 27 years until Pennywise returns, a number of them go through major changes, but none greater than Ben. He physically transforms from an overweight kid to a wealthy and attractive man, and Beverly certainly notices when the gang reunites as adults — but it's still Bill she pines for. In the book, this translates into Bill and Bev sleeping together (even though they're both married), but in It: Chapter 2 , they only share a kiss. Then, during the final battle with Pennywise, Bev finally realizes her feelings for Ben, and the two end up together.
Not a good place to grow up
Following the disappearance of Georgie, other children go missing in Derry, such as Eddie Corcoran and Betty Ripsom. This leads the Losers to believe that something is amiss in their town, and they're right. Before becoming a Loser himself, Ben begins researching the town's history, and finds that that murders and disappearances seem to spike in the town every 27 years at a rate six times the national average — for adults. After joining the Losers' Club and learning how they're trying to find out what happened to Georgie, Ben tells his new friends that the murder and disappearance rate for children in the town is much, much worse than the already high rate for adults. But it's not always Pennywise who directly causes the killings. His evil influence infects the town whenever he awakes, causing violence and hate crimes to spike.
In the novel, the role of town historian belongs to Mike rather than Ben. Mike first learns of the town's sordid history from his father, who kept a photo album filled with pictures of Derry's history that consequently features a number of photos of Pennywise; some from many decades earlier. As an adult, Mike is the only Loser to stay behind in Derry after the rest of his friends part ways, becoming the town librarian and furthering his knowledge about the most messed up little town in New England.
Pennywise the Dancing Clown
One by one, the Losers draw the attention of Pennywise. It appears to each of them separately, first appearing as one of their worst fears before showing them its clown form. Bill sees Georgie in his basement, Mike sees burning bodies trying to escape a building, Eddie sees a grotesquely deformed leper, Stan sees a painting of a ghoulish flautist come to life, Beverly is sprayed by a geyser of blood from her bathroom sink, Ben is chased by a headless man in the library, and Richie sees a maggot-infested doll of his own corpse. They soon discover that each of their hallucinations have one thing in common: a terrifying clown. The Losers quickly deduce that this clown must be behind the child murders in Derry. Pennywise also appears to Henry Bowers, the vicious town bully who torments the Losers. But instead of eating him, Pennywise uses Henry as an agent of destruction.
Pennywise needs to eat humans to survive: the creature's only purpose is to consume. And while It does sometimes kill adults, It greatly prefers to devour children. It's reason for this is pretty simple: According to Pennywise, afraid flesh tastes better, and children are easier to scare than adults. That's it. That's why Pennywise shapeshifts into whatever its victims are most afraid of, and why it usually stalks them for a time before killing them. It wants them to be as scared as possible before making them its next meal. In the book, It compares this process to salting meat .
After researching Pennywise and even seeing it together as a group, the Losers decide to confront it head-on. They track Pennywise's dwelling to a well beneath an abandoned house, and have a terrifying confrontation with It in the house that results in Eddie breaking his arm. After this frightening encounter, most of the Losers lose interest in trying to fight Pennywise and just pretend like nothing ever happened. That changes after Beverly is abducted by the clown, which rallies the other Losers to come to her rescue. They follow her trail to the town's sewers, where they're confronted by Henry Bowers. Henry has just murdered his father under the influence of It, and he's looking to continue his killing spree by knocking off a few Losers. Instead, Mike gets the best of Henry and pushes him into the well at the sewer's entrance, seemingly killing him. The Losers then enter It's domain to search for Beverly.
In the book, there was no such rescue mission. The Losers do indeed head to the sewers for a final confrontation with Pennywise, but they do so together as a group. The filmmakers' decision to alter the story and put the lone female Loser in a situation where she needed to be saved led to criticism, with some accusing the film of perpetuating a damsel in distress trope when the source material had no such issue. But then again, there is at least one aspect of the book that pretty much everyone is glad didn't make it into the movie .
A blood oath
During her capture, Beverly is rendered comatose after viewing It's Deadlights. She is awoken by a kiss from Ben, and the Losers are then able to defeat Pennywise by proving they're not afraid of it. They hurl insults at It and physically attack it, causing It to retreat to an early hibernation. After this experience, the kids come to the realization that they'll likely go their separate ways as they get older, but they know no one will possibly ever be able to relate to them like they relate to each other due to the bond they now share. In the first film, after realizing the importance of what they've just gone through, Bill (Stan in the book) suggests the Losers make a blood oath to swear that if Pennywise ever returns to Derry, they'll return to defeat It again. He finds a piece of broken glass, cuts each of their palms, and then they all stand in a circle and hold hands. This scene essentially concludes the film.
In It: Chapter Two and in the novel, all of the Losers eventually move away from Derry except for Mike. Twenty-seven years pass, and all of those who left gradually forget the events of their childhood. But Mike, having remained in Derry, remembers everything. And when children start disappearing in the town once again, he calls upon each of his old friends to return to Derry and fulfill the oath they made 27 years earlier.
27 years later
The Losers all find success in their adult lives. Bill is a famous novelist who's married to an even more famous actress named Audra Phillips. Ben is a successful architect. Richie is a famous stand-up comic in Los Angeles (in the book, he's a celebrity DJ). Eddie owns a successful risk management company in New York City (in the book, he owns an elite limousine business). Beverly is a highly respected fashion designer. And Stan is a wealthy accountant in a loving marriage. But despite their professional successes, some are still feeling the effects of their childhood trauma. Beverly is married to a man named Tom Rogan, who is physically abusive to her, and Eddie ended up marrying a woman who is nearly identical in personality to his overbearing mother.
But none are holding onto more trauma than Stan. After receiving Mike's call, Stan immediately remembers the harrowing events of his childhood. Not willing to face It again, he draws a bath and slits his wrists. In It: Chapter Two , he writes the other Losers explaining his actions, saying he knew he wouldn't be strong enough to face Pennywise again and would have gotten them all killed.
The other six Losers reunite at a Chinese restaurant in Derry, the first time they've all been at the same place in 27 years. After Pennywise makes its presence known by taking on various disgusting forms in the group's fortune cookies and informing them of Stan's death, they all regain their horrifying childhood memories.
Richie's big secret
Pennywise returns from its 27-year hiatus, bringing evil back to Derry along with it. A gay man, Adrian Mellon, is walking with his partner from a festival in Derry when they are attacked by a group of homophobic young locals. The locals brutally beat the couple and then throw Adrian over a bridge, where he's pulled out of the water and consumed by Pennywise. This scene, pulled from the book, kicks off It: Chapter Two , but it's not the last instance of homophobia in the film.
In a flashback scene, Richie is shown to have been bullied when he was young for possibly being gay. The bullying continues to affect Richie as an adult, as the film strongly implies that he is living as a closeted gay man with Pennywise telling him that he knows his secret. It's also heavily implied that Richie is in love with Eddie. When Eddie is killed by It during the final battle, his death hits Richie the hardest. Richie refuses to leave Eddie's side and has to pretty much be pulled away by the other Losers. He later cries uncontrollably while the other Losers fondly remember Eddie, and needs to be consoled by them. At the end of the film, Richie revisits a secret "R+E" carving he made as a child and re-carves it, showing that he had loved Eddie since they were children. Although Richie's sexuality isn't explicitly addressed in the book, some believe it was hinted .
Is Henry really dead?
In the original film, Henry Bowers appeared to die after Mike shoved him down a well. This posed a potential problem for the sequel because in the book Henry goes on to play a key role as an adult. Well, fans of the book can rest easy, because Henry survived his fall in the movie , too. It: Chapter Two features a flashback where Henry is shown to wake up after being expelled from the sewer following Pennywise's defeat. He is then arrested for the murder of his father and spends the next 27 years in an insane asylum.
Pennywise breaks Henry out of the asylum after the Losers reunite as adults, doing so in the form of the corpse of Patrick Hockstetter, a member of Henry's gang It had killed in the first film (It appears as a different one of Henry's friends in the book). Pennywise then sends Henry after the Losers, telling him to kill Eddie first. Henry stabs Eddie in the cheek, but Eddie removes the knife and stabs Henry back. Henry then runs off to attack Mike in the library, but he is killed by Richie before he has a chance to really hurt Mike.
In the book, Henry is far a more effective weapon. He attacks Mike first, putting him in the hospital for the remainder of the story. He then attacks Eddie and breaks his arm before Eddie manages to kill him in self-defense.
The Ritual of Chüd
In Stephen King's novel, the only way to defeat It is through something called the Ritual of Chüd — and it is, in a word, weird. It's a psychic battle of wills, fought on the astral plane, where one must use his or her power of imagination to defeat It, while also biting down on It's tongue to prevent it from escaping. The ritual is explained to Bill as a child by Maturin, and Bill uses it to defeat It during their first encounter. As an adult, Bill's imagination is too weak to defeat It, so he gets help in the ritual from the other Losers and they are able to kill It for good.
In the films, the Ritual of Chüd is entirely different. It's not mentioned at all in the first film, and in the second, Mike describes it as an ancient ritual used by the Native Americans who live outside of Derry to keep Pennywise at bay. The ritual requires all those who take part to sacrifice an item that is sacred to them and then burn the items in a ceremonial jar while chanting. Doing this summons It's true form, which can then be trapped in the jar. Pretty much the entire second act of It: Chapter Two consists of each of the Losers setting out on their own to locate their sacred items in Derry, with each of them remembering more from their pasts and having terrifying new encounters with Pennywise while doing so.
The final battle
In It: Chapter Two , all six surviving Losers head to Pennywise's lair in the sewer for their final confrontation. They perform the Ritual of Chüd and... it doesn't work. It turns out, the ritual didn't work for the Native Americans either. Mike secretly knew this, but he thought it didn't work for them because they didn't truly believe it would. Pennywise then turns into an enormous clown spider and battles the Losers, killing Eddie in the process. The rest are then able to defeat It after realizing they need to make it feel "small." They continually insult It like they did when they were younger, causing It to shrink to a tiny size. They are then able to pull out It's heart and crush it, destroying Pennywise for good. This causes It's lair to collapse, but the Losers all manage to escape. They again go their separate ways, with Ben and Beverly now a couple, but this time they keep in touch and don't lose their memories.
The ending of the book is very different. It involves Pennywise using Beverly's abusive husband Tom to kidnap Bill's wife Audra, which lures the Losers to its lair (except for Mike, who remains hospitalized after Henry's attack on him). The Losers are able to defeat It using the Ritual of Chüd, but after doing so, a massive storm destroys the town of Derry. The Losers again go their separate ways, and they collectively start to forget what happened to them once again.
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Clowns are creepy no matter what. We can all agree on that, right?
But Pennywise, the dancing clown who tracks down and torments the children of small-town Maine in “It,” is deeply unsettling. At least, he is in the latest incarnation of Stephen King ’s iconic novel. Infamously, Tim Curry ’s take on the character in the 1990 TV miniseries version was so over-the-top, it was laughable—not that you’re looking for understatement in your homicidal clowns.
But what Bill Skarsgard does with the role works well precisely because he doesn’t appear to be laboring so hard to frighten us. He doesn’t vamp it up. He’s coy—he toys with these kids—making his sudden bursts of insane clown hostility that much more shocking.
Even more effective than the horror elements of Argentine director Andy Muschietti ’s adaptation is the unexpected humor he reveals in the story—and, ultimately, the humanity. Finding that combination of tones is such a tricky balance to pull off: the brief lightening of a tense moment with a quick quip, or an earnest monologue in the face of extreme danger. But “It” makes that work nearly every time, thanks to its perfectly calibrated performances from a well-chosen cast.
The kid-bonding parts of the movie are actually stronger than the creepy-clown parts, even though images of that freakish, frilly fiend will be the ones that keep you awake at night. Led by “ Midnight Special ” star Jaeden Lieberher —whose everyman (everykid?) appeal grows with each film—and including a star-making performance from Sophia Lillis as the crew’s lone female member, it’s mostly unknown actors who comprise the film’s so-called “Losers Club.” But their characters are distinctly drawn, each with a fleshed-out backstory that explains why their fears make them so vulnerable to Pennywise’s attacks.
Unlike King’s novel and the 1990 original “It,” the screenplay from Chase Palmer , Cary Fukunaga (the acclaimed writer-director of “ Sin Nombre ” and “ Beasts of No Nation ”) and Gary Dauberman doesn’t jump back and forth in time. It moves the time frame to 1988-89 and sticks with our core group of seven kids while they’re still adolescent misfits, which grounds their story and makes it more immersive. (It also surely will draw comparisons to the Netflix series “Stranger Things,” another supernatural mystery set in small-town America in the 1980s. The nostalgia factor is strong for those of us who grew up then, too.)
Muschietti’s version begins as the book does, though, with innocent, six-year-old Georgie Denbrough ( Jackson Robert Scott ) chasing his toy boat as it sails down a gutter and into a storm drain on a rainy afternoon in fictional Derry, Maine. He’s especially fond of the boat because it was a gift from his beloved older brother, Lieberher’s Bill, a smart, skinny kid who struggles with a stutter. That’s why his choice to chat with Pennywise—who just happens to pop up in the sewer with the boat and a smile—leads to his tragic demise. (Muschietti’s cutaways to a cat who witnesses everything from a nearby porch are chilling; he showed that same delicate mastery of mood with his underappreciated 2013 horror film “ Mama ,” starring Jessica Chastain .)
But Bill insists Georgie has just gone missing, as such an unusually large number of Derry children have over the years. He enlists his posse of similarly bullied, outcast pals to help him get to the bottom of this lingering mystery: wisecracking trash-talker Richie ( Finn Wolfhard , who also happens to be in “Stranger Things”); wimpy mama’s boy Eddie ( Jack Dylan Grazer ); nervous rabbi’s son Stanley ( Wyatt Oleff ); heavyset new kid Ben ( Jeremy Ray Taylor ); and the tough-but-kind Beverly (Lillis). Eventually, the home-schooled farmhand Mike ( Chosen Jacobs ), who’s suffered racial attacks as the only black kid in town, makes them a team of seven.
Despite the many terrifying moments they endure in their quest—scenes that will leave you trembling and giggling at once—“It” is even more powerful in the warm, easy camaraderie between its young stars. Certainly you could view it as a straight-up horror flick, but the underlying allegory of these characters facing their deepest fears as they enter adulthood gives the movie more emotional heft—a bit of bittersweet within the suffering.
These kids have all languished on the fringes—hence the “Losers Club” tag they wear as a badge of honor—whether it’s because of an overbearing mother, an abusive father or a devastating family loss. But they’re also all on the cusp of something. Pennywise knows what frightens them in this precarious state of flux and tries to use that devious, supernatural ability to lead kids to their doom. Confronting those fears rather than running away is what just might save them.
Tonally, “It” feels like a throwback to great King adaptations of yore—particularly “Stand By Me,” with its ragtag band of kids on a morbid adventure, affecting bravado and affectionately hassling each other to mask their true jitters. Wolfhard in particular has great comic timing as the profane Richie. Technically, Muschietti shows some glimmers of early Spielberg, too—the low camera angles, the images of kids on bikes pedaling furiously in a pack, the overall mix of wonder and danger.
“It” could have used a bit of tightening as it builds toward its climax, though. While the imagery is undeniably harrowing and even poignant in the action-packed third act, some of it feels dragged out and redundant. And because the final confrontation takes place within a dark, underground lair, it’s sometimes difficult to tell exactly what’s going on, despite the impressive visual effects on display as Pennywise unleashes his full powers on his young attackers. (That’s one of many ways in which the new “It” is a vast improvement over its low-tech predecessor.)
Not to burst your balloon, though, but the closing credits suggest this may not be the last we’ve seen of Pennywise after all.
Christy Lemire is a longtime film critic who has written for RogerEbert.com since 2013. Before that, she was the film critic for The Associated Press for nearly 15 years and co-hosted the public television series "Ebert Presents At the Movies" opposite Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, with Roger Ebert serving as managing editor. Read her answers to our Movie Love Questionnaire here .
Godzilla Minus One
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Rated R for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language.
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise
Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough
Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom
Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh
Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier
Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak
Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon
Wyatt Oleff as Stan Uris
Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers
Owen Teague as Patrick Hockstetter
Logan Thompson as Victor Criss
Jake Sim as Belch Huggins
Jackson Robert Scott as Georgie
Steven Williams as Leroy Hanlon
Javier Botet as The Leper
- Andy Muschietti
Writer (based on the novel by)
- Stephen King
- Gary Dauberman
- Chase Palmer
- Cary Fukunaga
- Chung-hoon Chung
- Jason Ballantine
- Benjamin Wallfisch
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It Chapter Two
- Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.
- Defeated by members of the Losers' Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again. Now adults, the childhood friends have long since gone their separate ways. But when people start disappearing, Mike Hanlon calls the others home for one final stand. Damaged by scars from the past, the united Losers must conquer their deepest fears to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise -- now more powerful than ever.
- Derry, Maine. A small town with a terrible curse. Every 27 years, an ancient being comes up from the sewer depths to feed off of the fear of children. Since it's defeat in 1989, Pennywise has grown hungry, and is now back with a vengeance. If the losers club doesn't defeat him this time, their worst fear will become a reality, with nothing to stop him. The clock is ticking. Who's going to be scared first?
- After the survivors' irrevocable blood oath in It (2017) --and nearly three incident-free decades after the blood-soaked encounter with the demonic shape-shifter, Pennywise the Dancing Clown--the estranged members of the Losers' Club find themselves before a dreadful obligation: to return to Derry and honour their promise. Once again, the brutal murder of an innocent awakens the grisly memories of the past, reuniting the old band of companions, as the nightmarish monster has come back from the shadows of oblivion to terrorise the small town, intent on revenge and slaughter. Now, whether they like it or not, the now-successful Losers must probe deep into the fundamental fears of their troubled childhood, and summon up the courage to bring the terrible creature's reign of terror to a close. One last battle awaits Derry's remaining fighters of the supernatural. Will this final confrontation mark the end of the Losers Club, or will it be the end of the dreadful thing they call IT? — Nick Riganas
- This sequel to the 2017 film opens in 1989. Shortly after defeating the evil entity known as Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), the Losers Club - Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Martell), Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley Uris (Wyatt Olef), and Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) - gather as Bev tells the boys about the vision she saw of all of them as adults when she faced Pennywise. The Losers make a blood pact to return to Derry in the event that they must face IT once more. 27 years later in 2016, a gay couple - Adrian Mellon (Xavier Dolan) and Don Hagarty (Taylor Frey) - are enjoying a night out at the carnival when they are harassed by homophobic thugs. Even as they walk away from the carnival, the thugs follow them and start to viciously assault them. They throw Adrian over the bridge and flee into the night. Adrian almost drowns until he is pulled out of the water... except the one who pulled him out was Pennywise. Don watches in horror as the monster clown grabs Adrian and takes a huge bite out of his chest. Mike (now played by Isiah Mustafa) overhears a report of the incident over a police scanner, and when he arrives at the scene, he discovers the message "COME HOME" written in blood on the side of the bridge. Mike knows that IT has returned. We catch up with the other Losers in adulthood. Bill (now played by James McAvoy) is married to Audra (Jess Weixler) and has found success as an author/screenwriter, but he is frequently told that his endings are not good. Eddie (now played by James Ransone) is a risk assessor who is married to a woman, Myra (Mollie Atkinson), who is just as controlling as his own mother. Ben (now played by Jay Ryan) has slimmed down and is a successful architect, though he lives alone. Richie (now played by Bill Hader) is a stand-up comedian. Stanley (now played by Andy Bean) is a partner in an accounting firm. Bev (now played by Jessica Chastain) is a fashion designer, married to the abusive Tom Rogan (Will Beinbrink). Mike calls everyone, and they do not immediately recognize his voice until he mentions he is from Derry. Everybody becomes slightly unnerved by the phone call, and Mike beckons them to return to Derry. Bev tells Tom that she will be returning to Derry to visit friends, but he is paranoid and thinks she is lying to him and is cheating on him since he heard Mike's name. Tom starts to hit Bev until she fights back and runs away from their home. The other guys start to make their way back to Derry. The only one who doesn't go is Stanley, as he commits suicide by slitting his wrists in the tub rather than facing the nightmare from his childhood again. A flashback shows that psychotic bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) survived being pushed down the well by Mike and had washed out of the sewers. When he returned home, police arrested him after they came across the body of Henry's father and deduced that he murdered him. Today, Henry (now played by Teach Grant) is in a mental institution and has become even more insane. He is visited by Pennywise in the form of a zombified Patrick Hockstetter (Owen Teague), who presents Henry with his old knife. The Losers meet at the Jade of the Orient restaurant and catch up after a long absence. They joke and reminisce, but also note Stanley's absence. They start to split fortune cookies, only to each get single word fortunes that they realize form a full message. Bev's fortune reads "Stanley", and put together, the fortunes read "Guess Stanley Could Not Cut It". The Losers know that Pennywise has found them. The fortune cookies then start to crack open and reveal hideous little spider-like creatures. The Losers bash at them on the table, which only makes them look crazy when others see them attacking a table. Outside the restaurant, Bev calls Stanley's wife. Before she can say what happened, Bev knows that Stanley was found in a bathtub, and the other guys figure what happened to him. Everyone gathers at the hotel where they are staying, and Mike confesses that this is the real reason he summoned everyone back to Derry. They ask Bev how she knew how Stanley died, and she says she has seen how they all die, as she was the only one who saw the Deadlights when Pennywise captured her. Bill goes back to Mike's house, where Mike drugs Bill's water to cause him to experience a trippy vision. Mike explains that in all the time he has stayed in Derry, he has studied the history of IT and learned from a Native American tribe of the Ritual of Chud, which can be performed to destroy IT once and for all. He produces a ritualistic piece of pottery with a depiction of the ritual. They bring it back to the other Losers, and Mike explains that they need to gather artifacts from their childhood and place it in the pottery so that they can destroy Pennywise. Somewhere else in Derry, we see a little girl named Victoria (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) at a football game with her mom. Victoria is lured away by a firefly, and she follows it under the bleachers until she meets Pennywise. He uses the same manipulative trick on her to make her think he is playful, and he appeals to her sympathy when he cries about not having friends, as Victoria is made fun of for a birthmark on her cheek. Pennywise promises to make it go away, only to end up devouring Victoria. The Losers go to an old clubhouse that Ben built for them over the summer they all became friends. There, they find an artifact for Stanley, which is a shower cap. A flashback shows them as kids with Stanley asking if they will all remain friends as adults. His friends assured him that they would be. The gang splits up as they head back to their homes in Derry. Bev goes to her old home and meets the elderly Mrs. Kersh (Joan Gregson). She invites Bev inside for tea and cookies as Bev looks around. She finds an old pack of cigarettes, as well as the poem that Ben wrote for her, although she still thinks it was written by Bill. As Bev sits with Mrs. Kersh, the old woman displays unusual behavior. Bev notices what looks like rotted flesh on Mrs. Kersh's chest. She mentions to Bev that her father joined the circus. Bev sees what looks like a human Pennywise in an old picture. Mrs. Kersh then asks Bev if she is "daddy's little girl," as her father had called her. The old woman is then revealed to be Pennywise as she takes on a grotesque and monstrous form that chases Bev out. Before Bev gets away, she sees Pennywise in his human form as "Bob Gray", who wears his clown makeup and scratches the red lines on his face to taunt Bev. Richie goes to an old arcade he went to as a kid where he picks up a token as his artifact. In a flashback, he is seen playing a game with Henry's cousin, and the bully teases Richie for being a "fairy". Adult Richie is then found and tormented by Pennywise, who claims to know his "dirty little secret." He takes on the form of a Paul Bunyan statue and tries to attack Richie, but he gets away in time. Bill goes to an antique shop and sees that his old bike is on sale. He asks the shop owner (played by none other than Stephen King) if he can buy the bike. The owner knows of Bill's work, but agrees that his endings suck. Bill gets the bike and rides around his old street, passing the sewer where Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) was taken. Pennywise taunts Bill with an apparition of Georgie calling to him from the sewers. Bill is almost lured in by the monster clown. As he rides away, he sees a kid named Dean (Luke Roessler), whom the gang had seen at the restaurant because he is a fan of Richie's stand-up. Dean has also seen Pennywise lately after Bill had mentioned it. He firmly orders Dean to get himself and his family out of Derry as soon as possible. Ben gets an old yearbook page, in which Bev was the only one to write for him. He is haunted by a flashback to his childhood where Pennywise took on Bev's form to ridicule Ben for his weight, as Pennywise knew that Ben loved Bev, and he still harbors feelings for her to this day. Her form's head took fire as Ben hid in a locker, only for Pennywise to be in there with him. Eddie goes to the pharmacy where he would pick up his medications. Creepy Mr. Keene (Joe Bostick) and Gretta (Juno Rinaldi) still work there. Eddie gets an inhaler before he is haunted by Pennywise in the form of his mother being attacked by the Leper (Javier Botet). Henry kills a guard and escapes the institution. He finds the Losers and attacks Eddie by stabbing him in the cheek. He manages to pull the knife out and stab Henry in the chest, albeit non-fatally, and he runs to his friends for help. However, Henry gets away again before he is caught. In another Pennywise haunting, Bill sees the message "The fun is just beginning" written, which is what Dean said to Richie at the restaurant, itself a line from Richie's stand-up. Bill knows that Pennywise is referring to Dean, and he goes to a carnival to try and save the boy after learning he will be there. Bill follows Dean into a hall of mirrors, but Dean just thinks Bill is a crazy weirdo. The two are then found by Pennywise, who bares his long tongue and razor-sharp teeth. Bill desperately tries to kick the glass out to save Dean, but Pennywise breaks through first and brutally attacks the boy, blocking Bill's view. Bill can only watch in horror as he fails to save the boy. Mike is in the library where Henry finds him and attacks him. Not long after, Richie comes and kills Henry by stabbing him in the back of the head. This causes Richie to puke. Bill reunites with his friends and vows to kill IT himself. His friends gather their artifacts and they join him at the Neibolt House to face off the evil entity for the last time. While there, they make it into Pennywise's lair and use the pottery to begin the ritual. The Losers throw in their artifacts, being Bev's poem, Ben's yearbook page, Richie's token, Eddie's inhaler, the boat that Bill helped make with Georgie, and a rock that Mike recovered from their rock war with the Bowers gang. The Deadlights appear and sink into the pottery with the artifacts, but just when it seems that things worked, out rises a red balloon that produces Pennywise. He faces the Losers again in his true form, as a monstrous spider that still carries his clown face, and he states how he has waited so long to see them again. Mike then reveals that the ritual never worked, and the tribe that attempted it on Pennywise got killed themselves. He splits the Losers up with more nightmare visions, including one of Stanley's severed head as a spider. Eddie and Richie find themselves in a similar scenario to when they were kids as Pennywise places three doors with "Scary", "Very Scary", and "Not Scary At All" for them to walk through. They see the severed half of Betty Ripsom's body, as well as a small Pomeranian that morphs into a monster. Meanwhile, Ben and Bev are trapped and split from each other, and Pennywise tries to kill Ben by having him sink into the earth while Bev is trapped in an illusion of a bathroom stall where he is harassed by the forms of Mr. Keene, Gretta, Henry, and her own father. Bev fights back against the visions and manages to pull Ben out from sinking, and she realizes he is the one who wrote her the poem as he had recited it as he was almost dying. Bill is trapped in what looks like his childhood basement. He sees his young self talking to Georgie, as the image of the little boy blames Bill for lying on the day that he died, as Bill had pretended to be sick so he wouldn't go out to play with Georgie in the rain. This had haunted Bill for years, and Pennywise knew he blamed himself for it. Young Bill goes to his adult self with a nail gun, but Adult Bill forgives himself and shoots the apparition instead. The Losers get close enough to fight Pennywise, with Eddie managing to muster up the courage to strike Pennywise himself. As he runs to Richie, however, Pennywise impales Eddie with one of his talons. The Losers try to seek a way out of there, and they figure that since Pennywise is a spider, he can make himself small to try and go after them. They then quickly realize that the only way to make him small enough to defeat him is to force him to believe he is small. They begin to yell at Pennywise and call out all of his otherwise harmless forms before he starts to shrink and shrivel into a powerless shell of his former self. This allows the Losers to pull his heart out of his chest and crush it, destroying him for good. The lair begins to crumble and collapse around them. Richie tries to get Eddie out, but he is already dead. The Losers escape the house and watch as it collapses on itself. The remaining five head to the quarry where they all swam as children. They think about Eddie and how he would have hated it since it's so dirty. Richie then starts to cry for his fallen friend, and the others console him. As they continue to swim, Ben and Bev share a kiss. As they later walk home, they see their reflections on a window and see their childhood selves, including Eddie and Stanley. One last flashback shows the group as kids riding their bikes home. Later on, Bill has gone back to work with writing, and he feels his endings are getting better. He speaks on the phone to Mike, who is thinking about finally seeing the rest of the world. They tell one another that they love each other, and Mike mentions a letter that all the Losers have been getting. Bill finds his letter and sees that it's from Stanley, written before his suicide. We hear his voice reading the letter over a small montage of the other Losers in the present. Ben and Bev are now in a relationship, while Richie goes to a bridge where he carved his and Eddie's initials, revealing that he was in love with him. Stanley's letter states that he knew he could never be brave enough to face Pennywise again, so he removed himself from the equation to give his friends a chance to honor him, which would give them the strength to fight IT. He turned out to be right. The film concludes with Mike driving away and finally leaving Derry.
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What You Need to Remember About ‘It’ Before ‘Chapter Two’ Comes Out
You really won’t want to forget about number three....
[Warning: spoilers for the first It movie, ahead...duh.]
Who’s ready for part two of the Bill-Skarsgård-makes-creepy-faces movie starring that kid from Stranger Things? Well, you’re in luck: It Chapter Two hits theaters tomorrow, and while it still has plenty of GIF-able Bill moments and snarky Mike Wheeler, it also stars James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader as adult versions of the Losers’ Club. If those are losers, I’ve got a serious problem....
But here’s the thing, it’s been two years since It premiered, so you probably don’t remember everything you need to. Even if you haven’t seen the first one and are just in it for James, here’s what you need to know.
The basic plot
Like all great Stephen King sagas, It takes place in Maine. When a child in the little town of Derry goes missing, a group of preteens go on the hunt. It turns out, the killer is an evil clown named Pennywise (Bill) who shape-shifts into the thing that scares you the most (for me, that would be my credit card statement).
The kids, who dub themselves the Losers’ Club, find his lair and attempt to take him down. They come close but he escapes, seemingly powerless (spoiler alert: he isn’t). They swear to each other that no matter where they end up, they will return to Derry if Pennywise ever comes back. Sounds like the perfect opening for a second film, huh.
Who’s who in the Losers’ Club?
Bill (Jaeden Martell) unites the Losers’ Club when his little brother, Georgie, disappears. His team includes Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the brains of the operation; Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), an asthmatic boy who gets his arm broken; Beverly (Sophia Lillis), the new girl in school; Stan (Wyatt Oleff), the Jewish boy scout; Mike (Chosen Jacobs), the bravest of the group; and Richie (Finn Wolfhard), who brings the sarcasm.
Unfortunately, Bill’s little brother doesn’t make it. Even worse, when the Losers’ Club confronts the evil clown, he turns into Georgie, forcing Bill to shoot his brother’s lookalike in the head. Talk about traumatizing.
Don’t forget about Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton)...
Perhaps even scarier than Pennywise, Henry is the local bully and leader of his own band of misfits. He runs around town doing truly heinous things like harassing Mike for being black and carving “H” into Ben’s stomach with his knife.
Things only get worse when Henry starts taking orders from Pennywise, stabbing his own father in the neck and attacking Mike with a nail gun once the kids go after the clown. Mike ends up fighting him off and pushing him down a well.
Something strange happens to Bev.
All you gotta know is that Pennywise kidnaps Beverly before he’s found by the rest of the Losers’ Club. Down in his creeper den, the boys find her floating in some sort of trance. Ben breaks her out of it with a kiss, but we still don’t know what happened to her. Guess we’re going to find out.
Emily is the entertainment editor at Cosmopolitan, which is a nice way of saying she watches way too much TV and constantly wants to tell you about it.
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IT: Chapter One
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It , retroactively known as It Chapter One , is a 2017 American-Canadian supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's 1986 novel of the same name. The film was produced by New Line Cinema, KatzSmith Productions, Lin Pictures, and Vertigo Entertainment. It is the first film in the It film series as well as being the second adaptation following Tommy Lee Wallace's 1990 miniseries. It tells the story of seven children in Derry, Maine who are terrorized by the eponymous being, only to face their own personal demons in the process. The film is also known as It: Part 1 – The Losers' Club .
Directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, the film stars Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, with Bill Skarsgård starring as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, respectively. Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott are all featured in supporting roles. Principal photography began in Toronto on June 27, 2016, and ended on September 21, 2016. The locations for It were in the Greater Toronto Area, including Port Hope, Oshawa, and Riverdale.
It premiered in Los Angeles on September 5, 2017, and was released in the United States on September 8, 2017, in 2D and IMAX. The film set numerous box office records and grossed over $701 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Unadjusted for inflation, it became the highest-grossing horror film of all time. It received positive reviews, with critics praising the performances, direction, cinematography and musical score, and many calling it one of the best Stephen King adaptations. It has received numerous awards and nominations, earning two Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association nominations, including Best Acting Ensemble. It was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie. The film won three Bogey Awards, for pulling in more than two million German admissions in 11 days. In addition, the motion picture has been named as one of the best films of 2017 by various critics, appearing on several critics' end-of-year lists. The sequel, It Chapter Two , was released on September 6, 2019.
- 2.1 Main cast
- 2.2 Additional cast
- 3.1 David Kajganich (2009–2010)
- 3.2 Cary Fukunaga (2012–2015)
- 3.3 Andy Muschietti (2015–2017)
- 3.4 Filming
- 3.5 Cinematography
- 3.6 Editing
- 4.1 Costume design
- 4.2 Production design
- 4.3 Sound design
- 4.4 Visual effects
- 8 References
In October 1988, Bill Denbrough crafts a paper sailboat for Georgie, his six-year-old brother. Georgie sails the boat along the rainy streets of small town Derry, Maine, only to have it fall down a storm drain. As he attempts to retrieve it, Georgie sees a clown in the drain, who introduces himself as "Pennywise the Dancing Clown". Pennywise entices Georgie to come closer, then bites his arm off and drags him into the sewer.
The following summer, Bill and his friends Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stan Uris run afoul of older bully Henry Bowers and his friends Belch Huggins, Patrick Hockstetter, and Victor Criss. Bill, still haunted by Georgie's disappearance, calculates that his brother's body may have washed up in a marshy wasteland called the Barrens. He recruits his friends to investigate, believing Georgie may still be alive. Ben Hanscom, one of Bill's new classmates, learns that unexplained tragedies and child disappearances have plagued the town for centuries. Targeted by Bowers' gang, Ben flees into the Barrens and meets Bill's group. They find the sneaker of a missing girl named Betty Ripsom, while Patrick is killed by Pennywise while searching the sewers for Ben.
Beverly Marsh, a girl bullied over her rumored promiscuity, also joins the group; both Bill and Ben develop feelings for her. Later, the group befriends orphan Mike Hanlon after rescuing him from Bowers. Each member of the group has encountered terrifying manifestations of the same menacing clown who attacked Georgie: a headless undead boy (Ben), a sink that spews blood only children can see (Beverly), a diseased and rotting leper (Eddie), a disturbing painting coming alive (Stan), Mike's parents burning alive (Mike), and a frightening phantom of Georgie (Bill). Now calling themselves "The Losers Club", they realize they are all being stalked by the same entity, which they refer to as "It". They determine that It appears as their individual worst fears, awakening every 27 years to feed on the children of Derry before resuming hibernation, and moves about by using the sewer lines, which all lead to an old stone well hidden under an abandoned house on Neibolt Street.
After Pennywise attacks them, the group ventures to the house to confront It, only to be separated and terrorized. As Pennywise gloats to Bill about Georgie, the Losers regroup and Beverly impales Pennywise through the head, forcing the clown to retreat. The group flees the house and begins to splinter, with only Bill and Beverly resolute in fighting It.
Weeks later, after Beverly confronts and incapacitates her sexually abusive father, Pennywise abducts her. The Losers Club reassembles and returns to the abandoned house to rescue her. Bowers, who has murdered his abusive father after being driven insane by It, attacks the group; Mike fights back and pushes Bowers down the well, apparently killing him. The Losers descend into the sewers and find It's underground lair, which contains a mountain of decayed circus props and children's belongings, around which the bodies of It's child victims float in mid-air. Beverly, now catatonic after being exposed to bright lights inside It's gaping mouth, is restored to consciousness when Ben kisses her. Bill encounters Georgie, but recognizes that he is It in disguise. As Pennywise, It takes Bill hostage, offering to spare the others and go into hibernation if they let It feed on Bill. The Losers reject this, battling with It while overcoming their various fears. It is eventually defeated and retreats deeper into the sewers, with Bill declaring that It will starve during its hibernation. After finding the remnants of Georgie's raincoat, Bill finally comes to terms with his brother's death, with his friends comforting him.
As summer ends, Beverly informs the group of a vision she had while catatonic, where she saw them fighting It again as adults. The Losers swear a blood oath that they will return to Derry as adults if It returns. After the others make their goodbyes and disperse, Beverly and Bill discuss her leaving the next day to live with her aunt in Portland. Before she leaves, Bill reveals his feelings and they kiss.
Main cast [ ]
- Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough
- Bill Skarsgård as It / Pennywise The Dancing Clown / Bob Gray
- Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom
- Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh
- Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier
- Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris
- Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon
- Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak
- Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers
- Jackson Robert Scott as Georgie Denbrough
Additional cast [ ]
- Owen Teague is introduced as Patrick Hockstetter, a psychopath who keeps a refrigerator full of animals that he has killed;
- Logan Thompson appears as Victor "Vic" Criss, the inseparable friend of Henry Bowers;
- Jake Sim appears as Reginald "Belch" Huggins, the biggest, strongest and clumsiest member of the Bowers Gang;
- Javier Botet appears as The Leper, a rotting homeless man that encounters Eddie Kaspbrak under the porch of the house on 29 Neibolt Street;
- Tatum Lee appears as Judith, one of It's horrifying creations;
- Steven Williams appears as Leroy Hanlon, the grandfather of Mike Hanlon who runs a nearby abattoir;
- Stephen Bogaert appears as Alvin Marsh, the abusive father of Beverly Marsh;
- Geoffrey Pounsett appears as Zack Denbrough, the father of Bill and George Denbrough;
- Pip Dwyer appears as Sharon Denbrough, the caring and loving mother of Bill and George Denbrough;
- Ari Cohen appears as Rabbi Uris, Stanley Uris's father and mentor in the Jewish religion;
- Stuart Hughes appears as Oscar "Butch" Bowers, a racist and abusive officer of the Derry Police Department who is the father of Henry Bowers. Butch has a strong dislike towards the Hanlon family, especially Leroy;
- Megan Charpentier appears as Greta Bowie, a snobby and stuck-up student in Mrs. Douglas's class and a classmate of the Losers Club at Derry Middle School, who lives in the richer parts of Derry.
Production [ ]
The project was in ongoing development since 2009. The proposed film adaptation has gone through two major phases of planning: initially with Cary Fukunaga from 2009 to 2015, with the early contributions of screenwriter David Kajganich, and with Andy Muschietti, with Fukunaga remaining in some capacity due to prior screenplay contributions.
David Kajganich (2009–2010) [ ]
"The thing about Stephen King's writing is that he draws his characters so well, it's hard not to imagine they're real people. So it honestly didn't occur to me to try to think of actors in those roles. Pennywise is a bit of a different story, though. His manner is so crucial to what's frightening about him, and it's too much fun to imagine all of the nuances different actors could give him. I think there are a hundred actors who could each pull off a fascinating, horrifying Pennywise, and I tried not to get too attached to any one actor in my head. I think the Pennywise in this adaptation is a less self-conscious of his own irony and surrealism than was Tim Curry's Pennywise. I think it will be harder to laugh at his antics since, under the permissiveness of an R rating, I was able to give him back a lot of his more upsetting moments from the novel, ones that could never be aired on network television."
On March 12, 2009, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Pictures would be bringing Stephen King's novel to the big screen, with David Kajganich to adapt King's novel, while Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison would be producing the piece. When Kajganich learned of Warner Bros. plans to adapt King's novel, he went after the job. Knowing that Warner Bros. was committed to adapting It as a single feature film, Kajganich began to attempt to try to find a structure that would accommodate such a large number of characters in two different time periods, around 120 pages, which was one of Warner Bros. stipulations. Kajganich worked with Lin, Lee, and Davison on The Invasion (2007), and he knew they would champion good storytelling, and allow him the time to work out a solid first draft of the screenplay. Kajganich spoke of the remake being set in the, "mid-1980s and in the present mirroring the twenty-odd-year gap King uses in the book and with a great deal of care and attention paid to the backstories of all the characters."
Kajganich also mentioned that Warner Bros. wished for the adaptation to be rated R which he furthered by saying, "we can really honor the book and engage with the traumas that these characters endure.", while Kajganich spoke of Warner Bros. wanting the adaptation as a single film. On June 29, 2010, the screenplay was being re-written by Kajganich. He said that his dream choice for Pennywise would be Buster Keaton if he were still alive, and the Pennywise that Kajganich scripted being "less self-conscious of his own irony and surreality."
Cary Fukunaga (2012–2015) [ ]
"I am in the midst of rewriting the first script now. We're not working on the second part yet. The first script is just about the kids. It's more like The Goonies (1985) meets a horror film. We're definitely honoring the spirit of Stephen King, but the horror has to be modernized to make it relevant. That's my job, right now, on this pass. I'm working on making the horror more about suspense than visualization of any creatures. I just don't think that's scary. What could be there, and the sounds and how it interacts with things, is scarier than actual monsters."
On June 7, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter had revealed that Cary Fukunaga was boarding the project as director and will co-write the script with Chase Palmer, while Roy Lee and Dan Lin are producing, as with Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions. On May 21, 2014, Warner Bros. was announced to have moved the film to its New Line Cinema division, with overseer duties conducting by New Line's Walter Hamada and Dave Neustadter, along with Vice President of Production at Warner Bros., Niija Kuykendall. On December 5, 2014, in an interview with Vulture , Dan Lin announced that the first film will be a coming-of-age story about the children tormented by It and the second will skip ahead in time as those same characters band together to continue the fight as adults. Lin also stated that Fukunaga was only committed to directing the first film, though was currently closing a deal to co-write the second. Lin concluded by mentioning King, to which he remarked, "The most important thing is that [King] gave us his blessing. We didn't want to make this unless he felt it was the right way to go, and when we sent him the script, the response that Cary got back was, 'Go with God, please! This is the version the studio should make.' So that was really gratifying." Lin confirmed that Fukunaga would begin principal photography in Summer 2016.
On February 3, 2015, Fukunaga was interviewed by Slate wherein he spoke about It , while mentioning he has someone in mind for the role of Pennywise. On March 3, 2015, Fukunaga spoke of the film, particularly noting his goal to find the "perfect guy to play Pennywise". Fukunaga also revealed that he, Kajganich and Palmer had changed the names and dates in the script, adding, the spirit is similar to what he'd like to see in cinemas." On May 4, 2015, it was officially announced that Will Poulter had been cast to play Pennywise, after Fukunaga was "blown away" by his audition. Ty Simpkins was considered to play one of The Losers' Club members.
On May 25, 2015, it was reported that Fukunaga had dropped out as the director of It . According to TheWrap, Fukunaga clashed with the studio and didn't want to compromise his artistic vision in the wake of budget cuts by New Line, which greenlit the first film at $30 million. However, Fukunaga maintained that wasn't the case, with him stating he had bigger disagreements with New Line over the direction of the story: "I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn't fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience." He made mention that the budget was perfectly fine, as well as his desire to make Pennywise more than just the clown. Fukunaga concluded by stating, "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 bastardize it so I'm actually thankful that they are going to rewrite the script. I wouldn't want them to stealing our childhood memories and using that I was honoring King's spirit of it, but I needed to update it. King saw an earlier draft and liked it." On Fukunaga's departure, King wrote, "The remake of IT may be dead or undead but we'll always have Tim Curry. He's still floating down in the sewers of Derry."
Andy Muschietti (2015–2017) [ ]
"...the way Cary intended to execute the script is something that only he can talk about. i can say my version of IT highly emphasizes pennywise's most terrifying virtue, which is it's ability to materialise into your worse fear; i want to take people in a journey into pennywise's world through a disturbing, surrealistic and intoxicating experience that will leave nobody at ease."
On July 16, 2015, it was announced that Andy Muschietti was in negotiations to direct It , with New Line beginning a search for a new writer to tailor a script to Muschietti's vision, with the announcement also confirming the possible participation of Muschietti's sister, Barbara Muschietti, as a producer, and Richard Brener joining Hamada, Neustadter and Kuykendall to oversee the project. On April 22, 2016, it was indicated that Will Poulter, who was originally tapped to portray Pennywise in Fukunaga's version, had dropped out of the film due to a scheduling conflict and that executives were meeting with actors to portray the antagonist. On April 22, 2016, New Line Cinema set the film for a release of September 8, 2017.
On October 30, 2015, Muschietti was interviewed by Variety wherein he spoke about his vision of It , while mentioning Poulter was still in the mix for the role of Pennywise: "Poulter would be a great option. For me he is at the top of my list." He confirmed that next summer is the time for them to start shooting. It was decided to shoot It during the summer months to give them the time to work with the children who have the main roles in the first part of the film. [ citation needed ] Muschietti went on to say that "King described 50s' terror iconography," adding that he feels there is a whole world now to "rediscover, to update." He said there won't be any mummies or werewolves and that the "terrors are going to be a lot more surprising." On February 19, 2016, at the D.I.C.E. Summit 2016 producer Roy Lee confirmed that Fukunaga and Chase Palmer's original script had been rewritten, with Lee remarking, "It will hopefully be shooting later this year. We just got the California tax credit Dauberman wrote the most recent draft working with Muscetti, so it's being envisioned as two movies."
On May 5, 2016, in an interview with Collider , David Kajganich expressed uncertainty as to whether drafts of his original screenplay would be used by Dauberman and Muschietti, with the writer stating, "We know there's a new director, I don't know myself whether he's going back to any of the previous drafts or writing from scratch. I may not know until the film comes out. I don't know how it works! If you find out let me know."
On June 2, 2016, Jaeden Lieberher was confirmed to be portraying lead protagonist, Bill Denbrough. On June 2, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Bill Skarsgård was in final negotiations to star as Pennywise, whose cast will also include Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Ray Taylor. On June 2, 2016, there was a call for 100 background performers, with the background actor call going from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and by 4 p.m. more than 300 people had gone through; the casting call also asked for a marching band and period cars between 1970 and 1989. On February 18, 2016, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Owen Teague was set to portray Patrick Hocksetter. On June 21, 2016, it was officially announced that Nicholas Hamilton had been cast to play Henry Bowers. On June 21, 2016, Bloody Disgusting reported that Javier Botet was added to the cast shortly before filming commenced. On June 22, 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Muschietti had chosen actress Sophia Lillis to portray Beverly Marsh. On June 24, 2016, Moviepilot reported that Stephen Bogaert was added to the cast shortly before filming commenced, with Bogaert portraying Al Marsh, the abusive father of Beverly Marsh.
On July 22, 2016, Barbara Muschietti was interviewed by Northumberland News ' Karen Longwell, wherein she spoke about the filming locations on It , while mentioning the beauty of Port Hope being one of the reasons as to why it was chosen, while Muschietti added, "We were looking for an idyllic town, one that would be a strong contrast to the story. Port Hope is the kind of place we all wish we had grown up in: long summers riding bicycles, walks by the lake, a lovely main street, charming homes with green lawns, warm people." Muschietti also mentioned that 360 extras from the area, from adults to tiny kids, had been involved.
On August 11, 2016, at The CW TCA presentation for the upcoming series Frequency , producer Dan Lin spoke of the piece's comparison to Netflix's Stranger Things , with Lee describing It being a "homage to 80s movies", while remarking: "I think a great analogy is actually Stranger Things, and we're seeing it on Netflix right now. It's very much an homage to '80s movies, whether it's classic Stephen King or even Spielberg. Think about Stand by Me (1986) as far as the bonding amongst the kids. But there is a really scary element in Pennywise." Lin continued, speaking of how well the young cast has bonded in these first weeks of shooting. Lin stated, "We clearly had a great dynamic amongst the kids. Really great chemistry is always a challenging thing with a movie like It because you're casting kids who don't have a ton of experience, but it ended up being really natural. Each kid, like a The Goonies (1985) or Stand by Me (1986), has a very specific personality and they're forming the loser's club obviously We've spent a few months getting the kids to bond and now they're going to fight this evil, scary clown."
On February 9, 2017, at the press day for The Lego Batman Movie (2017), Lin confirmed that It is going to be rated R by the MPAA, to which he stated to Collider.com's Steve Weintraub, "If you're going to make a "Rated-R movie", you have to fully embrace what it is, and you have to embrace the source material. It is a scary clown that's trying to kill kids. They do have a scary clown that's taken over the town of Derry, so it's going to be rated R." On March 11, 2017, Muschietti, at the SXSW festival, spoke of an element of the pre-production phase in his attempt to keep Skarsgård separated from the film's child actors, wherein the actor wasn't introduced to the young cast until Pennywise's first encounter with the children: "It was something that we agreed on, and that's how it happened The day that he showed up on the stage, they fucking freaked out. Bill is like, seven-foot high, and I can't describe how scary he looks in person. He's a wiry man, crouching, making sounds, snotting, drooling, speaking in Swedish sometimes. Terrifying." Muschietti stated that the story had been moved forward, with the scenes with the young Losers Club shifting from the 1950s to the 1980s, while also describing their plot as "getting much wider," with new material not in the novel or the 1990 miniseries. However, Muschietti said he hoped it would still strike the same emotional resonance that the book did for him when he first read it: "It's all about trying to hit the core and the heart."
On July 12, 2017, Muschietti, in an interview with French magazine Mad Movies , spoke of when developing the R rated film, in which allowed him to go into very adult themes, which was championed from the people at New Line Cinema. He also stated that, "if you aimed for a PG-13 movie, you had nothing at the end. So we were very lucky that the producers didn't try to stop us. In fact it's more our own moral compass that sometimes showed us that some things lead us in places where we didn't want to go." In the same interview, on July 12, 2017, producer Barbara Muschietti added that there was only one scene that was deemed to be too horrific to feature in the new adaptation, in which she stated, "you won't find the scene where a kid has his back broken and is thrown in the toilets. We thought that the visual translation of that scene had something that was really too much." Muschietti concluded by emphasizing that nothing was removed from the original vision, nor was the violence of any event watered down.
On July 19, 2017, in an interview with Variety 's Brent Lang, director Muschietti commented of the monstrous forms that It shall be taking, as well as noting the fact that they'll be very different from the incarnations present in King's story, in which he stated, "The story is the same, but there are changes in the things the kids are scared of. In the book they're children in the 50s, so the incarnations of the monsters are mainly from movies, so it's Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein, and Dracula. I had a different approach. I wanted to bring out deeper fears, based not only on movie monsters but on childhood traumas." While on the topic of what being the key to a successful horror film, Muschietti concluded by remarking that "Stay true to what scares you. If you don't respect that, you can't scare anyone." Muschietti explained how Skarsgård caught his attention to embody Pennywise, while pointing out that he didn't want the young cast to spend too much time with the actor when not shooting, and encouraged the cast to "maintain distance" between them, wherein Muschietti detailed: We wanted to carry the impact of the encounters to when the cameras were rolling. The first scene where Bill interacted with the children, it was fun to see how the plan worked. The kids were really, really creeped out by Bill. He's pretty intimidating because he's six-four and has all this makeup."
Port Hope has gone under a number of changes to tranform it into the town of Derry.
Filming [ ]
Production designer Mara LePere-Schloop went to Bangor, Maine, to scope out locations including the Thomas Hill Standpipe, the land running alongside the Kenduskeag Stream that in It is called The Barrens, it was confirmed on March 31, 2015, and the Waterworks on the Penobscot River. LePere-Schloop said during her tour that they were hoping to shoot some scenes in the city and possibly get some aerial shots, although currently the leading locations for the majority of filming for the movie are in Yonkers, New York, and in Upstate New York. On May 31, 2016, Third Act Productions was confirmed to have applied to film interior and exterior scenes for It in the municipality of Port Hope, with filming slated for various locations around the municipality from July 11, 2016, up until July 18, 2016. Principal photography was confirmed to have begun in Toronto, with an original shooting schedule occurring from June 27 to September 6, 2016.
On July 8, 2016, Port Hope had undergone a number of changes to transform it into Derry; Port Hope Municipal hall is now Derry Public Library, The Port Hope Tourism Centre is now a City of Derry office, Ganaraska Financial is now Montgomery Financial, Gould's Shoes store front on Walton Street changed to a butcher shop, The Avanti Hair Design store front changed to Tony's Barber Shop, an empty storefront at 36 Walton Street changed to Reliance Cleaners, Queen Street Tattoo store front changed to Derry Scoop, a statue of Paul Bunyan was erected in Memorial Park, US flags now hang in place of Canadian flags downtown, and Port Hope Capitol Theatre had appeared to be showing Batman (1989) and Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), thus confirming the film's setting of 1989.
On July 11, 2016, preliminary shooting took place in Port Hope Town Hall, Memorial Park cenotaph, Queen Street between Walton and Robertson streets and the Capitol Theatre. On July 12, 2016, filming occurred between the intersection of Mill and Walton street, Walton Street bridge, and in front and behind 16–22 Walton Street and Port Hope Town Hall. Other shooting locations included Queen Street between Walton and Roberston street, and Memorial Park, on July 13. It was also reported, on July 14, that filming had been set up on the alley between Gould's Shoe's and Avanti Hair Design, and John and Hayward streets. On July 15, 2016, Cavan Street between Highland Drive and Ravine Drive, and Victoria Street South between Trafalgar Street and Sullivan Street. Filming moved to Cavan Street between Highland Drive and Ravine Drive, and Victoria Street South between Trafalgar Street and Sullivan Street on July 15. Filming in Port Hope ended on July 18, at Watson's Guardian Drugs.
Oshawa had been chosen by producers of It as the next filming location, and on July 20, 2016, filming notices were sent out to homes in the area of Eulalie Avenue and James Street, near downtown Oshawa, advising residents that filming of a new adaptation will commence shooting in the area from August 5 up until August 8, 2016. On July 29, 2016, it was announced the crew had been busy on the formerly vacant lot at the dead end of James Street constructing the set, in the form of a dilapidated old house. It was also remarked that the structure is a facade built around scaffolding that will be used for exterior shots. The set is composed of pre-fabricated modules that are being trucked in and put into place by IATSE carpenters.
On July 18, 2016, production crews had arrived in Riverdale, Toronto, with filming beginning at 450 Pape Ave, which is home to a circa 1902 heritage-designated building called Cranfield House, up until August 19, 2016. It was reported, on September 4, that filming had wrapped it's shooting in Oshawa, which included the haunted house location, as well as on Court and Fisher streets. Principal photography was confirmed to have ended in Toronto on September 21, 2016, with an altered shooting schedule occurring from June 27 to September 21, 2016, and ultimately with post-production initially beginning on September 14, 2016.
Cinematography [ ]
"One of my main quests is highlighting the eyes of the actors, indeed. I believe that what is captured in the eye goes beyond what can be seen in facial expressions alone. So I always look for a specific way to highlight the eyes of each actor. We did several tests on Pennywise's eyes during camera tests and in the end, I used a flashlight. We tested a lot of different lamps and I chose a particularly powerful one, which gave a very hard light. When Pennywise looks at the kids, I wanted his eyes to look more than his desire to eat them. I liked the idea that, in his eyes, we can see that he knows the fear he inflicts. A bit like when a mother looks hard at her children to scold them. More than just scary eyes, I thought that was what the character needed. So something had to be done to emphasize his look."
It was photographed with Arri Alexa XT Plus and Alexa Mini in a distributed aspect ratio of 2.39:1 by Chung Chung-hoon. For photographic lens, Chung used Panavision G Series Anamorphic Prime, Angenieux Optimo, and Primo Prime in which Chung stated is used "when Muschietti wants to use a wider lens or needs more frame space for visual effects. The look of the lenses is nearly the same. I mix them a lot and it works well." Cinematographer Chung and director Muschietti's discussions on the lighting of It were of temperature, with Muschietti wanting a hot summer with everyone sweating all the time, while admiring characters with shine on their faces. Both also discussed the balance of making something realistic, but with an element of intrigue that something is not right. Chung mulled over the notion of a period look for It , but ultimately felt the 1980s feel was conveyed through Claude Paré's sets and the work of Janie Bryant, in which Chung stated: "Trying to make a movie set in the 1980s look like the 1980s can be dangerous." Initially he had thought of photographing with 1980s lighting rules and gear, though later feeling it to be superfluous as Muschietti and he were trying to capture a natural look.
Muschietti himself found mainstream 1980s lighting too artificial thus preferred to through windows and bounce off the floor, allowing him to convey a feeling of intimacy with the characters, while admiring the approach of unsettling backlights and soft lights. Chung spoke of his experience on Stoker (2013), which taught him how to light quickly using one source: "I feel lucky because some directors will always say, Can you make more light? But this movie is very naturalistic. My responsibility is to the audience and to tell the story, and if you want this movie to scare people, a natural look is best."
Editing [ ]
"The final is two hours and nine minutes from memory, the first editor’s assembly was three hours and forty minutes and then after the director’s cut, we were hovering just under the three-hour mark. Then we went through studio notes and audience screenings to further work the cut. Not only are there film rhythms, but there are also filmmaker rhythms. Cutting a film is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to emotionally and physically pace yourself."
Film editor Jason Ballantine spoke of the difference in pacing and rhythm that comes with horror in It , in which a story like this was broken up into individual encounters with Pennywise for each of the characters, thus requiring a particular approach. Each segment had to have the appropriate rhythm and setup for the inevitable jump scare, to which he explained: "We were definitely conscious of trying to mix the rhythms up. Each encounter became somewhat more elaborate for the jump-scare in terms of what was shot. The first assembly was massively long So it did mean that screen time had to be dropped, either through the tightening of existing sequences or even scene deletions." Ballantine also spoke of the key factors when cutting It , which included King's novel, and Tommy Lee Wallace's 1990 miniseries.
In approaching a scene for It , Ballantine mapped out his day-to-day workflow from getting his dailies to sitting down with Muschietti looking through what he's pieced together. Upon receiving the dailies, Ballantine looked through the footage to see if he needs any pickups or reshoots to report back to set, resulting in Pearce Roemer, Elliott Traeger, Ferran Banchs and Daniel Miller to ensure all the footage had been copied over before returning the footage for formatting. From there, Ballantine asks his assistants to arrange the selects in script-order so that he can have a better understanding of the structure, as well as work at a faster pace without worrying about getting lost in the footage. Once Ballantine has a good chunk of the selects in the order he wants, the finished product from that batch will be about a third of the original length.
Pennywise's gray costume was partly inspired by the clothing style of Renaissance.
Costume design [ ]
On August 16, 2016, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly , costume designer Janie Bryant spoke of crafting Pennywise's form-fitting suit and the inspirations to which it drew upon involving a number of bygone times among them the Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian eras. Bryant explained that the costume incorporates all these otherworldly past lives, while highlighting the point that Pennywise is a clown from a different time. In designing Pennywise's costume, Bryant included a Fortuny pleating, which gives the costume an almost a crepe-like effect, to which Bryant remarked, "It's a different technique than what the Elizabethans would do. It's more organic, it's more sheer. It has a whimsical, floppy quality to it. It's not a direct translation of a ruff or a whisk, which were two of the collars popular during the Elizabethan period."
Bryant played with multiple eras as a way of reflecting Pennywise's immortality and added a "doll-like quality to the costume." She furthered this by stating "The pants being short, the high waistline of the jacket, and the fit of the costume is a very important element. It gives the character a child-like quality." Bryant spoke of the two puffs off the shoulder, sleeves and again on the bloomers, with her desire to create an "organic, gourd or pumpkin kind of effect", which includes the peplum at the waist, the flared, skirt-like fabric blossoming from below his doublet. She explains, "It helps exaggerate certain parts of the body. The costume is very nipped in the waist and with the peplum and bloomers it has an expansive silhouette." The main color of his costume is a dusky gray, but with a few splashes of color. She concludes the interview by stating, "The pompoms are orange, and then with the trim around the cuffs and the ankles, it's basically a ball fringe that's a combination of orange, red, and cinnamon. It's almost like Pennywise fades into his environment. But there are accents to pull out the definition of the gray silk."
Bryant explained that she wished for Pennywise to have an organic element about himself, with herself paying attention to King's description of Pennywise as being in a silvery gray. For Pennywise, Bryant's manufacturer built 17 different clown costumes to accommodate the action in the film. Muschietti spoke of the fact that the entity of Pennywise has been around for thousands of years, thus from an esthetic standpoint wished to depart from the 20th century clown framework, in which he stated "I think it looks cheap, and it's too related to social events and stuff and circus and stuff. Circus is fine, but I’m more aesthetically attracted to the old time, like the 19th century clown. And given that this guy has been around for centuries, I wondered myself why, why not, having an upgrade that was 1800s?"
Production design [ ]
"One of the main sets that we worked on one of them was an evil house. The evil house had three specific moments there's the exterior, there's the interior, and then the basement, where the well is where Pennywise accesses the sewers and the cisterns where his lair is I also wanted to have this spooky tree looming at the house so we decided to build it until a crew member found this tree, driving to the office here one morning. So we bought the tree from the owner after negotiating."
Production designer Claude Paré commented that apart from 29 Neibolt Street, that the other main component of Muschietti's It were both the sewers and the cistern, to which Muschietti and himself worked every morning for roughly three months observing, looking at the plans and attempting to figure out what was the best pattern for themselves on stages they had access to a rather precise stage, though having to make profit as much as they could, of what they had. Paré discussed about knowing that Muschietti and himself had to have a culvert entrance in The Barrens, somewhere in or around Toronto.
The construction of 29 Neibolt Street was one of the great challenges of the production, with Paré later explaining he wanted the haunted house of the film to be visually strong and in line with the decor of the great films of the horror genre such as the Bates house from Psycho (1960), or the Overlook Hotel of The Shining (1980). Paré worked extensively with Muschietti to imagine a haunted house that unleashes a presence that is discovered to be a character in its own right. The exterior of 29 Neibolt Street was built in Oshawa, Ontario, with the interior scenes being filmed in a former hospice.
Six months after principal photography, Paré built the clown room on a sound-stage at Pinewood Toronto Studios as Muschietti felt the Neibolt Street sequence required more scares to which Paré stated Muschietti had the concept of wanting to have clowns from different eras, in which Paré said: "There were real clowns and fake clowns. There was lots of work put into dressing mannequins and putting some heads on them with masks and wigs and so on. Some of them were real people, so they start moving as you see in the movie." Conceptually, Muschietti himself spoke of how he wished to keep the cistern more grounded and real, instead of going into a world of fantasy: "I decided to do a compelling and surrealistic but still grounded physical place." Paré originally had wished that the sewers were composed of bricks, due to it being of more period-accuracy, however, the cost was deemed too great thus his team and himself decided to go with formed concrete which was constructed with a mixture of planks and plywood sheets. Paré spoke of the special attention paid to the water drainage for the sewer, as well as the water marks that he said echoed those of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Paré later explained that his team looked at the location, with them later having kids climb up and down to which later resulted in the construction of the well on the stage, which connects Pennywise's tunnel, giving access to the tunnels, which in turn gives access to the cistern: "which is the giant set that we're shooting now, and in which Pennywise has his wagon and on top of which there's a pile of all the clothes and toys of the dead kids over the many centuries." The vortex of dead children was also a creation of Muschietti and Paré, with floating being a "metaphor for dying," according to Muschietti. Paré had to get down to logistics with conversations taking place about how many bodies would be floating, as well as the speed at which the children were spinning around, with Paré remarking: "We didn't want to go over a year worth of kids, because all the kids that would have been dead would have been eaten in the 27 years that Pennywise was away So the kids of that era are basically a reserve for the next 27 years."
Sound design [ ]
Chris Jenkins and Michael Keller were sound engineers for the film, tasked with sound mixing, while sound editor Victor Ray Ennis supervised the process. Director Muschietti was clear unto the sound engineers about every aspect of the soundscape, especially when it came to dynamics. During the final mix there were moments when Muschietti conducted the peaks and valleys of the sound design and score, to which sound designer Paul Hackner stated, "It was in these moments when perceived silence, created by small transients such as water drips, foot creaks, or actual silence, were revealed, resulting in a dynamic mix."
Visual effects [ ]
"Basically what they did was bring in all the stunt performers into a gym, and they learned the choreography and they motion-captured this. We built really quick CG assets for all the characters, including Pennywise, and we planned out all his transformations and the action. In the end, you could have the shape of both characters, but both of them could have the textures of one or the other. With some simulated effects we'd be able to balance all of that out and really time it to what [Muschietti] was looking for.
Nicholas Brooks was the overall visual effects supervisor and the visual effects company Rodeo FX worked on most of the visual effects on It , completing 95 shots for the film. Rodeo FX was tasked with creating a number of CG assets to either enhance or even completely replace Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise, amongst others being the giant abandoned cistern within the heart of Pennywise's lair. Both from a technical and creative standpoint, the various shapes created for Pennywise presented a large challenge for Rodeo FX 's modeling, rigging and creature FX teams. The visual effects company Atomic Arts were initially brought in to create the paper boat sequence for It , which covers much of the first trailers, to which all of the shots were used in the final film and the company were awarded many more shots in Muschietti's piece. Atomic Arts highlighted the challenges in creating the paper boat sequence, as Muschietti and Chung shot in it bright sunshine. Amalgamated Dynamics worked on the special makeup effects on It .
Producer Barbara Muschietti stated that It would use computer-generated imagery as a support tool in every circumstance; never as an element standing on its own in regard to its relationship with practical effects, to which she stated, "In every film, in this day and age, there is some CG, but we will use it as little as possible." Andy Muschietti spoke of It containing a small amount of CGI, with much of Pennywise being Skarsgård and his face: "The rest it's a shape-shifting monster, and I wanted to bring that to the screen, when he's basically trying to throw everything he has at them.", while signifying the importance of design and execution in the eternal discussion of practical versus CG.
Company 3's Stephen Nakamura collaborated with Muschietti to color grade It , completing the film's digital intermediate in Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve at EFILM, spoke of the concepts about the look of Muschietti's film that evolved during production, and while continuing it in the DI, the idea that a lot of the film takes place in fairly high-key situations, not the kind of dark, shadowy world some horror films exist in. Nakamura said, "It's a period piece. It's set in a small town that sort of looks like this pleasant place to be, but all this wild stuff is happening!" On the work connected on Pennywise during the digital intermediate, Nakamura spoke of having alpha channel mattes cut around Pennywise's eyes for every shot he's in, while using the color corrector to make changes to his eyes:" Other moments Nakamura mentioned was the battle between the kids and Pennywise underground, wherein the setting shifts the story into darkness, with such an effect working powerfully in the 14-footlambert standard digital cinema version and even more so in the 31-footlambert HDR pass which was completed for the film's Dolby Cinema version, in contrast to Nakamura's work on Tomorrowland (2015), with him explaining: "In the Dolby Cinema version, the scene can feel significantly darker but also contain more detail. You're pushing more light through the images overall and the contrast ratio is massive so dark scenes can be even darker but we can hold onto every scary detail. It’s a very effective tool to have for this kind of movie."
Gallery [ ]
- The number 27 is involved a lot in the film. This is the second adaptation of novel IT , being released 27 years after the 1990 miniseries. The actor who played Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) turned 27 just a little more than a month before the movie's release date. This pays homage to the novel, in which it is stated that "It" returns every 27 years.
- IT is currently the highest grossing horror movie and Stephen King adaptation as of 2022, following the reason the film grossed so far over $706 million worldwide.
- As Georgie is about to die, there is a cat that witnesses it. Likely a reference to " Cat's Eye ", a movie based off two of King's short stories: Quitters, Inc. and The Ledge .
- The film makes a reference to thrash metal bands, Metallica and Anthrax; Reginald "Belch" Huggins is shown wearing a shirt for the two.
- A deleted scene shows that Georgie escapes his death by grabbing the paper boat too fast for Pennywise to catch his arm and leaving. Although this was filmed as a joke.
- Another deleted scene shows an alternate ending when Bill arrives back home. He shows his mother the scar on his hand and as they drive off, the camera zooms to a drain as we hear some raindrops indicating It's survival.
- When Sophia Lillis auditioned for the role of Beverly, her hair was too short since her characters hair is described as "long red hair" in the 1986 novel. She had to wear hair extensions during filming, until director Andy Muschietti decides to have it all cut off in one scene. Muschietti's original plan was to plant new strands of hair among her extensions so that she wouldn't have to cut her actual hair in the process. "But it wasn't really working," she admits. "It didn't really look real enough so he went all up and said, 'You know what? Just cut it all off. Hopefully you don't cut your hair or ruin it too much.'
- IT holds a many similarities with the Netflix series, Stranger Things . Coincidentally, Finn Wolfhard, who plays Richie Tozier, also stars in Stranger Things as Mike Wheeler.
- IT premiered in Los Angeles on September 5, 2017, and was released in the United States on September 8, 2017, in 2D and IMAX. The film set numerous box office records and grossed over $700 million worldwide, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. IT received positive reviews, with critics praising the performances, direction, cinematography and musical score, and many calling it one of the best Stephen King adaptations. IT has received numerous awards and nominations. IT was nominated for the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie. In addition, the motion picture has been named as one of the best films of 2017 by various ongoing critics, appearing on several critics' end-of-year lists
IT: Chapter Two was released on September 6, 2019.
References [ ]
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Common Sense Media Reviewers
Terrifying evil clown movie based on Stephen King classic.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Teaming up with others can help you beat seemingly
The lead characters are troubled outcasts prone to
Most lead characters are White, except for Mike (p
Very scary stuff; children are in constant peril,
Young teens make sex-related jokes with terms like
Very strong language, much of it spoken by 13-year
Many empty beer bottles near an adult's chair in o
Parents need to know that It is a horror film based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, which was previously adapted into a 1990 TV miniseries. It's very scary, and things get pretty gory: characters are stabbed, impaled, and beaten with rocks and blunt objects. A boy's arm is bitten off, teens shoot guns (once at…
Teaming up with others can help you beat seemingly impossible odds and achieve a common goal. But bullying is shown in different forms, from emotionally abusive parents to physically abusive teens -- and the ways it's dealt with sometimes involve violence.
Positive Role Models
The lead characters are troubled outcasts prone to iffy behavior or lying -- but they step up and are at their best when working as a team.
Most lead characters are White, except for Mike (played by Chosen Jacobs, who's Black). Bill's actor, Jaeden Martell, has a Korean grandmother, but he passes for White in the film. Main lead Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is larger than his peers and avoids weight-based stereotypes, characterized as being smart. (Everyone else in the cast is thin.) Though Beverly (Sophia Lillis) is the only girl among the group, she's resilient, courageous, and unafraid to face the clown. Bullying language includes "f--got" and, given the film's setting in 1989, there's mention of the AIDS epidemic (plus misinformation about how it's transmitted -- a character says someone got it by "touching a dirty pole on the subway").
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Very scary stuff; children are in constant peril, with a flat-out terrifying clown who threatens the main characters. Lots of bullying, including a scene in which a teenager carves a child's stomach with a knife, and another stabs a man in a very bloody scene. Teens bully a classmate by spreading rumors about how she's slept around. A bathroom is covered in blood, and characters spend a scene cleaning it up. A sheep is killed with a bolt gun. Rock throwing, with injuries. Broken arm. Clown stabbed through the face. Characters shoot guns, taking aim at a cat. Kicking, smashing in head with toilet tank lid. Kids beat the clown with many kinds of blunt objects. A father psychologically abuses his teen daughter -- rape is implied. The evil clown has supernatural powers, including shape-shifting and removing his own jaw.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Young teens make sex-related jokes with terms like "tickling your pickle," "period," "vagina," "birth control pills," "crabs," etc. Teens go swimming in their underwear. A kid tells another kid to "blow his dad." Two kids share a consensual kiss. Nonconsensual sex is also implied -- see Violence & Scariness for details.
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Very strong language, much of it spoken by 13-year-olds, including "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "t-ts," "ass," "damn," "d--k," "f--got," "piss," "you suck," "my wang," "bitch," "retarded," plus "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many empty beer bottles near an adult's chair in one scene. A girl steals cigarettes and later smokes a cigarette in a bathroom.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that It is a horror film based on Stephen King 's 1986 novel, which was previously adapted into a 1990 TV miniseries . It's very scary, and things get pretty gory: characters are stabbed, impaled, and beaten with rocks and blunt objects. A boy's arm is bitten off, teens shoot guns (once at a cat), and a sheep is killed with a bolt gun. There's lots of bullying, and it's implied that a father sexually abuses his teen daughter (who is also bullied by her classmates who spread rumors she's slept with many guys). Pennywise, the evil clown played by Bill Skarsgård , uses supernatural powers, including shape-shifting and removing his own jaw. Characters, including 13-year-olds, say "f--k," "s--t," "bitch," "f--got," and more. You can also expect a fair bit of sex-related talk among teens, though much of it is naïve and meant to be humorous. Two kids share a consensual kiss. Empty beer bottles are seen, and a girl steals a pack of cigarettes, later smoking one. Though the leads are mostly White boys, Mike (Chose Jacobs) is Black, Ben ( Jeremy Ray Taylor ) is larger than his thin peers and isn't defined by his weight, and Beverly ( Sophia Lillis ), the group's only female character, is resilient and courageous. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails .
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- Parents say (277)
- Kids say (937)
Based on 277 parent reviews
A Good Start Before Going with Overuse of Jump scares and Poor Direction
It is the best, what's the story.
IT begins in 1988 in the town of Derry, Maine, where little Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) goes outside in the rain to sail the toy boat that his older brother, Bill ( Jaeden Lieberher ), made for him. The boat goes down the drain. Looking into the sewer, Georgie encounters a scary clown called Pennywise ( Bill Skarsgård ) and disappears. The following summer, as school lets out, Bill and the other town outcasts -- including Beverly Marsh ( Sophia Lillis ) and loudmouth Richie Tozier ( Finn Wolfhard ) -- are beset by teenagers. They start to experience terrifying events of their own and notice that other kids in town are disappearing. Thanks to their new friend, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the teens discover that the waves of evil things seem to happen in cycles of 27 years and that all of it leads back to a well in the basement of a creepy old house. Bill vows to stop whatever it is that killed his brother.
Is It Any Good?
Based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, this terrifying clown movie builds its fright from fear itself. In that respect, It is more aligned with The Goonies , Stand by Me , and Stranger Things than it is with slasher movies or jump scares. Director Andy Muschietti , whose disappointing horror movie Mama never would have indicated anything as good as It , keeps things simple by focusing on the bond between the outcast kids -- there are plenty of scenes that could have been taken right out of any summertime coming-of-age movie -- and by using a slick combination of practical and digital effects.
The result feels like it could have come right out of the 1980s. Few of the familiar, overused clich és of more recent horror movies are here, and, with its effective use of music, editing, set design, choice of angles, and overall rhythms, It generates honest-to-goodness tingles, rather than quick shocks. And Pennywise (a chilling Skarsgård) is an iconic character, based not on a simple fear of death but on something more primal and unexplainable, the thing nightmares are made from.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about It's violence . What's the difference between the violence committed by abusive parents and classmates and the movie's supernatural forces? What's the impact of media violence on kids ?
Clowns are often seen at the circus or children's parties. Why is the clown here so scary?
How are the teens who bully their peers depicted in the movie? What are some ways to deal with harassment? How would you deal with them?
How does this movie compare to the book? To the miniseries ?
- In theaters : September 8, 2017
- On DVD or streaming : January 9, 2018
- Cast : Bill Skarsgård , Finn Wolfhard , Jaeden Martell
- Director : Andres Muschietti
- Inclusion Information : Asian actors
- Studio : New Line Cinema
- Genre : Horror
- Topics : Book Characters , Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time : 135 minutes
- MPAA rating : R
- MPAA explanation : violence/horror, bloody images, and for language
- Last updated : November 10, 2023
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Review: Slick and Entertaining, It Can't Match the Horror of Stephen King's Classic
T he best or at least the most memorable movie adaptations of Stephen King novels—like Carrie or The Shining —create a vivid universe unto themselves while channeling King’s fearlessness in exploring the dark side of human nature. King’s novels, with their seemingly infinite layers of detail and meandering, entertaining asides, are difficult to adapt. But whatever you do, locking into King’s tone is essential. For all his willingness to stare down the darkest horrors and put them on the page, he’s also blazingly sympathetic to human insecurities and flaws. He doesn’t just show us a bunch of scary stuff. He challenges us to confront why we find that stuff scary in the first place.
Director Andy Muschietti’s It, adapted from King’s disquieting 1986 epic of the same name, doesn’t cut very deep and isn’t very scary. At its best, it’s a sometimes-entertaining evocation of the way kids think and talk within their little cliques, and of the way they protect one another with fierce loyalty. Rob Reiner’s 1986 Stand By Me is the obvious comparison point. It’s the end of the 1988 school year in the small Maine town of Derry, and a bunch of the nerdier, less-popular kids are looking forward to a summer of being picked on by the town bullies. There’s asthmatic mother’s boy Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), gangly Jewish kid Stanley Uris (Wyatt Olef), whose religion puts him in the minority in small-town Maine, and wiseguy comedian Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard). Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) is one of the quieter, more thoughtful members of the gang; he has a stutter he can’t control, and he’s still reeling from a recent family tragedy. His six-year-old brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), disappeared earlier in the year—the event is dramatized with chilling precision in the movie’s opening sequence.
The boys’ chief nemesis is teenage bad apple Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), and he’s not your average harmless misguided delinquent. At one point he attempts to carve his name into the stomach of another local kid, Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor). Ben is saved by Bill and the others, and two more kids end up joining the group: Mike (Chosen Jacobs) lives on a nearby sheep farm, where his chores include some of the more challenging work farmers need to do. He is also black, and so, like Stan, he’s another small-town Maine rarity. Beverly (Sophia Lillis), the only girl in the group, is slightly older, and she’s living a secret nightmare life at home. At school, she’s been branded “fast,” though there’s no truth to that accusation. She’s just a smart, considerate girl who tends to keep to herself.
Muschietti, who directed the effective 2013 horror thriller Mama, starring Jessica Chastain, does a fine job of sketching each of these kids as individuals, a challenge that even more experienced directors sometimes fail to meet. The problem is that the plot escalates in its ridiculousness, and Muschietti can’t control it. The kids learn that their town is in the grip of an evil force—the It of the title—who emerges every 27 years to feast on the locals, particularly the children. This It generally takes the form of Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård), an old-school circus clown with menacing eyes who lives in the town’s sewers and whose presence is sometimes announced by an ominous, free-floating red balloon.
Once the kids realize what It is up to, they want to stop It once and for all. Pennywise is one scary clown, a creature with red greasepaint stripes that trail from his eyes to his leering lips like bloody tears. The first time you see him—in the movie’s genuinely unnerving but also poetic opening, which hews closely to King’s beautifully written first chapter—he’s so scary you wonder if you might be in for a masterpiece. But by the tenth or twelfth—or perhaps twentieth?—time he shows up, the novelty has worn off. Muschietti relies too much on your garden-variety jump scares and now-standard special effects, things like ghoulish limbs twisting every which-way and innocent figures shape-shifting into malevolent ones. As always, the horrors you get a close look at are much less terrifying than those that remain unseen.
And that’s the chief problem with adapting any Stephen King novel: Nothing ever looks as scary on-screen as it does in our minds, when we’re sitting alone with a book. With It, seeing isn’t the same as believing.
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