It: Chapter 2 – News, Cast Updates & More

Bill Skarsgard returns as Pennywise in It: Chapter 2

“He thrust his fist into the post and still insists he sees the ghost… Fear.”

These are the final words uttered by the flamboyant, giggling clown we’ve come to know as Pennywise.  The makeup-clad villain is evil personified, a deadly force plucking children from the sleepy town of Derry, Maine, dragging them to his sinister home in the community’s elaborate water pipe system. It feeds on fear, and after the ragtag group of friends known as ‘The Losers Club’ are able to vanquish the evil deep into the dark, endless pipes during the summer of 1989, it would seem the nightmare was finally over. 

But 1989 was a long time ago…

Fast-forward twenty-seven years, The Losers Club, now aged and gone their separate ways, is drawn back to the town that brought them so much pain, so much terror.  They aren’t kids anymore and when the evil returns for one last go-around, the only option is to kill It and make sure it stays dead for good. 

It’s Next Chapter

 Pennywise looks out from the sewer with hungry, menacing eyes. (It, 2017)                                                                                                                                        Pennywise looks out from the sewer with hungry, menacing eyes. (It, 2017)

 

When the word got out that Stephen King’s horror masterpiece was getting a big screen reboot in 2017, I, like many others, was extremely skeptical.  I wondered, how are they going to squeeze this thousand-plus page epic into a two hour film?  Everyone was put at ease when the the filmmakers revealed they had no intention of telling the entire tale in 120 minutes.

This is a story of two generations:  a group of adolescent children and their adult selves twenty-seven years later.  In the 1986 novel, King masterfully intertwines the two timelines with silky-smooth transitions; at no point does the jumping around feel jarring in any way.  But the written word has a luxury that films often don’t: time to focus on the little details.  On the big screen, things need to keep moving, which is why those behind the 2017 box office hit decided to make the story all about the kids.  They laid the groundwork, introduced us to this group of outcasts each struggling with their own obstacles and fears, and put a seemingly impossible task in front of them: save the children of Derry from unspeakable evil.

Now, twenty-seven years later, their grownup counterparts are called upon to finish the task they started so long ago:  kill It.  The Losers Club returns to Derry, but not without nearly three decades of history dragging along behind them.  There are old relationships to reconcile, new fears to overcome, and a score to settle with an evil that robbed them of their innocence and never left the darkest corners of their minds.   

The Stars of It’s Sequel

After the tremendous success of 2017’s It and the announcement of a second chapter, the big question was who was going to fill the very big shoes of the talented young cast?  Excluding Finn Wolfhard, of Stranger Things fame, playing Richie Tozier, It was predominantly cast with unknown actors.  This choice worked to the benefit of the filmmakers, letting the audience see these young faces for the first time, bringing a realism to their characters that put them across as believable and emotionally satisfying.     

The Losers Club from 2017’s It look on as It’s victims float above them.(It, 2017)                                                                                                                                          The Losers Club from 2017’s It look on as It’s victims float above them.                                        

Fans were split when rumors of actors cast as the adult versions of their adolescent predecessors began to circulate.  Were they sticking with unknowns or playing it safe by filling the roles with A-List favorites?  Well, the answer is a little bit of both.     

Early on, the general consensus from fans was Jessica Chastain would be perfect as the adult version of the lone female member of The Losers Club, Beverly Marsh.  They both have that fiery, unmistakable red hair and looking at a side by side comparison, the two share a striking resemblance.  Chastain, whose acting chops were showcased in films such as Zero Dark Thirty, Interstellar, and Molly’s Game, is more than capable of taking on the challenge. 

After Chastain’s casting was officially announced in February of 2018, the next name to follow would be big time A-Lister James MacAvoy as “Stuttering” Bill Denbrough.  The reactions towards MacAvoy ranged from neutral to positive.  MacAvoy became a household name after his performance as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class and its later sequels.  He went on to earn massive praise for his multi-dimensional portrayal of Kevin Crumb, a man suffering from severe split-personality disorder, in 2016’s Split. MacAvoy is a fine actor, but it’s still up in the air whether or not he is the perfect fit for The Losers Club’s stoic leader.

The big winner in It: Chapter 2’s casting lottery is without question Bill Hader.  Slated to play Richie Tozier, the wisecracking jokester of The Losers Club, Hader is an excellent choice to bring the foul-mouthed Richie into adulthood.  With more credits than he knows what to do with, the comedic actor was a longstanding Saturday Night Live cast member and went on to star in many Judd Apatow-produced comedy films such as Knocked Up, Superbad, and Pinapple Express.  Adult Richie Tozier goes on to become a famous Radio DJ, and what better man to play the part than someone who is no stranger to performing in front of a large audience? 

With all the major players out of the way, the producers of It: Chapter 2 decided to fill some of the roles with lesser known, yet very capable actors.  James Ransone, best known from David Simon projects such as The Wire and Generation Kill, as well as the groundbreaking comedy film Tangerine, is set to play Eddie Kaspbrak, The Losers Club’s resident hypochondriac.  Ransone’s playful, naturalistic acting style is sure to compliment the fast talking and neurotic Eddie.  Isaiah Mustafa, known for his popular Old Spice portrayal of “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”, will come onboard as Mike Hanlon, the reluctant member of the club and the one responsible for warning the others of It’s return.  We also have Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom, an overweight member of The Losers Club often the target of Derry bullies, as well as Andy Bean playing Stanley Uris, the most fearful member of the group and the one most susceptible to It’s power.

And last, but certainly not least, we have Bill Skarsgård returning as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.  The first time around, many were skeptical when Skarsgård was cast in the film’s title role.  He had big, silly shoes to fill, those of Tim Curry’s with his portrayal of the evil clown in the 1990 television miniseries, but Skarsård was able to make the role all his own and completely differentiate his portrayal from Curry’s.  With his sinister smile, those lazy blue eyes, the incessant drooling when he fancies a young victim, or his pleasant offerings of a big, red balloon, Skarsgård has created a dimension of the character that’s fully engrossing and a truly horrific pleasure to watch on the big screen.

The Latest on It: Chapter 2

To everyone’s delight, it was announced last month the filming of It’s second chapter began on June 19th.  Many wondered if we’d seen the last of the young cast we’d come to love in the first installment, but director Andy Muschietti put everyone at ease by revealing the child characters would make an appearance in the sequel through flashbacks.  The adult cast of It: Chapter 2 shares a laugh at a table read on July 2nd.  

The adult cast of It: Chapter 2 shares a laugh at a table read on July 2nd.                                                                                                                                                The adult cast of It: Chapter 2 shares a laugh at a table read on July 2nd. 

The official It Twitter page released a photo of the adult cast at a table read on July 2nd, fully cementing the new faces in our minds and letting us know production is finally in motion.

Many have called 2017’s It Stephen King’s finest adaptation in years and some even went so far to call it a masterpiece.  It’s a hard claim to argue against, with a genre so oversaturated with flat characters and cheap scares, It stands high above the rest as a rich, terrifying, at times hilarious film with terrific characters and wonderful performances. 

In the 1990 miniseries, the adult sections were often called the weaker points of the show, so it is still up in the air as to whether this new take on the story will be able to match its predecessor’s acclaim. 

It: Chapter 2 is slated for release September 6, 2019 and fans are anxiously counting down the days.

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I spend thousands of hours exploring other people’s worlds, one of these days I probably won’t come back. If I see something scary in there, I'll be sure to let you know.
Gamer Since: 1996
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Hitman, Grand Theft Auto V
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