There are few upcoming horror films generating levels of anticipation as high as those associated with It. Though it’s not due to arrive in theatres until September, the trailers so far released have proved incredibly popular, and even Stephen King himself is apparently happy with the project. But horror movies are notoriously difficult to predict in terms of box office success, which is why It, in particular, poses such an interesting prospect in terms of sequels.
The source material for the movie – the famously controversial novel written by Stephen King – is a vast, spine-chilling tome, and when it was last adapted for the screen, it was as a television movie in two parts. The first focused on a group of children trying to fend off a shape-shifting, child-eating demon that often manifests as Pennywise the Clown, and the second part focused on the same group as adults, returning to face the same monster. Andres Muschietti – director of the new, cinematic adaptation – recently spoke to Variety, and confirmed that his big screen project will follow the same format.
“We are doing that. We’ll probably have a script for the second part in January. Ideally, we would start prep in March. Part one is only about the kids. Part two is about these characters 30 years later as adults, with flashbacks to 1989 when they were kids.”
This little snippet is exciting, because it reassures fans of the story that the pacing will be right – something that’s vital in horror movies in general, and specifically for the building of suitable tension in this tale. It also raises the question of which adults will be cast in the second film. In the first part, the gang are pre-teens, so in the second part, these characters are in their forties.
The key to an adaptation of It, whether it’s the first or second part of the story, however, is Pennywise the Clown – and Muschietti is convinced that he’s found the perfect embodiment of that demonic presence in Bill Skarsgard.
“I wanted to stay true to the essence of the character. I knew that I didn’t want to go the road of Tim Curry [who played Pennywise in the TV miniseries]. Bill Skarsgard caught my attention. The character has a childish and sweet demeanor, but there’s something very off about him. Bill has that balance in him. He can be sweet and cute, but he can be pretty disturbing.
“He didn’t stay in character when the camera stopped, but we did try to maintain distance between him and the kids. 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.”
Skarsgard’s Pennywise has caught both the attention and the imagination of the millions that have already viewed the promotional teasers and trailers online. And now that we know that Andres Muschietti is returning to guide him through the second movie, too, it looks like we’ll finally have a bona fide box office hit adaptation of Stephen King’s It on our trembling hands.