Stephen King Gets More Actively in “IT Chapter Two”
At the end of 2017’s “IT,” the game-changing motion picture adaptation of Stephen King’s quintessential horror novel, the young members of the Losers’ Club are sitting in the sunshine, days after their defeat of Pennywise in the sewers below. The only ones in Derry truly aware of the pernicious evil that nearly annihilated the town, they swear a blood oath to come back if their efforts to destroy the malevolent presence weren’t successful. If, indeed, Pennywise ever returns…
For Andy Muschietti—director of the global phenomenon “IT” and now, the epic conclusion, “IT Chapter Two”—IT never really left him. While the first film was busy racking up critical praise, fan love and record-setting ticket sales, Muschietti had already plunged headlong into early pre-production on the final chapter of what was always planned as a two-film telling of King’s seminal novel.
Reacting to the first movie’s astonishing success, the director says, “I’ve been with this project for a long time, shaping it, going through the challenges of that, and also having a lot of fun. I had such a strong connection with the process of making the film, it was hard for me to see it from the other side. But obviously, it was amazing, and I was incredibly pleased and really flattered.”
Muschietti did see, however, the urgency to return to Derry. He continues, “The hook effect in the whole thing was incredible. People became emotionally invested in the characters and the story, and at the end of the movie, there was a promise of something to come. Basically, if IT returns, the Losers will, too. I shared the moviegoers’ need to see the second half of the story, the conclusion. This second chapter is as necessary to tell as the first. I couldn’t have been more excited to jump in and start imagining what that would be.”
In addition to adopting the novel’s storytelling structure, Muschietti increased the Stephen King quotient by including the novelist more directly. He says, “Stephen is very respectful of adaptations, and our communications with him started when we were nearly finished with the first chapter. We screened it for him, and he reacted very positively. I didn’t want to let the chance go by without getting his thoughts for our second film.”
King remarks, “I had hopes for the film, but I was not prepared for how good ‘IT’ was. I think the best vote of confidence for the second movie is that when the first movie ended with a title card that says, ‘IT Chapter One,’ audiences applauded. They wanted more. Now, they’re going to get the rest. It’s not a sequel; it’s the second half of one unified story.
“I remember when I was working on the novel,” the author continues, shifting gears, “I was on a walk when I saw this little girl sitting at the side of the road, drawing in the dust and talking to herself about the imaginary people in her doodles. I thought, ‘What if it was an adult doing that?’ We understand that kids have a wider perspective. Their imaginations are unfettered and as we grow older, it becomes tougher and tougher to hold on to that imagination. So, what I really wanted to do with IT was to bring these people back as adults. Having had this experience when they were kids, they are the only ones who have a chance to recapture that imaginative capacity they had as children and use that against IT.”
“IT Chapter Two” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.