In the spectrum of horror feature theatrical releases, few films have ever achieved such box office success as the recent 2017 motion picture remake of Stephen King’s horror-thriller, It; the story of a group of misfit bullied kids who work together to defeat an evil shape-shifting demon that takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Originally adapted in 1990, the It remake recently crushed box office competition, breaking records for highest-grossing horror movie, and nearly breaking the record for highest-grossing September release.
The remake, starring the exceedingly talented Bill Skarsgård in the reprised role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, has critics raving at the successful revamp, which contained an arguably creepier “It” portrayal by Skarsgård (although Tim Curry is still legendary for his original acclaimed performance) and a more tied-together depiction of “The Loser’s Club,” comprised of Finn Wolfard from the award-winning horror, Netflix series Stranger Things, as well as Jaeden Liberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillias, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff. The movie is also garnering a reputation as a gorier, scarier film altogether in comparison to the original adaptation of the novel, as it more realistically touches on the mature subject matters as was originally detailed in the novel.
Although spoilers and reviews analyzing the differences between the original and the remake have been circulating since the first release of the highly-awaited horror feature, here are 15 things you may not have already known about the 2017 Andy Muschietti remake of It (Warning: Spoilers ahead).
15. The Duffer Brothers Wanted To Direct It
The Duffer Brothers, creators of the critically-acclaimed Netflix original series Stranger Things, were some of the first competitors attempting to grab the roles as directors of the highly-anticipated remake, but had not yet established themselves well enough in the motion picture and television industry. This initially-disappointing loss proved to be what some would argue as a blessing in disguise, as the brother went on to score creative rights and directing roles on Stranger Things, which went on to receive 6 Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as additional Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations. The award-winning series played personal tribute to Stephen King’s Firestarter and even alluded to It in various dialogue throughout the series. Stranger Things’ The Duffer Brothers also cast Finn Wolfard as a lead in their series. Wolfard went on to play Richie in the theatrically-released remake.
14. Skarsgård’s Delayed Appearance
While Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise the Dancing Clown) was on set for most of the production work of the film, he didn’t film any of his scenes until after having wrapped more than half of the production’s shooting. In fact, he spent most of his time prior to shooting on camera working with director Andy Muschietti to perfect his mannerisms for his role as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, including his famed eye deviation that adds a subtly creepy touch to his already-perfected portrayal of the demon clown. While getting into perfecting the role gave him major credit as a truly talented performer in the industry, much like the other members of his legendary family, Bill Skarsgård reported that he was feeling extreme pressure to play the role as well as Tim Curry did in his highly-regarded performance in the 1990’s It.
13. The Kids Were Genuinely Scared
Director Andy Muschietti kept Bill Skarsgård separate from the child actors up until they had to shoot scenes together, so that Bill’s performance as Pennywise would have an impact on the younger actors’ performances. When they were first set to shoot scenes together, the production staff had to warn the kids about how scary Skarsgård could be while he was in full costume and character. Despite thinking that they would be able to handle Skarsgård, the kids were genuinely terrified when Skarsgård performed as Pennywise for the first time. Bill Skarsgård was almost completely isolated from the rest of the cast/crew during the beginning of filming, with the exception of the costume and makeup team. Skarsgård admitted that while he thought this was a good idea, he felt very lonely during his alienation and was sad that he couldn’t bond with the rest of the cast.
12. The Kids Picked Who They Wanted For The Adult Cast
The young cast who played members of the “Losers Club” were each individually asked which Hollywood celebrity actor or actress they would want to play their individual adult roles in the sequel of It (now in pre-production). Finn Wolfhard said Bill Hader, Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh) stated Jessica Chastain (whom producer Barbara Muschietti confirmed is already being considered for the role of adult Beverly), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon) said Chadwick Boseman, Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie Kaspbrak) said Jake Gyllenhaal, Wyatt Oleff (Stanley Uris) said Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom) said Chris Pratt, and Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough) said Christian Bale. Jessica Chastain also portrayed the protagonist Annabel in Mama, another one of Muschietti’s popular horror features. As proven by Muschietti’s previous work with Chastain, the two clearly work brilliantly together.
11. Bill Skarsgård Added Personal Touches As Pennywise
Bill Skarsgård was able to provide unique characteristics to the already-creepy Pennywise. Director Andy Muschietti confirmed that Bill Skarsgård spoke in Swedish sometimes throughout the terrifying feature film while in character as Pennywise, adding what very few other actors could to a tremendously difficult part. If that wasn’t a testament to Skarsgård’s incredible abilities in the role of Pennywise, additionally, although CGI was used in some scenes of the movie, Bill Skarsgård was actually able to move his eyes in different directions in some of the scenes of the movie creating an eye deviating effect. At first, it was uncertain if he was able to achieve this effect on his own, yet Skarsgård assured that he could do it, and it ultimately added to the already unsettling and disturbing look of Pennywise.
10. Skarsgård Wasn’t the First Choice
Bill Skarsgård was not the first and only choice for the coveted role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the It remake. Hugo Weaving–award-winning actor whose notably memorable roles have included the infamous Agent Smith in The Matrix, as well as V in V for Vendetta–and Bill Skarsgård were both finalists for the role of Pennywise, but not before Will Poulter was offered the role on the production, although he had to leave the project due to scheduling conflicts. Other high-profile actors who were rumored to play Pennywise included Johnny Depp, Tilda Swinton, Richard Armitage, Tom Hiddleston, Jackie Earle Haley, Jim Carrey, Kirk Acevedo, Willem Dafoe, Paul Giamatti, Doug Jones, and Channing Tatum. Tim Curry and Ben Mendelsohn were both also offered the role but turned it down.
9. The Hidden Timeline In The Movie Posters
Throughout the many terrifying and intense scenes in It, if one pays attention closely enough to certain moments in the movie’s background setting, the timeline for the movie is actually mapped out. Many movie posters are seen in the background at the theatre or in Bill’s room, including Beetlejuice, Gremlins, Batman, Lethal Weapon, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child—all films owned by the two distributors behind the recent release of It, Warner Brothers or New Line Cinema. The movie posters are used in the background of the film as a cinematic tool to mark the passage of time throughout the summer of 1989—June shows Batman (1989), July exhibits Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), and August displays A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989), allowing more enthusiastic horror fans among audiences to pick out the hidden progression of time visible in the movie.
8. Pre-production Took Forever
During early stages of production, Chloë Grace Moretz was considered for the role of Beverly. Due to the immense amount of time that the production spent in development, casting did not begin until Moretz had already turned 19, and she was deemed too old for the role. As a result, Sophia Lillis was cast instead, with Moretz playing a Stephen King-based role in the remake of the production Carrie. Even though the trailer surprised, shocked, and pleased audiences in early March of 2017 and the arrival of the hit feature seemed to hit theaters rather quickly after the initial trailer releases, the pre-production stages of the movie took 7 years until casting was already complete and production was set to start. Moretz definitely would have been a suitable fit for the role of Beverly in her early teens, but Moretz was definitely too old to be cast in the role.
7. Although Most Of The Stars Were Terrified Of Skarsgård, One Of Them Wasn’t
Sophia Lillis, the lovely actress that plays Beverly Marsh, has explained that she is not scared or even slightly terrified by horror movies. The up-and-coming starlet stated that she actually laughed the first time she saw Bill Skarsgård as the horrifying Pennywise, despite the rest of the younger actors being terrified of the creepy dancing clown. While this may be true of Ms. Lillis’ lack of apprehension towards the demonic killer clown, it definitely didn’t show in her performances throughout the production. Sophia Lillis was definitely the perfect fit for the role of Beverly, as she is one of the first Loser Club members to get over their fear of Pennywise. Furthermore, although Lillis is the fearless member of the group of actors, Finn Wolfard is the exact opposite, admitting to having a fear of clowns despite going head on with the dreaded Pennywise in the film.
6. Only One Star Stayed On From The Original Script
Finn Wolfard was the only member of Cary Fukunaga’s cast for the movie that ended up staying on the project when Andy Muschietti took over as director. Cary Fukunaga was set to direct the film originally but dropped out after years of pre-production due to a difference in artistic vision and additionally, what the intended MPAA rating was intended to be. MPAA nearly gave the film an NC-17 rating which would have absolutely affected the success of such a limited international release. After Cary Fukunaga dropped out, Andy Muschietti pitched the movie that used most of Fukunaga’s original script but also added more of the well-known scenes from the book. When Andy Muschietti first signed on as director, the studio asked him to use Cary Fukunaga’s original script, with only minor edits being made to the more controversial scenes, such as reportedly having Beverly’s father attempting to assault her.
5. Real Clowns Hated The Film
The first trailer for the record-breaking feature film It sparked initial controversy with real-life professional clowns who make a living off of their ability to entertain people (mostly children). Naturally, a movie depicting a ravenous killer demon in the form of a clown would only further add to the growing idea that clowns are creepy. The clowns, defending the name of hardworking legitimate entertainers, stated that the Pennywise’s character encourages people to think of clowns as horrifying, traumatic, and murderous. Rallies to defend the good name of clowns around the U.S. were arranged to follow the month that It was released in theaters. Last year, the country saw a rise in random scary clown appearances throughout the United States. Rumors started surrounding a cult of clowns, with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk even going so far as to base their 2017 season of American Horror Story on a cult who dresses as clowns to terrorize neighborhoods. It is absolutely getting harder and harder for clowns to defend their reputation, and with the extent of scares featuring Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the 2017 remake of It, one can only see why.
4. It Broke Records
In addition to being considered as one of the new scariest movies to be released in theaters, It became the highest-grossing September release of all time and became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time. The film opened at 4,103 theaters in the United States as the widest opening R-rated release in cinema and set a new milestone for all future horror movies in the upcoming Halloween season, although it’s hard to imagine Jigsaw amounting to such international success. The trailer of the film also went on to break world records, with the first trailer going on to receive a “Golden Trailer Horror Movie Award,” an immediate indicator of the future acclaim that the soon-to-be-released production would garner. Moreover, the trailer went on to shatter records, with the trailer being viewed over 197 million times in the first 24 hours of its release.
3. It Featured Acclaimed Horror Monster Performers
The It form of the horribly-morphed flutist pays homage to another one of Andy Muschietti’s previous horror film antagonists, the one from Mama. Javier Botet, who portrayed the disfigured creator in the motion picture Mama, also plays the It creature’s other horribly-disfigured manifestation, “The Leper.” Javier Botet suffers from a rare disorder known as Marfan syndrome, which gives him the ability to contort his limbs into unique positions and forms. This has allowed him to take up roles in some of the biggest motion picture productions of the decade, including Alien Covenant, The Mummy, Crimson Peak, and as the horrifying crooked man from the recent horror movie hit, The Conjuring 2. Botet is also set to star in the upcoming thriller Slenderman, most certainly bringing his incredibly flexible movements to another spine-chilling role.
2. The Makeup Took Forever
In an interview, it was stated by Bill Skarsgård that the makeup for Pennywise the Dancing Clown first took 5 hours when learning how to properly apply and consistently recreate the horrifying look that has been sweeping across the big screens. Makeup artists for horror movies often have some of the most difficult roles, as the characters they created with strokes of the brush are often distinctly imagined and uniquely terrifying to viewers. On top of that, after creating a complex monster look, the artist then has to go back to perfectly recreate the look so that no discrepancies are found in a performer’s appearance throughout a film. As the makeup artists got more practice on Skarsgård, they were able to shorten the lengthy application process down to 2 hours.
1. It Will Have Additional Releases And Sequel
It is set for additional releases in more theaters around the country for Halloween, as the horror movie’s already-massive ticket sales are predicted to spike for the Halloween holiday season at similar rates to when the film was first released. Moreover, it is widely known that the novel and original adaptation depict “The Loser’s Club” years later as adults who, again, have to battle the It demon. As a result of the commercially and critically acclaimed successes achieved by the hit horror feature production, It: Chapter 2 is already in the works. According to the IMDbpro database, It: Chapter 2 has been in development with New Line Cinema since September 7th, 2017 and states Gary Dauberman as working on the script as of September 26th, 2017. Additionally, the database lists the return of director Andy Muschietti and star of Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard and details the following plot for the movie: “27 years later, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.” This definitely makes it hard to wait until its current set release in 2019.
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