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SYFY WIRE It Chapter Two

James McAvoy reveals how It: Chapter Two sticks to the horrific source material

By Josh Weiss
It Chapter Two Stephen King

Any movie based on a beloved book is going to have to take some artistic liberties for the sake of the onscreen drama. It's a constant rule that becomes even more inevitable when the novel runs more than 1,000 pages long. Even if a studio splits the many-paged publication into multiple films, certain fat-trimming is required because inner dialogue, narration, and emotions won't always translate into a visual medium.

This rings extremely true for Andy Muschietti's two cinematic adaptations of Stephen King's It, a massive tome that encompasses a dozen different genres in one. Chapter Two opens this September and focuses on the grown-up versions of the Losers' Club, but even with James McAvoy (Bill Denbrough), Jessica Chastain (Beverly Marsh), and Bill Hader (Richie Tozier) arriving in Derry to confront Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), we'll still get callbacks to the first movie as well as the novel. In particular, the movie will contain flashbacks to the young Losers, who were brought back for the sequel.

It Chapter Two Stephen King

"Instead of us just standing around going, ‘Oh, I remember that time,’ we get to show it to the audience,” McAvoy (Dark Phoenix) told EW. "Which is great, because that would be real sad if we had to say goodbye to that cast that the audience across the world fell in love with. And actually, in a weird way this movie resembles the structure of the book, in that it goes back and forth."

The adolescent Losers are played by Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, and Jack Dylan Grazer.

Of course, that brings us back to our original argument of changing parts of the source material, since not everything in Chapter Two will stick to the flow of King's book. For example, Hader's grown-up take on Tozier won't be a disc jockey with a million voices. In the context of 2019, the narrative change makes a ton of sense, because radio hosts are (like radio as a medium) a bit of a dying breed.

“It’s not the same as the book. But it’ll be a real mind-blower," said Hader, joking that Richie (beep! beep!) is now a famous porn star.

Pennywise in It: Chapter Two

The rest of the adult Losers are played by Isaiah Mustafa (Mike Hanlon), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), Jay Ryan (Ben Hanscom), and Andy Bean (Stan Uris).

As for Pennywise, he isn't too happy about a group of folks who not only know about his terrifying habits but also have the means to destroy him for good.

“He’s scarier and he’s angrier,” Skarsgård revealed. “There’s a couple of very brutal things in the film.”

Screenwriter Gary Dauberman teased something similar when he spoke to SYFY WIRE in early May, saying: 

"I will say it gets very very bloody. There's a lot of blood. There is a lot, a lot of blood. She knows that firsthand. I don’t want to put metrics to it, but I wouldn't be surprised. Throughout, there’s quite a bit of blood."

It: Chapter Two floats into theaters everywhere Friday, Sept. 6.