- IT movie release date: September 8, 2017
- Director: Andy Muschietti
- Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor
- Writers: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman
The IT movie isn't clowning around
Are you afraid of clowns? If the answer is yes it’s probably not because you had a bad experience at a McDonald’s once. You’re mortally afraid of that white powder and red nose for one reason, and one reason only. IT. Stephen King’s book and subsequent TV series about a group of kids battling a hideous evil that stalks a small 1950s town is the terrifying touchstone for a whole generation. Pennywise the clown, one of the many faces of the monster, infamously played by Tim Curry in the TV series, scarred everyone who watched.
Now it’s time for a new generation to be afraid. Mama director Andy Muschietti has taken the horror helm for this year’s IT movie and going by what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a horrendous treat. Here’s everything we know about IT so far.
The IT movie release date is coming soon
And we don’t even have long to wait. IT is out on September 8 this year in the UK and the US. It’s not been an easy ride though. IT has been floating around in the dank sewers of development hell since 2009. Originally the project was in the hands of True Detective director Cary Fukunaga who had penned the script alongside writer Chase Palmer. Fukunaga was the one who wanted to split King’s tome into two movies. The first would be the adventures of the young Loser’s Club, the other would be the story of them grown up as they return to Derry to tackle IT as adults. He also wanted IT to be far more than just the clown of the original adaptation and be truer to King’s vision.
The reasons for Fukunaga leaving the project are unclear - apparent budget constraint arguments were apparently false - but he is still credited for contributions to the current screenplay. It’s obviously not going to be the same movie, but his influence is still at work here and when Andy Muschietti started in 2015, he didn’t burn down all the work that had gone before. The script has obviously been rewritten but it sounds like we’ve still got a hint of the horror that came before.
The IT movie trailer breaks records
If you’re looking for how much people want to be afraid, look no further than the fact that more than 197 million people watched the IT movie trailer in its first 24 hours online, smashing all previous YouTube records. That’s a terrifying 58 million more than the 139 million who watched the ridiculous The Fate of the Furious trailer earlier this year.
There’s no two ways about it: the first reveal of the adventures of the Loser’s Club in Derry is scary. The action has been effortlessly moved from the ‘50s to the ‘80s, a far better point of context for modern audiences, and the introduction is perfect with poor George Denbrough chasing his little paper boat down the street. It’s an iconic sequence as the boat disappears into the grate only for George to peer down and see Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise in there staring out. This version of IT is going to stay true to its source material but it’s not afraid to break out the fresh scares when it wants to. For a more detailed breakdown, here are 9 terrifying Stephen King secrets hiding in the IT trailer.
IT movie director Andy Muschietti is Stephen King approved
Don’t worry, while Fukunaga could have made quite the IT movie, director Andy Muschietti has proven himself more than capable of handling horror. For one thing, you can blame him for the horror of atmospheric ghost nanny movie Mama from 2013. Not only that but there’s also the small fact that Muschietti has already been endorsed by IT’s creator, Stephen King. After watching what must have been an exceptionally rough cut, the horror maestro has the following to say.
Andy Muschietti's remake of IT (actually it's Part 1--The Losers' Club) succeeds beyond my expectations. Relax. Wait. And enjoy.March 7, 2017
If that’s not a glowing endorsement then I don’t know what is. He’s not just being polite either. King makes it perfectly clear when he doesn’t like something. Case in point, he disliked Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining so much, he made his own TV adaptation.
The IT movie cast includes Stranger Things’ Mike
IT might be about the evil that lives within Derry but this story would be nothing without the group of misfits that join together to battle their very own Big Bad. The seven kids that make up the Loser’s Club includes Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard as blabbermouth Richie Tozier, but the rest of the young actors are, unsurprisingly, fresh to the industry. This meant a challenge when it came to shooting and building a natural team but, in an interview with Collider, producer Dan Lin explained that they let the cast bond before bringing in their monster.
“We clearly had a great dynamic amongst the kids. Really great chemistry is always a challenging thing with a movie like IT because you’re casting kids who don’t have a ton of experience, but it ended up being really natural. Each kid, like a Goonies or Stand By Me, has a very specific personality and they’re forming the Loser’s Club obviously. And now finally the evil force is coming into our movie. We’ve spent a few months getting the kids to bond and now they’re going to fight this evil, scary clown.”
Speaking of evil, scary clowns, Bill Skarsgård looks like he’s a perfect fit for a new kind of Pennywise. While the evil of the movie can change between the individual fears of the children, Pennywise is the default form of the fear chameleon that lives in the sewers. Skarsgard is younger than previous Pennywise Tim Curry, but brings his own kind of darkness to the role. Speaking of….
IT movie’s Pennywise is a new kind of monster
The clown is only one of the many faces of an infinite evil and Bill Skarsgård has truly embraced the terror and madness of the character. “IT’s such an extreme character. Inhumane,” Skarsgård said in an interview with EW. “IT’s beyond even a sociopath, because he’s not even human. He’s not even a clown. I’m playing just one of the beings IT creates. IT truly enjoys the shape of the clown Pennywise, and enjoys the game and the hunt. What’s funny to this evil entity might not be funny to everyone else. But he thinks it’s funny.”
From the trailer and the above sneaky behind the scenes shot leaked on Reddit, the design behind this new version of Pennywise is far darker than the Tim Curry version. The hair might be a similar flaming red but the removal of the eyebrows and just those deep red lines over each eye are ultra sinister. The nose is very different too. Where Curry’s Pennywise had a round honkable schnozz, Skarsgård’s hooter is just a smudge of red. This is a filthier, more animalistic monster that eats its prey raw but likes to scare them silly first.
The IT movie plot is going to be far closer to the original book
This concentration on IT as a multi-faced creature means that the movie is going to be far more faithful to the original book that the ‘80s TV adaptation. If you haven’t read the book, the Loser’s Club forms one hot summer in Derry - this time in 1989 - as disappearances increase across the town. Beverley Marsh, lonely and overweight Ben Hanscom, stuttering Bill Denbrough (the brother of the ill-fated Georgie), Richie Tozier, Eddie Kasprak, Stan Uris and Mike Hanlon unite together not just against the evil of the town but also hideous bullies that reside there. They each experience their own version of the monster and even from the trailer we can see that they’ll be venturing into the terrifying house on Neibolt Street where they’ll be stalked by IT in the form of a leper. It’s going to be grim stuff and we can’t wait.
The IT movie poster is a simple threat of things to come
With the tagline of ‘you’ll float too,’ - exactly what the dead children will do under the streets of Derry - the IT movie poster is an exercise in dread. Depicting George in his yellow rain slicker, the poster shows the reaching hand of Pennywise. The clown’s frills are filthy and rotten, reaching out of the darkness with an oh-so-innocent red balloon. Once you see the clown face inside, you’ll never look at balloons in the same way.
The IT movie’s set photos reveal an almost terrifying attention to detail. Hi-ho, Silver away!
While most directors like to keep their sets hidden away from the bright lights of the paparazzi, Andy Muschietti’s Instagram is a veritable treasure trove of IT info for hungry horror fans.
It’s great to see the cast hanging out with their director...
A photo posted by @andy_muschietti on Dec 24, 2016 at 2:33am PST
...but it’s behind the scenes shots like this one that really send chills down your spine
A photo posted by @andy_muschietti on Sep 3, 2016 at 11:20am PDT
Here’s Muschietti in front of Derry’s most terrifying residence on Neibolt Street riding Bill Denbrough’s trusty steed Silver.
A photo posted by @andy_muschietti on Aug 21, 2016 at 8:29pm PDT
This closer look at Silver is exactly how the bike is described in the book.
A photo posted by on on Jul 30, 2016 at 7:14am PDT
An IT movie sequel might be on the way too
If all goes well with the first movie, this is just the beginning. The book constantly flips between the characters in the present and the past but this version just concentrates on the story of the Loser’s Club as children. Part 2, with their adult counterparts was part of original director Fukunaga’s plans but hasn’t been officially confirmed as going ahead under Muschietti’s control. However last year producer Dan Lin said filming would go ahead if the first film is successful.
“If you look at the book, it’s the part of the book that we have not yet explored,” he told Screenrant last year. “The book we really broke down into two parts. The first part is this movie and if audiences react to this movie in the way we hope they will and I think they will, then we’ll be to tell the adult story as well.” Going by the reaction to the initial trailer, I don’t think they’re going to have any trouble with that. Expect more concrete news on this sooner rather than later.