Many passionate Stephen King aficionados have been chewing their nails in anticipation as Pennywise, the dancing clown, makes his appearance once again 21 years after the 1980’s miniseries of the beloved horror classic, “It.”
The structure of the film has been transformed by director Andy Muschietti when director Cary Fukunaga had stepped away from the film early on due to creative differences. The change opened a creative door for the Muschietti siblings, who are both emotionally fond of King’s literary works.
Muschietti and his sister and partner, who produces the film, took the basic structures of Fukunaga’s “It”: the updated setting to the ’80s and a two-part film structure. They also took Fukunaga’s strong attention to the motivation of the characters of “It,” but gave the film a Muschietti flare by embracing the emotional aspects of adolescence through a sense of unity and friendship.
According to Emily Yoshida, of The Vulture, “It takes place in the small town of Derry, Maine, and centers on a group of seven young outcast teens known as the ‘Losers’ Club.’ After Bill’s little brother George disappears amid a spate of missing children cases, Bill and the rest of the club begin having terrifying visions that all culminate in an encounter with Pennywise, the Dancing Clown — a malevolent, face-painted creature with glowing yellow eyes and multiple sets of jaws. As they begin to put the pieces together, it leads them to a centuries-old curse on the town and the understanding that the monster that haunts them has the ability to embody their worst fears and prey upon them.”
The film stars a roundabout cast of young actors: Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff and Jack Dylan Grazer. These young actors parallel film ensembles, such as the 1980’s classic “The Goonies” and this fall’s upcoming season of “Stranger Things.”
Their characters shared a dynamic that made the emotional ties of the film heightened. Not only did their on-screen dynamic give the film a distraction from the terrifying and spine chilling Pennywise, but the viewer also delves into the psyche of Muschietti who explores the power of unity and how it deflects division and fear.
In a Q&A with Mike Fleming Jr. of Deadline, Muschietti said, “[Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise] has that balance. He can be sweet and cute and good-looking. But in the turn of a wink, he can do something, a gesture that gives an unsettling feeling. The character is very childlike, too. He has the buckteeth. That’s what I wanted to convey, that balance between a sweet and cute creature, with something very dark behind it.”
The film sits as chapter one of a two-part saga, and the Muschietti siblings were recently green-lit for a second film that will follow the Losers Club 27 years later, where the now adult friends join forces to destroy the inhuman clown. The release date for the film currently lays somewhere in the summer of 2019; we can count our days and wait for casting updates.