The sequel It Chapter Two continues the terrifying Stephen King tale, as the Losers Club must return to Derry, Maine 27 years after their nightmarish experience as children in order to defeat the clown evil incarnate known as Pennywise.

At the recent press conference, we got to hear from the young cast, who reprise their roles from the original 2017 movie, as well as the adult cast who must pick up the reins laid out by their younger counterparts.

THE KIDS 

 

On what they wanted their grown-up counterparts to carry through:

Jeremy Ray Taylor (“Young Ben”): I think a giant part of Ben is his relationship with Beverly. On how Ben loves Beverly so much and he was okay with her not loving him back, as long as she knew that he would do anything for her. And that was like, the biggest thing.

Chosen Jacobs (“Young Mike”): For Mike, I think his character and his personality is all devoted in his love for his friends and his family. So the main thing was for him, was that’s already a part of him but he’s not used to having friends and letting loose and being free. I was mainly just telling him, “Of course you have responsibilities, but still make sure to let your hair down sometimes. Have fun. Love your friends and let yourself be vulnerable.” That was my main thing.

Sophia Lillis (“Young Beverly”): I think the most important thing about Beverly is the importance of her relationship with the Losers. Before she met any of her friends, she didn’t really know what a healthy relationship was. So after knowing the Losers, she realized there’s more to life than her father. There’s people that actually love her for who she is. She knew that she couldn’t let them go. And I really wanted to portray that to Jessica.

Finn Wolfhard (“Young Richie”): I just wrote a letter that said, “I hope you’re famous when you grow up”, basically. There was no, like advice, or anything have toward the characters or anything. They’re old now. It was great.

Jack Dylan Grazer (“Young Eddie”): You see at the end of It Part 1, the kind of transition out of the submissive Eddie, where I stand up to my mom. I’m like, “I know my life has been a lie, blah blah blah.” And then to tell myself, remind myself, “Don’t go back to that place. Stand your ground. Have some power, blah blah blah blah.” And it was kind of sad that I wrote that and [Eddie] just reverts to being pathetic.

Wyatt Oleff (“Young Stanley”): It’s something along the lines of, make sure you keep these friends that you’ve made and stay true to yourself. Probably support and stuff… just Stanley to Stanley.

Jaeden Martell (“Young Bill”): I think what defines Bill is the guilt that he feels. It often clouds his life. His guilt for Georgie’s death, and he feels responsible for things that happen to the Losers, too, cause he’s the one that really wanted to go into the sewers to find his brother. So I wanted to make sure that older Bill didn’t feel defined by that guilt. And that he felt confident in himself and just kind of, let go of that… Well, excepting the death of his brother, not letting it weigh down on him.

On working with Bill Skarsgard again as Pennywise:

Taylor: This was actually my first time, working one-on-one with Bill. It was really intense. It’s so much fun being able to watch the playback. It was almost like surreal because he’s such an amazing actor.

Jacobs: As an actor, to see somebody so transformative… He’s such a great actor and every time you are in a scene with him or watch him work, you’re inspired to try harder. Especially as young actors, our attention space in increasing gradually but he always was really sweet about keeping us focused on the scene and to really live the horror. Like we said, we have been playing this character for awhile so its easy to sometimes to just come in, and be loose, and not focus, as much as you would for a character you don’t know. But throughout the process of always staying very, very focused on the character… he takes it serious.

Lillis: Yeah, what he said. Personally, I really love theatrical effects in horror films. As kind of seeing his whole outfit for the first time, I kind of giggled a little bit because I thought it was just really cool. He’s really tall in real life. The whole full make-up in front of you for the first time, I mean, that was my first time ever working on a studio film, never-the-less a horror film. So the whole experience was very new to me. Kind of going in there, is very surreal. I would never expect myself to be in a room with a murderous clown. Though he’s not really a murderous clown in real life, of course, hopefully not. I just thought the whole thing was insanely cool. Actually, it stopped me from being scared a little bit so I have to really hit myself when I’m starting to get scared again. I mean it is scary but I was more excited than scared.

Wolfhard: It was pretty immersive and great but also, it was great to talk to Bill as a normal human being. It between takes because its’ not fun on a film set if its just serious all the time and you can’t talk to anyone. Bill was always great about talking, being a normal person.

THE ADULTS

 

On remembering the first time they read a Stephen King book:

Jessica Chastain (“Beverly”): I think it was one of the first books that I read that wasn’t assigned to me. Not IT. I think it was Pet Semetery. And then I went from there to The Shining to Misery — and I love that her name is Misery Chastain. So yeah, I was a Stephen King fan.

Bill Hader (“Richie”):  We had a similar experience. My grandfather took me to a bookstore and I had to get Red Badge of Courage for school, and I was kinda bummed out about that. And he said, “You can go get another book if you want for yourself.” So I went to the young adult section, and he went, “No, no, no. You go to the fiction section. You’re like 12. You can handle it.”  The fiction section, you know, if you’re a book nerd, that’s where all the sex and… Yeah, I was worried I was going to accidentally pick up Fear of Flying or something. “I’ll take this.” I picked up Salem’s Lot and I read it like in a weekend. It was that first experience of reading an adult book. It was like 400 something pages and you finished it, you know? You felt this massive accomplishment.

Isaiah Mustafa (“Mike”): I didn’t read Stephen King but after I saw the [IT] mini-series in high school… I missed the first night, because it was a two-night event. Everybody was talking about it at that school. So I saw the second night, and they were like, “Ah, you couldn’t…” That was back when unless you taped it, you couldn’t go back and DVR it.  After that, that’s when I first read IT, was after seeing the second part because I wanted to know what I’d missed. I didn’t know that I’d find out what I missed three months later, because it was a 1,000-page book. It took me forever to get through it.

Jay Ryan (“Ben”): Yeah, I mean, I attempted to read IT when I was younger, and I think it was just a little bit too scary for me and too many pages at the time. But I was engrossed in the audio book when I took this role on, all 40 hours of it, by Michael C. Hall. That’s quite an amazing, immersive experience to be able to listen, if you’re a lazy reader like myself. Recently, I read Stephen King’s On Writing, which is kind of like a personal book as well as tips on how he creates his worlds and a little look into his imagination.

James Ransone (“Eddie”): Mine was informed sort of back and forth between the IT miniseries and then The Shining. And then you’re like, “Wait, what’s the source material?” But the only book I read, I feel like, where I started that I didn’t have any previous knowledge of was The Stand. That scared me I think more than IT, because it felt more plausible somehow.

Andy Bean (“Stanley”): I picked up my dad’s paperback of The Stand. It was on his night table and I read that and scared myself shitless. But I was introduced to Stephen King from the IT miniseries. It was like a bootleg brick VHS thing and I went over somebody’s house. I had no idea what I was doing and getting myself into. Just traumatized for an entire month of nightmares.

Ransone: I actually took a photo… my dad had a photocopier because he had his own business, and so I took… you know how they’ll re-market the books? So they did it with Tim Curry’s face, and I blew it up as big as I could and put it next to my brother’s bed.

Bean: I have two little kids the age of six and 10, and they’re not prepared to see this movie. But they know about IT. Like they’ve a sense of it.

Hader: My kids are the same way. I have three daughters. They’re obsessed with the Ben, Bill, Beverly romance. They just would come home like, “Who did she pick?” I showed them the trailer of the film like, “So what do you guys think?” And one says, “Uh, too long of tongue and too much blood.” And then the other one, who’s four, was like, “I like the actress, but I shouldn’t see it.”

On meeting the younger versions of their characters:

Bean: Wyatt and I, we started off very contentious [laughs]. We had like a whole little blind date, you know, a round-robin meeting all of them. Genuinely, Wyatt, he’s a hilarious young man. I think this started, we had a staring contest for like three or four minutes just looking at each other. Like, “All right. Good to go.” And meeting these kids, they did such an amazing job in the first one. You’re just trying to not get in the way.

Ransone: Jack Dylan Grazer didn’t think I was cool. No, it is true. I was like 40 and like into all these skateboards. “I was like, I know about skateboarding, too.” He was like, “Okay.” I grew up around skateboards. Like around all these pro-skateboarders, like, “I know those guys! I’m pretty cool!” He was like, “No. That’s not cool.”

Ryan: Jeremy Ray Taylor told me, with a very serious face, not to screw it up, which I was not expecting from him. Yeah, so that was the start of something. But his mother kind of became like a bit of my mother on set as well. That was kind of interesting. He’s got a really lovely family, and they’d all be ready to come and see me. It’s sweet to me.

Mustafa: Yeah, Chosen is the ultimate gentleman. He was raised in a Southern household, so he came up and he just started giving me compliments upon compliments. He was like, “Oh, I like what you’re wearing,” “Oh, by the way, I like those spots you did.” He kept throwing compliments my way, so I naturally just melted. I was like, “Oh, man. You’re awesome.”

Hader: Finn got me the job. He talked about me in the press and said, “Oh, I want” me to play it. And then my agent sent me a link saying, “Hey, look at this!” And I was like, “That’s nice.” Then months later I get a call and it was like, “Yeah, Muschietti wants to meet you for IT 2.” I was like, “Finn must be the most powerful person in Hollywood.”

Chastain: Meeting Soph was so incredible because I loved what she did with the first film. She and I had kind of had conversations through Andy, I guess, so the first time we met was our first day rehearsal. I was a bit shy. I mean, it’s not… I mean, now it’s fun, but in the beginning, it can be difficult talking to a teenager. Like, “Oh yeah. I used to be a teenager. It’s hard to want a conversation.” We literally stood in front of each other and giggled. It was like, “Hey, what’s your favorite movie?” But yeah, I took everything that she did from the first film and used it. I stole her whole performance

On some memorable shooting moments from the film:

Hader: Well, I mean, I had to do that scene where I had to cry in the water, and it was freezing cold. And Andy Muschietti was on a God mic. Remember? He was going [doing impression of Muschietti], “Now Bill, I need you to cry. And then I need you to splash each other. Then I need you to go back to childhood. Then Bill, I need you to realize you cannot go back to childhood, and then I need you to cry like you’ve never cried.” Okay, so cry, play grab-ass in the water, cry harder. Got it.

Ransone: I just know the scenes where I remember where I had fun, and I actually had a lot of fun with Jessica when we filmed that scene at the top of the stairs. That was one of the more memorable scenes for me to film, because I just kept trying to make you laugh.

Chastain: And you did. There were actually two little moments in this, there’s that scene and also the scene when you say, “Who are you?” Both of those scenes… I had a lot of trouble keeping a straight face. There are many takes, like, when our scene comes on and he would say… and in the film, he was having some difficulty. There’s also a lot of improvisation on this film, so you could be prepared to a point. Then someone says something ridiculous, and it’s like, inhuman to keep it together. Because it’s a joke — and I’m not a monster. There were many times that Eddie would be trying to edit a scene, and my character was hiding my face. Behind someone because I was laughing.

Hader: I heard Jessica, though, because I come from improv and sketch and stuff, and we had to do this scene and she does this amazing performance. Then when it was on our coverage, she started doing it again and would cry and stuff. I remember going, “Jessica, you’re not on camera. Like, why?” I’m like the laziest actor. She’s like, “I’m trying to give you something.” I was like, “Oh, is that what that is?” She was busting her ass to make us look good and I was like, “What is… why is she… did something happen today?” She’s really bringing it.

On the physical toll it took, at least for one scene:

Hader: I pulled my groin muscle simply running. Like when it’s time to run from the clown spider. [Director] Andy [Muschietti] was like, “Now turn around, and you run from the clown spider.” Then I turn around, and like, [pointing to the other actors] he’s doing barrel rolls. He’s doing barrel rolls. You’re jumping over and sliding, doing kick-ass, like, he’s an action star. McAvoy is finding stuff to jump and pirouette over. I was like, I just turned and went, “Ah” — and pulled a groin muscle and had to have this nice Canadian doctor give me an MRI. [In a Canadian accent] “How’d you do this, then? Ah, run away from clown spider, eh?”

On their experience with Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise:

Hader: It wasn’t that scary. It was pretty… He can’t really do that to us. We’d be like, “Right. Don’t do that.” I landed, and Andy was like, “You must come and meet Bill Skarsgard.” There was this, what was it? It was this whiskey thing that I drank, remember? They brought it out, a whiskey thing covered in smoke. They took the lid off of it, and all the smoke dissipated, and it was just this thing of whiskey. Andy and Bill Skarsgard are like, “Drink it!” My bags were still with me. I was like, “Oh, okay. Cool. What are we doing here?”

Ryan: Bill is very unpredictable, though, when you’re shooting a scene with him in the getup as Pennywise. Every take is completely different. There’s spit flying. He has a very frenetic energy. You often have to remember that you’re shooting a film to stay in it with him instead of just fall into his mesmerizing performance.

Chastain: He got me at the read-through. I didn’t really know him that well. We all showed up and were meeting each other for the first time, and it’s like we’re in a bowl with like 50 people and all the Warner Bros. executives. We were all playing it kind of cool, and he was sitting on my right. And he started his scene, and he like… I guess I’m a jumpy person. In the middle of a scene, he got in my face and went, “Boo!” You know, that thing he does? And I yelped. I screamed because I wasn’t expecting it to happen. And all the Warner executives were like, “Still got it.”