Barbara Muschietti is one of the producers for IT Chapter Two.
When did the casting for IT Chapter Two really begin?
I think we started casting the film in our minds even before we were casting the kids. You cannot read the book as many times as we’ve read the book, especially on the prep of the first one, without picturing faces. And generally, that’s how casting comes around for us. We start imagining a character. And in this case, Stephen King is such a fantastic character developer that you can’t help it. We didn’t start from scratch. We started from very defined characters. Then Andy [Muschietti, the director] gave them magic and the actors gave the extra magic. Jessica Chastain was a very easy one, actually. It’s not only the red hair. I know Jessica very well – she’s a dear friend. There’s a determination in Beverly, and there’s a strength and a moral compass that always told me that that was Jessica.
Did you know all of their work before this?
No, I did not. Isaiah Mustafa I did know because of his Old Spice ads. I always thought he was great, so funny and that amazing voice. Did I picture him for this role? Not specifically, until I saw his tape. With his beard shaved, he looks just like Chosen Jacobs. For us, of course, the first thing we wanted was great acting, then physical resemblance to the kids. Jay Ryan was a total discovery. We saw his audition tape, and Andy said, “This is Ben.” We knew James Ransone, we call him PJ, socially – again Andy said, “That’s Eddie.” Andy Bean we actually met at a party at Bill Skarsgård’s. Of course, we knew Bill Hader and his great work – and Finn Wolfhard basically cast him for us. We just think we got the perfect cast of grownup Losers. We never had Plan-Bs for these guys. They were all perfect and we needed to make it work.
And Pennywise, how did you make him scary all over again?
Well, he’s more sophisticated in this one, in the sense that he’s grown, too. He wants them back, in a way. But he’s also angry, because they defeated him before, and in coming back, they are showing brave behavior…which he can’t stand. He has to become a more evil, bigger monster in order to defeat them, so we see that. We see what happens when they face him and I think it’s surprising.
This movie feels bigger…
It’s much bigger. The other movie had a lot of scope, more than anybody imagined, I think. But this is a big movie. We went into it very conscious of that, that it had to be large scale. So, we went for it.
What was the most rewarding thing?
There have been a lot more rewards than challenges, to be honest. The rewards are so big that you work through the challenges, because you know there will be a payoff. And the reward during filming was definitely the dailies. It was a joy, after all the hard and incessant work we put in, and you saw everything up there and it looked great. And in the end, it’s knowing that the film will be a source of entertainment for people, that it will give them an escape, something to enjoy.
What do you hope audiences get from IT Chapter Two?
We’re giving them the completion of the story that they invested in. I think the understanding in the story in both the book and the movies is that you can’t run away. Your fears go with you until you really face them, and that’s when you grow. After that, when you become a true adult, you can live the way you intend to live, rather than being crushed by fears, consciously or unconsciously. Mike stayed because he knew he had that duty, that responsibility to remember. The others ran, and it faded from their memories – but it continued to impact their lives. They return to face their past – it’s a brave and powerful thing to do.