The Cast Of IT CHAPTER TWO Proved They’re All Horror Nerds

ScareDiego returned for its third year to San Diego Comic-Con, kicking off preview night with plenty of chills and thrills. Centered around the highly anticipated It Chapter Two, the show was hosted by comedian Conan O’Brien. O’Brien was joined on stage by It director Andy Muschietti and the Losers Club cast: Andy Bean, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Bill Hader, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and Jay Ryan.

Stephen King’s It is one of the most iconic modern day horror stories we have, so it’s no wonder that the 2017 film adaptation quickly became the highest grossing horror film of all time (unadjusted for inflation). Muschietti deftly cast a group of adults who feel like the natural counterparts of the young actors in It — and they revealed that, at heart, they’re all just giant horror nerds.

Hader described the impact that reading King’s Salem’s Lot had on him as a young boy. “I was a huge fan of Stephen King,” Hader said. Salem’s Lot was the first adult fiction book he ever read as a kid, joking that it was exciting because of the curse words and sex scenes. “It was that first 400 page adult book I read. Danny Glick tapping at the window? Ooof, awesome.”

Hader’s passion for horror also perfectly intersected with Muschietti’s. There’s a line in It Chapter Two that’s an unabashed reference to the 1982 The Thing, a film both Hader and Muschietti quickly bonded over. When Hader saw the one take they did with the iconic line was left in the film, he was delighted. (The cast, amusingly, had not seen most of the footage until that night.)

James Ransone talked about how surreal it was that the 1990 It miniseries left such a mark on him at a young age, and now he’s a part of an It film. “I read It after the miniseries in the ’90s,” Ransone said. “I remember that book had such an effect on me that I blew up the front cover on a Xerox copy and colored it in, and then like taped it next to my brother’s bed.” Ransone joked now he’s the one having Pennywise nightmares, and it’s payback from his brother.

Ryan and Chastain were both inducted into the world of horror at young ages. Ryan’s dad would make him and his sister participate in what he called “Friday Night Frights” — where their dad would sneak off during a film, cut all the power in the house, and then run out on all fours and surprise them while they stumbled around. “It was such a weird thing to do, but we kind of looked forward to it on the weekends. I grew up in New Zealand, you know,” Ryan joked.

Chastain said she was just seven or eight years old when her mom sat her down to watch The Exorcist. Chastain was too afraid to go up to her room alone — “on her bed in her room is when she got possessed!” — so she would hide under a blanket and just listen to horror films. “That’s probably why I’m so messed up today,” Chastain laughed.

Chastain went on to say she loved the horror genre now though because it’s one of the few genres that showcase women. “I feel that they really honor women,” she said. “Women beat the monster at the end. Usually the men die.” O’Brien agreed, pointing out that the final girl being the smartest and most resourceful character has been an integral part of horror canon for the last 40, 50 years.

Chastain mentions later that she loves Carrie, and a scene in It Chapter Two utilizes “4,500 gallons” of fake blood and is like “Carrie on steroids”.

When asked about what horror films they’d never remake, the cast had a lot to say: The ShiningRosemary’s Baby, and They Live should be left alone. Though McAvoy in particular saw the value in remaking old films for younger audiences, who may not dig back into the vault to see an “oldie” like Rosemary’s Baby.

And of course the one actor who lives and breathes the horror genre more than anyone is Bill Skarsgård, who wasn’t in attendance but whose presence was felt throughout with his indelible performance as Pennywise. “He’s super imposing in the costume,” Hader said. “It’s one of the best acting experiences I’ve ever had working with him because he’s a super nice guy, but the minute they say action, it’s kind of like working with some other being.” Skarsgård so fully inhabits the character that the distended eye roll Pennywise does? That’s all Skarsgård, no CGI.

All in all, the footage they showed was fantastic, and it’s clear the cast put their hearts into this film. It’ll be exciting to see the final, terrifying product in all it’s glory. IT Chapter Two hits theaters on September 6.

Images: Warner Bros.

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