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How the IT Cast Relates to the Losers’ Club Journey

How the IT Cast Relates to the Losers’ Club Journey

When making an adaptation Stephen King‘s IT, a lot of pressure is put on young actors. Not only must seven children subject themselves to the tremendous terror of Pennywise for months on end, but they must also muster a compelling group dynamic that inspires audiences to empathize with the quirky Losers’ Club. Yet this has proved little problem for Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, and Jack Dylan Grazer. And that’s thanks in part to a production process that mirrored the coming-of-age journey of their characters, from its summer of life-changing friendships, down to confrontations with a creepy clown.

Ahead of production, the seven youngsters were put through three weeks of “trust exercises,” designed to help them bond as a group. This isn’t as stodgy as it might sound. When Nerdist visited the set, producer Barbara Muschietti explained this training included not only acting and group-bonding exercises, but also riding bicycles, and swimming, activities that the Losers’ Club might enjoy in their 1980s-set summer if they weren’t being hunted by the pernicious Pennywise. “They are together all the time, all the time,” she said of the young cast. “And they’re fantastic.”

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“I feel like the first week that we all met each other,” Jeremy Ray Taylor, who plays Ben, said, “I feel like we could have been friends for 20 years, that’s how good our chemistry was.”

In a shared interview, Wyatt Oleff (the movie’s Stan), chimed in, “Yeah, by the third day it–it was a Saturday–and we had a sleepover!”

“Yeah,” Taylor said, “Automatically, we were like ‘Everybody want to sleep over at this guy’s house?’ It was really good. We are really good friends.”

“I think that translates on screen,” Oleff added. “You could see the friendship we have on and off-screen. We’ve been together for so long that you can see our connection, in our characters, but also it’s us connecting as humans and friends.”

“This has been the biggest shoot I’ve ever been in,” Sophia Lillis (Beverly) said in a separate interview, “And I just have to say this has been the most fun.”

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In another interview, Chosen Jacobs spoke about the bond his character Mike shares with his Losers’ Club friends. But it’s easy–and even a bit eerie–to see the parallels between these young actors summer shoot experience. “Stephen King has a way of making horror relatable,” Jacobs said, “Pennywise is fictitious and scary but this story is really about all of our characters bonding. Without Pennywise, I wouldn’t have met anybody. Nobody would have come together.”

“Pennywise is just a symbol for all the hard things that happen in life that bring people together,” he said with an insight beyond his years, “Of course we changed. We became more mature. Some people break out of their shells, some people retract into themselves because it’s scary. This horror film is more than just horror. It’s a coming-of-age movie.”

“I feel like with this film, this has been my favorite summer ever,” Jacobs told us. “The best summer of my life. It’s crazy.”

Crazy or not, it’s a sentiment that was repeated by Oleff, who said, “This has been one of the best summers of my life, probably the best because I just made so many close friends and it’s been awesome filming a movie as well.”

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But it was early September. Summer and production were coming to an end. And the kids were starting to feel it.

“About a week ago,” Muschietti told us, “We had a scene where they’re all very upset, and they’re crying, and we couldn’t stop them. We couldn’t stop them from the emotions, because they can feel this coming to an end and they’re terrified, because this film has changed their lives.They’re also all between 12 and 13, and they know what’s next is very different. As in terms of them–not in the consequences of this film–they’re growing up, and they can feel this is the last remnants of childhood.”

“Everyone was bawling,” Finn Wolfhard (Richie) said of the emotional scene.

“It was like, ‘Alright, we gotta do this scene’,” Taylor remembered, “And the next thing you know we’re all just bawling. Everybody’s just crying. There was not a dry face.”

“I’m definitely going to miss this place,” Lillis admitted with a bit of wistfulness.

“I’m definitely going to miss everyone,” Jaeden Lieberher (Bill) agreed, “All of us being together, but we’ll definitely see each other after this, somewhere, somehow. And it’s just been a really great movie to shoot. And I’m happy that we were all a part of it.”

IT opens on September 7.

What’s your favorite summer memory from your adolescence? 

Images: New Line

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