Jay Ryan has been cast as the adult version of Ben Hanscom in the Stephen King horror movie sequel IT: Chapter 2. There was always clearly a fair amount of interest in the IT film adaptation among those who had either read King's original novel and/or seen the 1990s TV miniseries featuring Tim Curry as everyone's favorite child-devouring clown, Pennywise. All the same, most everyone was taken aback by just how popular IT: Chapter 1 (as the first movie is technically titled) was at the box office last year, as it set a record for R-rated horror films by grossing $700 million worldwide (on a $35 million budget no less).
IT: Chapter 2 is now moving full-speed ahead and will adapt the second half of King's novel, which takes place 27 years after the events of Chapter 1 (the first part of King's book). The sequel, which IT director Andy Muschietti is also calling the shots on, picks up with the Losers' Club as adults who are called back to Derry, Maine, in order to battle Pennywise again and maybe defeat him for good this time. With Chapter 2 set to begin filming this July for a September 2019 release target, it seems that all but one of the grownup Losers have now been formally cast.
According to Deadline, Ryan has been cast as the 27-years older version of Ben - whom Jeremy Ray Taylor played as a kid in the first IT movie - in IT: Chapter 2. He joins a cast that now includes Jessica Chastain as the adult version of Beverly Marsh, as well as James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Andy Bean as Stanley Uris. That leaves Mike Hanlon as the last remaining adult Loser who has yet to be cast in the sequel.
Ryan's previous work includes recurring roles on TV series like The Sundance Channel's Top of the Lake, The CW's Beauty and the Beast, and Global's Mary Kills People. His hiring is consistent with the approach that Muschietti and his crew have taken to casting IT: Chapter 2; favoring solid character acting talent over big names or A-listers. Chastain, McAvoy, and maybe Hader are the exceptions to that rule, but even they are known more for the roles they play, rather than being headliners (a la Dwayne Johnson, Tom Cruise, and so on).
Although young Ben essentially played Mike's role - the Losers' researcher and resident bookworm - in the first IT, Muschietti has indicated that Mike in Chapter 2 will be closer to his counterpart in King's original book (though possibly even more messed up after years of studying up on Pennywise). That means that the role of Mike should be a meaty one in the IT sequel for whichever actor winds up landing it. Chastain's Molly's Game costar Idris Elba has expressed an interest in the role, but may simply be too busy with other projects around the time that Chapter 2 begins production. Regardless, it shouldn't be long before the IT sequel has cast its final grown-up Loser.
- IT Chapter Two (2019) release date: Sep 06, 2019