The second half of New Line’s planned two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s sprawling horror novel IT is set to begin shooting early next year, director Andres Muschietti has confirmed. The first half of the two-part movie about a killer clown terrorizing a small Maine community is set to be released in September.
Published in 1986 and coming in at 1,138 pages, Stephen King’s IT concerned a group of school friends discovering a horrifying evil lurking in the sewers beneath their otherwise peaceful small town. The novel jumped back and forth in time between the friends’ childhood experiences and their later return to the town as adults to once again face off against the murderous Pennywise.
Related: IT Movie Gets an Official R Rating
The movie adaptation coming this year covers only the childhood half of King’s story, but director Andres Muschietti told Variety that the plan is to come back early in 2018 and begin work on a sequel which will deal with the adult versions of the characters and their so-called “Losers Club.” Muschietti explained:
We are doing that. We’ll probably have a script for the second part in January. Ideally, we would start prep in March. Part one is only about the kids. Part two is about these characters 30 years later as adults, with flashbacks to 1989 when they were kids.
The Stephen King novel was set in the 1950s and 1980s, but for the film version the settings have been shifted, with the kids living in the late ’80s and the adults living in the present day. The book was first adapted in 1990 for a television miniseries that is today mainly remembered for Tim Curry’s iconic performance as the evil Pennywise the Clown. Bill Skarsgard takes over the role of Pennywise for the new film adaptation, which also stars Stranger Things kid Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher and Owen Teague.
In addition to switching up the story’s time periods, Muschietti and company also tweaked the story’s memorable opening passages to offer more ambiguity about the fate of a certain character. The changes seem to have gone over well with King, who has seen the film and called it “wonderful.” Though certain alterations have been made to King’s narrative, Muschietti was able to stay faithful to the dark and horrifying tone of the novel, resulting in an R-rating.
Early trailers and sneak peeks at the film and its truly frightening villain have actually led some to wonder if this version of Pennywise might actually be too terrifying to be believable as a clown who lures kids to their deaths. Skarsgard was so convincingly horrific in the role that he reportedly scared some kid extras on the set. The clown community too has expressed concerns that yet another depiction of an evil practitioner of the clown arts will do damage to their already-embattled profession. New Line can only look at these stories as great publicity for their highly anticipated horror adaptation. If the hype translates into box office gross, then the studio will look very smart for deciding to go ahead with a second IT film.
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