Thanks to a ragtag group of damaged teens, the fictional town of Derry, Maine isn’t completely without protection. Though a shape-shifting monster called Pennywise the Dancing Clown has ravaged its way through the locals for centuries, these kids (who dub themselves “The Losers’ Club”) have had enough with bullies, and in Stephen King’s It, they fight back.
The biggest problem, however, is that this particular bully isn’t the kind that stays down. Once it’s had its fill of children, it disappears, hibernating for roughly three decades, only to make a comeback and wreak havoc yet again, repeating its vicious cycle.
In the novel, the Losers grow up and, per a blood pact they made to each other as children, team up again to take out Pennywise once and for all (aka the plot of the movie’s sequel). However, seeing as the sequel is quite a ways off, there is so far zero information regarding what actors will be playing the older versions of the Losers, giving speculation a purely open door policy. So, assuming a quick dip into the Derry sewers isn’t too frightening for you, keep reading to check out 16 Actors Who Should Play The Adult Losers In The IT Sequel.
– SPOILERS ahead! –
16. Jesse Eisenberg As Stanley Uris – 1st Choice
Stanley Uris is a neat and orderly 13-year-old. He’s particularly regimented, and above most other things, he values order. Basically, find him with an untucked shirt or tousled hair, and you can guarantee that something is wrong.
What’s more is that 27 years after the events of his first Pennywise interactions, Stanley can’t possibly fathom a second go-around with the man-eating clown. Before he even considers that taking a nightmarish trip down memory lane will ever even come to fruition, stoic Stanley has led a perfectly organized adult life. So when he receives his call to action, the disarray he experiences is especially potent. And combining physical likeness with a history of playing similar characters, Jesse Eisenberg may easily be the best choice for this character. Regardless of the fact that he may not be quite old enough (cue movie makeup magic).
15. Casey Affleck As Stanley Uris – 2nd Choice
Once Stanley receives the fateful call from his old friend, Mike Hanlon, his cookie-cutter life is turned upside down. Faced with the realization that he’ll have to not only face his fears, but potentially die a horrific death in the process, he takes a darkly motivated turn. So dark, in fact, that it’ll surely come as the sequel’s first significant blow to audiences who aren’t familiar with the source material.
Casey Affleck has more than proven that he can carry the weight of emotional fatigue, proven by his performance in Manchester by the Sea (for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role). And though he might be too high profile for a role like this, considering the fact that Stanley only has a limited amount of screen time, Affleck’s presence could add the emotional weight that is necessary for a performance as significant as this.
14. Jeremy Renner As Ben Hanscom – 1st Choice
When Ben “Haystack” Hanscom is a kid, he’s teased for his weight. However, once he grows up, he not only devotes his life to his career as an architect, but to getting and staying in shape. But Ben is so much more than his physique. He’s a clever and sensitive kid who wouldn’t hurt a fly. So, in casting his older self, the actor shouldn’t just be fit, but able to convey their sensitive side.
Which is why Jeremy Renner would be the perfect choice.
Renner seems like someone who could play a jock, but without the jock mentality. He’s got the physical attributes down pat, but his softer side speaks for itself. In fact, his performance in Arrival is already nearly perfectly aligned with Hanscom himself, showing that Renner’s already proven his capability of playing someone who doesn’t necessarily wear his heart on his sleeve, but has a life’s worth of suffering in his expressions, the way he holds himself, and in his interactions.
13. James Marsden As Ben Hanscom – 2nd Choice
Seeing as Jeremy Renner is an Avenger, getting him on board for a sequel about killer clowns might not be the easiest feat to pull off, so it helps to have a backup. In this case, though, the backup is on equal footing with the competition.
James Marsden has exceptional physique to spare, so right away, that checks off one box on the Ben Hanscom character checklist. In terms of how he’d portray the character, Marsden has more than proven his range in a plethora of genres, including everything from Westworld and the X-Men series to the Straw Dogs remake and, yes, even Disney’s Enchanted.
12. Chadwick Boseman As Mike Hanlon – 1st Choice
Here we go with another Avenger…
To say that Chadwick Boseman is in high-demand is putting it lightly. He’s the star of Marvel’s Black Panther, he’s nailed the portrayals of historical figures like James Brown and Jackie Robinson, and his next starring role will be that of famed lawyer Thurgood Marshall in the bio-drama, Marshall. All that aside, though, Boseman would be a perfect Mike Hanlon (which the younger Hanlon, played by Chosen Jacobs, couldn’t agree with more).
Mike Hanlon is perhaps one of the most important members of the Losers’ Club, what with his role as team wrangler and historical documenter. He’s also the most fearless of the whole crew, which serves to benefit them all a great deal, considering that the monster who’s hunting them feeds on fear itself.
11. Derek Luke As Mike Hanlon – 2nd Choice
If Boseman isn’t available, however, another great choice for the role of Mike Hanlon would be Derek Luke, the actor who made his mainstream debut in Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher. In the autobiographical drama, Luke walks a fine line between strength and vulnerability, and emotional defeat follows him like a shadow. He plays broken, without showing his pain; a young man verging on defeat on account of a troubled past.
Mike is the muscle and the mind within the Losers’ Club, and Luke is the sort of actor who can naturally balance these qualities without letting the character’s ongoing nightmare, which has followed him since childhood (something from which the other Losers are thankfully spared), seem too much for him to handle. When the plight of Pennywise becomes too much to handle for the Losers, Bill may be their appointed leader, but it’s Mike who ultimately keeps the team tethered and resolute.
10. Hugh Dancy As Eddie Kaspbrak – 1st Choice
Eddie Kaspbrak isn’t the boy in the bubble, but he may as well be. In fact, if his mother had her way, this is exactly how he’d end up. The kid is married to his respirator, he can hardly manage living on his own, and when the going gets tough, he physically starts to shut down. So, who could tackle that sort of manic hypochondria (with some added charm to boot)? Let’s leave that to Hugh Dancy.
Fox’s Hannibal series proved that Dancy could handle emotional and mental imbalance, so adding that to a relatively solid physical likeness, as well as his unmistakable natural charm, Eddie Kaspbrak ought to be the next troubled character that he takes on. Eddie’s issues can easily be played for laughs (and in some cases, that’s when they blossom), but when the road that the Losers’ travel gets dark, it’ll take someone with practiced control of Eddie’s sort of unique imbalances to make the character feel lived-in, damaged, and real.
9. Colin Hanks As Eddie Kaspbrak – 2nd Choice
Another actor who seems as though he could fit into Eddie Kasbrak’s shoes with unnoticeable effort would have to be Colin Hanks. He’s already proven that he can play sensitive and anxious (not a great feature when you’re fighting Pennywise, but there it is), and we’ve also seen his darker side in Dexter. And even though Eddie is hardly villainous, that sort of murky depth will do wonders for a character suffering almost 30 years of PTSD.
Hanks could easily make that sort of anguish feel genuinely lived-in.
Hanks is also the kind of actor who is still very much living in the shadows of his father, needing that one role to lend him more unique distinction (despite proving himself time and time again). Playing Eddie Kaspbrak could be that role.
8. Maggie Gyllenhaal As Beverly Marsh – 1st Choice
When it comes to personal damage within the Losers’ Club, it’s a not competition. That said, though, Bev may hold the highest rank all the same. Bill may have lost his brother and Ben may have to run from school to avoid the bullies, but Bev’s torture exists under her own roof, and from her father, of all people. What’s worse is that very little changes for the better as she grows up. 27 years pass, and she’s still enduring one abusive relationship after another. And this is before Pennywise even re-enters the picture.
So, even though she doesn’t have the necessary red hair (that’s what hair stylists are for), Maggie Gyllenhaal has spent an entire career proving that Beverly Marsh is exactly the sort of character that she can handle and perfect. She’s endured similarly beaten down characters in films like Sherrybaby and Crazy Heart; she’s the kind of actress who brings a raw sort of suffering to her characters, which is absolutely necessary for a successful interpretation of her character.
7. Jessica Chastain As Beverly Marsh – 2nd Choice
Perhaps the best possible choice for Beverly Marsh is Jessica Chastain, and it’s not just on account of her hair color. This two-time Academy Award nominated actress has an incredibly sensitive approach to tackling self-destructive characters. She’s on par with Gyllenhaal, except her approaches tend to tackle personal distress from a very different angle. Her characters in films like Zero Dark Thirty, Crimson Peak, and The Help tend to cover up defeat with a false sense of strength; decisions that tend to come back and haunt her characters in the end.
Bev doesn’t wear her heart on her sleeve, she keeps it locked away. Her defenses are all over the place, her trust is constantly misplaced, and her weaknesses show in passing facial expressions. This is a character that Jessica Chastain was pretty much born to play.
6. Bill Hader As Richie Tozier – 1st Choice
Dramatic depth, solid comic chops, and a visual likeness to Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard. Ladies and gentlemen… Bill Hader.
This SNL veteran is more than a man of many voices; he’s a proven multi-layered actor. Though his only true dramatic role was in 2014’s The Skeleton Twins, Hader more than proved the weight of his abilities in this flick, showing a solid balance of humor and pathos — precisely what he would need to bring to the role of Richie Tozier.
Admittedly, Richie is the “class clown” of the group, but that’s not to say he hasn’t been wrecked in his own right. In fact, the very humor itself that he’s constantly spurting out is a sort of symptom of his own inner-conflicts, masking whatever personal traumas he happens to be dealing with. Having Hader come aboard to do him justice would be a match made in dramedy heaven.
5. Seth Green As Richie Tozier – 2nd Choice
Now here’s a direction that lends itself to intrigue fans of the original 1990s TV miniseries. In that adaptation, Seth Green plays a young Richie Tozier. Seeing as he’s still very much a relevant name in mainstream media (more or less), bringing him back to play the older version of a character he portrayed almost 30 years ago has potential to be deeply satisfying. In fact, dye his hair black, and you’ll see that the visual similarities are a lot stronger than they might appear.
Green has been especially present in voice work and producing more than anything else, but that’s not to say that the guy has lost his spark. It also doesn’t hurt to mention that his likability factor has hardly diminished over the years.
4. Ethan Hawke As Bill Denbrough – 1st Choice
At the center of the Losers’ Club is Bill Denbrough. To the kids at school, he’s “Stuttering Bill,” but to his closest friends, he’s “Big Bill,” the tragic and steadfast lover of words and imagination whose life is thrown into chaos following the death of his younger brother, George.
As he grows up, his scars don’t heal (literally, in fact, when it comes to his hands), but he endures all the same. In fact, you might say that his entire adult life is a constant process of emotional endurance, weighted down by the monsters of his past, who end up working their way into his novels (which, incidentally, end up bringing him a great deal of success — not unlike the writer who created him).
3. Michael C. Hall As Bill Denbrough – 2nd Choice
Assuming Hawke doesn’t answer the call, that leaves us with someone who shares a similar sort of inner-turmoil, but comes at it from a different angle: Michael C. Hall. This is a man who made a serial killer sympathetic. He’s sort of your classic actor with a biting edge. And while Bill Denbrough is an optimist through and through (all things considered), Hall has already proven many times over that his natural charm doesn’t jar with his pathos, but compliments it.
In the Losers’ Club, Ben is the planner and Richie is the joker, but Bill is the thinker. He mulls and he wonders, and he approaches his inner (and outer) demons with a controlled pace… even though his sense of control may only be for show most of the time. So, to make that feel honest and earned, the role needs to be filled by someone who has experience with these sorts of elements. You need Mr. MCH himself.
2. Jesse Plemons As Henry Bowers – 1st Choice
First thing’s first, it couldn’t be more clear that Henry Bowers is definitely not part of the Losers’ Club. That said, seeing as he survives the events of Pennywise’s 1984 attack on Derry, Maine, and is the lone survivor of his miserly gang of punks, his portrayal in the sequel is worth mentioning.
As a kid, Bowers is your run of the mill teenage sadist (wait, can teenage sadists be “run of the mill?”). He’s a lean, mean, dog-killing machine. But as an adult, after he’s been tried for the murders that were actually pulled off by the titular It itself, he really let’s himself go, sinking into an even more delusional (and impressionable) version of his younger self. And seeing as Jesse Plemons (who is considerably younger than the character himself) has an almost effortless ability to play both sides of the good and evil spectrum with unquestionable perfection, tackling Henry Bowers may very well do enough justice to the character as fans of the novel could ever hope for.
1. Ryan Phillippe As Henry Bowers – 2nd Choice (Bonus Entry)
Actors are usually always at their best when they catch the “good guy gone bad” bug. And when you tack them on a creative comeback tour, the combination is often a match made in heaven. (John Travolta and Matthew McConaughey especially come to mind.) So, with that said, maybe Ryan Phillippe has reached his time to shine. He had the taste of a comeback with his series Shooter, but tackling a no-holds-barred Stephen King villain could be the elevation he was looking for all along.
By the time Henry Bowers is an adult, he’s institutionalized and broken beyond repair. And as a result, it doesn’t take much effort to make him a bona fide pawn of Pennywise. So, to make him feel authentic, it’s vital that the actor playing him has to feel stripped down and raw, and taking Phillippe out of his familiar elements could do the character an unexpected sort of justice.
Can you think of better actors for the It sequel? Sound off in the comments!
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