After a couple of minor roadblocks and setbacks, not to mention a few decades sat in tentative development hell, the remake of Stephen King’s It is finally entering production. Made into a two-part TV film in 1990, one that has since earned its status as a cult classic, the film strayed away from the darker, more supernatural roots of the novel, since the filmmakers had neither the budget nor technology to bring King’s unique vision to life. As a result, we have a film that only resembled the novel in brief parts, and left fans of the book a little dissatisfied. Since 1990, people have wanted to see a new imagining of It, one that brings the unbridled, visceral horror of Derry to the big screen.
Well, in 2017, they will finally get their wish.
Filming for It begins in July, and is set to take place in Toronto. After a couple of casting rumors and a few departures — details can be found below — the film is finally rolling along, and the project has some key characters in place. Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove) was cast as Pennywise the Dancing Clown last week, a story revealed by the Hollywood Reporter, and several young actors were cast as the male members of the infamous Losers Club, but the casting hasn’t stopped there. This weekend, it has been revealed that another key child character has been cast — but this one hardly featured in the 1990 original.
The Hollywood Reporter is at it again, and they have revealed that Owen Teague has been cast as secondary antagonist Patrick Hockstetter. Teague is best known for his acclaimed role in Netflix’s Bloodline, where he plays Nolan Rayburn. He will join fellow actors Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, and Jeremy Ray Taylor, who play Losers Club members Bill Denbrough, Stanley Uris, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike Hanlon, and Ben Hanscom, respectively. Beverly Marsh, the only female member of the group, is yet to be cast.
Hockstetter is a bully who terrorizes the Losers Club. A psychopath through and through, he likes to lock injured animals in a broken refrigerator and leave them to suffer and die. He also keeps a pencil box full of dead flies handy, something he is always eager to share with his fellow students. During the novel, he has a reluctant but experimental sexual relationship with fellow bully Henry Bowers — a fellow antagonist — and the two share some very uncomfortable scenes together. Hockstetter also hides a dark, murderous secret that is in keeping with the content of It, and will probably shape his character in the film. Alongside fellow bullies Henry Bowers, Victor Criss, and Belch Huggins, not to mention Pennywise himself, the Losers Club certainly have their work cut out for them.
As with the 1990 version of It, the plan is to divide the film into two parts. The first part, which starts filming next month, will take place in the past and focus on the Losers Club, a group of ordinary children who discover and battle the mysterious entity It, who appears in the guise of Pennywise and various other horrific creatures. The second part will then shift focus to the present, where the Losers Club reunite as adults to finally end It’s reign of ungodly terror. It makes sense to split the material into two movies — after all, King’s novel is a tome at 1,138 pages, so doing it justice will require some serious screen time. Some of the more graphic, horrific images of the novel were also ignored for the first film, so the potential to see these appear on the big screen will please the fans all over the world.
It’s good news for the movie, a film that looked certain to fail after Cary Fukanaga — the man responsible for resurrecting the project and helping it see the light of day — left It due to creative differences. Despite various rumors of budget concerns, the director has quashed these as nonsense, stating that his excitable approach to the darkness of King’s material was too risqué for the studios’ liking. He revealed his reasons to Cinema Blend nine months ago.
“It’s never easy. Chase [Palmer] and I had been working on that script for probably three years. There was a lot of our childhood and our experience in it. Ultimately, we and New Line have to agree on the kind of movie we want to make, and we just wanted to make different movies. It’s like a relationship: you can try to make the other person who you want them to be, but it’s impossible really to change. You just have to work.”
The news didn’t get any better when Will Poulter, the actor originally cast as Pennywise, dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. A month later, and all seems to have righted itself again. With several key characters cast in the movie, Andy Muschietti (Mama) now at the helm, and production rolling ahead in July, it seems the fans will finally get the It movie they always wanted.
How will the Losers Club fare against It, Pennywise, Hockstetter, and all the other demons hidden beneath Derry? Find out when the first part of Stephen King’s It hits theaters on September 8, 2017. Remember, they all float down there, so approach with caution.
[Image via Warner Bros. Television]