'It' Star Jaeden Lieberher on Leading the Losers' Club, Adjusting to Life After a Box-Office Hit
One week after It set records at the box office with a $185 million global take, its young stars are still riding the wave of newfound super-stardom.
While Bill Skarsgard's demonic Pennywise may have fans squirming in their seats, it is the close-knit gang of misfits known as the Losers' Club that serve as the emotional core at the center of the horrific Stephen King adaptation.
Heat Vision breakdown
Heat Vision caught up with young actor Jaeden Lieberher, who stars as the stuttering leader of the Losers' Club, Bill Denbrough, to talk about the film's massive reception, the relationships formed on set battling an evil interdimensional clown and what to look forward to in the upcoming 2019 sequel.
Congratulations, this film is a huge success. How has the reaction to It differed from that of previous films you’ve worked on?
This has been the most incredible reaction of any film that I’ve done, of course. I’m just amazed by how many people are going out to see it. I’m just so happy people are going to see it and enjoying it. It’s totally different from anything I’ve done before.
Have you been recognized more since the film’s release?
Not really. I mean, it’s happened a few times. But I’ve been working so I haven’t really been going out more.
What do you think made the movie such a big success?
I think that it’s not only scary, and people love horror movies, but that’s not all it’s about. We also have an audience for the comedic parts, and the people who loved the book and the mini-series, and for people who were there for the heartwarming friendship between the Losers' Club. So there’s a lot of people who are there for a lot of different reasons.
Your costars in the Losers' Club seem to really have a genuine friendship. What’s that relationship like on and off set?
Our relationship is really like the Losers' Club. What you see onscreen is all real. I made best friends working on this movie and as the movie went on we got closer because no kids really get to experience fighting a demon killer clown together. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You play the leader of the Losers' Club in the film. Do you have a similar role in the group in real life?
Well, I think that all of us are very similar to our characters and we do have that similar dynamic. I think sometimes I can be a leader. Obviously, just like Bill who messes around with his friends and has a good time, but when it gets serious he’s the one who takes action. I guess I’m similar to that in when it’s time to film I’m the one telling them to keep quiet. But sometimes I’m the one who gets told what to do by someone else, too.
How’d you develop Bill’s stutter in the film?
It was definitely difficult and something unique that I’ve never done before. For the audition, I knew this character stuttered, so I watched like a million YouTube videos of different people stuttering. I watched Colin Firth in The King’s Speech, I watched tutorials on how to stutter and different kids stuttering. I got kind of used to stuttering so when I read my lines I would find certain words or certain letters that I would like to stutter on and as soon as I read the lines it came out automatically.
How frightening was it to be on set with Skarsgard’s Pennywise?
It is kind of frightening when you’re around him in his makeup and wardrobe, and he’s so tall. It is the weirdest thing though when he’s talking to you, and he’s a normal human being asking you how school is going, how the shoot is going. He’s really nice. He was kind of secluded from us for awhile, so we didn’t get to know him that well, which makes sense for the character. When he did get into the scene it was terrifying.
Have you had a chance to meet Stephen King?
No, not yet.
Are you a fan of King? Have you read any of his books?
I haven’t read his books, but of course I am a fan because everyone has seen the [adaptations] of his works.
Do you have a favorite King movie?
Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me and The Shining are all classic movies. And It, obviously [Laughs].
Did you watch the 1990 version of It before filming the movie?
I did watch the mini-series, but I didn’t necessarily do it for research to create the character. I did it more out of curiosity to see what the other actors did. Also because I feel like when you’re doing a remake it’s just your duty to watch the other one, but you don’t want to copy it exactly.
Are you and the rest of the young Losers' Club going to return for the 2019 sequel?
Yes, I think they’ve announced that we are going to be in the second one. I’m so happy and excited for that.
Do you have an actor you want to play the grown-up Bill?
This is always a hard question. Maybe Ewan McGregor, possibly?
Why do you think horror movies are so popular right now?
I think that people like them because of the adrenaline rush they get from it. Also, I don’t know why, but people like to torture themselves and get nightmares.
Did you get nightmares from watching It?
Not really, but I’m not the biggest horror film watcher. I definitely don’t watch that many horror films. I don’t like to get scared.
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