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One of the most brutal and saddest moments in Stephen King’s 1986 novel will be featured in the upcoming It: Chapter Two.
Shortly after the first trailer dropped for the highly anticipated sequel, screenwriter Gary Dauberman confirmed Thursday in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that the book’s hate crime against a gay boy would be in the film. (It was not included in the 1990 TV miniseries.)
“It is an iconic scene in the book and one we wanted to include in the movie,” Dauberman says of the beating of the character named Adrian Mellon (Xavier Dolan), who is then murdered by Pennywise.
“It is the first attack in present-day Derry and sets the stage for what Derry has become,” explains Dauberman. “It is the influence of Pennywise even while he is hibernating, and it’s pure evil what happens to Adrian. These bullies working through Pennywise was important for us to show.”
The first trailer for It: Chapter Two is nearly three minutes in length and opens with another memorable moment from the King novel: the Mrs. Kersh scene in which Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) visits her childhood home in Derry looking for her father and instead finds a witch.
Dauberman credits director Andy Muschietti for the mood of that scene.
“All that tension you’re getting there, that’s pure Muschietti for me,” Dauberman says of the condensed scene from the trailer. “He does such a great job of taking a moment and making a meal of it. It’s a master class of filmmaking, this scene.”
And yes, just like in the book, Dauberman confirms (“We try to be true to the novel”) adult Beverly will be the victim of domestic violence, which is alluded to in the trailer with her arms bruised. Sophia Lillis plays teen Beverly.
Dauberman was done with his draft for Chapter Two before casting began, but he says Barry star Bill Hader was the top choice to play Richie Tozier. Finn Wolfhard plays teen Richie.
Still, after the Saturday Night Live vet was locked in for the picture, Dauberman peppered in some jokes (“You can pitch jokes on the page and hope it plants a seed in his head”) but one pitch, in particular, did not land with Hader.
“He does a great [Al] Pacino impression, and I wrote that into the script, but he said, ‘I’ve done that on SNL. I don’t want to do that,'” says Dauberman.
The screenwriter did not want to discuss how much time the viewers will spend with the young Losers, but did say of the youthful bunch, “Fans of the first film will be pleased. They’re definitely a presence in this movie.” And as for the horror and frights, Dauberman says Chapter Two is “definitely bloodier than the first and it is just as scary, if not scarier. The two movies feel like a complete whole. This feels like a natural progression and extension of the first.”
Despite 2017’s It being a massive hit both critically and commercially, Dauberman admits he still has not reached out to King for his impression, even though he has heard the iconic author really enjoyed the work.
“I have countless email drafts for him, and I have been wanting to reach out, but it is hard to figure out what I would say that doesn’t sound so trite,” he says. “I need to reach out to him, but I have such a fear of rejection. I don’t want to send the email and hear nothing back and be like, ‘Oh… fuck.'”
Warner Bros. and New Line’s It: Chapter Two is set to bow Sept. 6. Barbara Muschietti, Dan Lin and Roy Lee are producing. Executive producing are Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg.
In addition to his work on It, Dauberman’s busy horror schedule includes making his directorial debut with Annabelle Comes Home, which is set to open June 26.
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