Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema are still celebrating the blockbuster success of their adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. The success of the film has since given IT: Chapter Two the greenlight with an official release date set for 2019. IT: Chapter Two will reunite audiences with the Losers Club 30 years after they defeated Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard).
Skarsgard was one of the most impressive aspects of the IT, displaying both a deceptive charm and a sinister nature that effortlessly distanced him from Tim Curry’s portrayal of the same character in the 1990 miniseries.
Skarsgard recently spoke with IGN, in which he revealed that he hopes that IT: Chapter Two will further explore the demented mind of Pennywise:
“The first movie worked so well at what it is trying to do, I think, and ultimately that is the kids’ story, and you follow these kids and you sort of fall in love with these kidsAnd the second one will be the adult story. And I think the right way to do it is to make that movie actively different. … I think there might be worth exploring sort of the psychological aspects of horror, but also maybe the sort of cosmological existence of this being. What is he, and where does he come from?
I’m gonna get through those 1200 pages, I guess, at least one more time before going into the part two of that film.
And, you know, it’s hardly answered in the novel, either. I mean, it’s very abstract. And I kind of like that. It could be almost a sort of [serialized] sort of psychedelic trip if you go into the mind of Pennywise. And if you’ve read the novel you know that they do actually go into his mind. Or they go into this transdimensional place, and they sort of beat him in this place. Which might be interesting, what that place would be, and what would it look like. There’s opportunities, I think, and I’m excited for it.”
Part of what makes King’s novels so powerful is how he dives deep into the minds of his characters. Pennywise is one of, if not King’s most popular creation and IT: Chapter Two has the incredible opportunity to further explore Pennywise and his impact on the other characters on a deeper psychological level.
The film stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris. Here’s the official synopsis:
Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A group of young kids face their biggest fears when they seek answers to the disappearance of children in their hometown of Derry, Maine. They square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
IT is now playing. Meanwhile, IT: Chapter Two floats into theaters on September 6, 2019, with Skarsgard and the young cast returning along with new actors coming in to play the older versions of the Losers Club.
10 Stephen King Adaptations Hollywood Needs To Get Right
With The Dark Tower and It, two of King’s most famous and beloved works, reaching the big screen, it feels like the gates are opening on a new age of Stephen King adaptations
Already we’ve seen 1) a new Carrie movie, 2) Under the Dome and 11/22/63 get TV adaptations 3) Netflix’s upcoming Gerald’s Game, 4) a TV series based on the Mr. Mercedes trilogy, 5) Josh Boone looks to make Revival his follow-up to X-Men: The New Mutants, 5) a new version of Hearts in Atlantis is in the works (just called Hearts) and 6) a Cujo remake, with the amazing title of C.U.J.O. Even Cell got made, plus a personal favorite of mine The Mist is back in the form of a new Syfy series airing later this year (based on both the original novella and Frank Darabont’s superb 2007 film).
Our age of cinematic universes feels tailor-made for the world-renowned author. King is known not only for his productivity but for how his stories interlock together in the same universe (multiverse, if you want to get specific). His entire oeuvre is connected by characters, locations, and events, all centered around the literal and figurative Dark Tower, the structure and book series sit at the center of King’s worlds. Of course, no one entity owns the rights to all of King’s works, so we won’t be seeing, say, Pennywise the Dancing Clown say hi to Idris Elba’s gunslinger in a movie anytime soon, but it speaks to King’s continued relevance.
There are, of course, the adaptations that are sacrosanct and need to no update, plus others where we are simply waiting to see if they happen. Speaking of Darabont, he delivered a trilogy of amazing King adaptations in my opinion between The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. Rob Reiner also mastered the artform, giving us Stand by Me and Misery. There’s already a perfectly-good The Dead Zone movie and TV show. The Tommyknockers and Desperation got the miniseries treatment in 1991 and 2006, respectively. The latter came with a teleplay by King himself, while the former was announced for a new miniseries back in 2013 along with Rosemary’s Baby, the failure of which may have something to do with the radio silence since the announcement. The Shining is actually not one, with King famously disliking the Stanley Kubrick film enough to make a miniseries of his own to “correct” the record (and a Shining prequel is first on our list).
While some works defy or seek re-adaptation, the breadth of the man’s work means there’s plenty of new stuff to mine in the coming years as well. Click Next to learn which to watch out for!
Honorable mentions: The Dark Half, Dolores Claiborne, Apt Pupil, Dreamcatcher