Losers Club

Even before director Andy Muschietti‘s It hit theaters and made the kind of money usually reserved for superhero movies, there was talk of a sequel. And how could there not be? The film adapts only half of Stephen King‘s massive 1,200 page novel, eschewing the storyline that follows the grown-up “Losers’ Club” as they reassemble 27 years later to finish Pennywise (or rather, It) off once and for all.

So that means the sequel has a tough act to follow when it comes to casting. The kid actors in It are wonderful and their chemistry feels real and they power the beautiful coming-of-age story that wins your heart between the scares. Casting their adult counterparts and doing justice to these original performances is going to be tricky.

And that’s why we’re here to help.

Jacob Hall, Ben Pearson, and Ethan Anderton teamed up brainstorm who they’d cast as the grown-up Losers in It: Chapter 2. We only had one real rule: the casting had to be somewhat realistic, actors who you could actually see joining the project and not an ensemble of overpriced movie stars. Jacob and Ben worked from having read the original book; Ethan made his choices based purely on the child performances themselves (with limited guidance from the King fans on staff).

Note: This article contains details from Stephen King’s original novel that have not yet been revealed in the film adaptation. Everything written here occurs early enough in the “adult” section of the story that we have decided that knowledge of these plot points will not ruin the experience for new fans. However, those wanting to go in completely blind should proceed with caution.

losers club kids bill

Bill Denbrough

The Kid We Know: The leader of the Losers’ Club whose stutter sometimes masks what a brave, loyal, and noble friend he is to those who look to him for guidance.

The Adult We’ll Meet: A massively successful horror novelist, happily married and adapting one of his books into a screenplay. His stutter is gone. Until he gets a phone call from Mike Hanlon…

casting adult losers club james badge dale

Option 1: James Badge Dale

Bill Denbrough demands an actor who’s soft-spoken but commanding, a kind of presence that feels as reassuring as it does compassionate. This is a side of James Badge Dale, an actor who has flirted with movie stardom several times while kicking ass in supporting roles, that I would like to see. Casting a “movie star” in this role may feel tempting, but it’s Bill’s anonymity, his basic human decency, that makes him a compelling hero. There’s an everyman quality to Dale that feels just right for the grown-up Bill. He also has a soft-spoken toughness about him, so watching his Bill revisit – and get broken by – his childhood traumas should make for a truly unsettling experience. (Jacob Hall)

Mark Duplass It

Option 2: Mark Duplass

Bill can sometimes be a hard character to picture in King’s novel. The rest of the Losers’ Club looks to him for guidance, and he has an ineffable quality of leadership that’s difficult to pin down. But Bill’s also the straight man of the group, so in addition to looking somewhat like an older version of Jaeden Lieberher, my ideal adult version of the character is an actor who’s good at playing a regular guy but also has the ability to take things to the next level when called upon. Duplass checks all of those boxes. He can express the steely determination Bill has to have, and the level-headedness to corral his fellow Losers and keep them focused on their ultimate goal. Bonus: we catch up with adult Bill working as a writer on a Hollywood screenplay, and considering all of the actual writing Duplass has done in his career, that’s a nice little meta connection. Plus there’s the practicality of it all: Duplass would be way cheaper to hire than an A-list superstar. (Ben Pearson)

Michael C. Hall

Option 3: Michael C. Hall

Even though Bill is the one who convinces the Losers’ Club to follow Pennywise down into his sewer layer, there’s a timidity to his bravery in the face of danger. Picturing Bill as an adult who must face that fear again, I can’t think of anyone better than Michael C. Hall to inherit the part. On the Showtime series Dexter, Hall was mostly in control as the serial killer of people with questionable morals. But he also brought with him a nervous uncertainty due to his concern about getting caught. Though Bill has lost his stutter and has become a successful novelist not unlike Stephen King, the character needs that hint of fear to fall back on, and Hall can play that perfectly. (Ethan Anderton)

losers club kids bev

Beverly Marsh

The Kid We Know: The lone girl amongst the Losers, whose battle with the evil clown in the sewers has nothing on her monstrous, abusive father.

The Adult We’ll Meet: A successful fashion designer living in Chicago, Illinois who, in an echo of her childhood trauma, is in an abusive relationship with her husband and business partner.

casting adult losers club jessica chastain

Option 1: Jessica Chastain

In many ways, Jessica Chastain feels like the “easy” choice to the adult Beverly, but there’s a strong chance that she’s also the right choice. In addition to looking very much like a grown-up version of Sophia Lillis, she previously worked with director Andy Muschietti on his first feature film, the horror movie Mama. So Chastain already has a relationship with the director and she’s not above starring in a horror movie and she’s a tremendous actress who can capture the nuances of adult Beverly, a troubled woman at war with the literal ghosts of her past. (Jacob Hall)

Bryce Dallas Howard It

Option 2: Bryce Dallas Howard

When we meet adult Beverly in the book, she’s stuck in an abusive relationship with her husband – a man she later admits reminded her of her own father. (Remember the dirtbag dad in the movie? He’s way worse in the book.) Bryce Dallas Howard has a passivity and vulnerability that fits Bev’s older persona, but she also has a quiet strength that makes her a natural fit to play a pushover who slowly comes into her own and takes her life back into her own hands. The characters begin to slip back into their Losers’ Club dynamic from their youth when they reunite as adults, and I think Howard could pick up where Sophia Lillis left off. I can picture Howard’s face as a flood of repressed memories rush back to Beverly about what the Losers endured as kids, a mixture of terror, shock, anguish, and dread flashing through her all at once. She’d ace it. (Ben Pearson)

maggiehyllenhaal-strangerthanfiction

Option 3: Maggie Gyllenhaal

The top choices for playing Beverly Marsh go for three of the most popular red-haired actresses working today: Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain and Amy Adams. They’re names have all been thrown around for the role because they’re great in front of the camera and they have naturally red hair. But I’d like to go outside of the latter physical detail and pick someone who has the acting chops to knock the role out of the park, even if she lacks the freckles. Maggie Gyllenhaal has both the confidence and nuance in her performances to play a character like Beverly Marsh, especially as a grown woman who has been beaten down, literally and metaphorically, by both her past and her present. (Ethan Anderton)

Continue Reading Our Choices for the It Sequel Cast >>

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