It MPAA rating

It is the story of a shapeshifting monster that takes on the form of a clown named Pennywise so it can murder children. And yet, millions of people first encountered this tale as a television miniseries. In 1990. On ABC. To say that the beloved television adaptation was watered down from the source material would be an understatement.

For the new big screen adaptation of Stephen King‘s classic novel, director Andy Muschietti has embraced the R-rating, aiming for a version that can capture the uncomfortable darkness of the source material. During a set visit to the film’s Toronto set last year, he and producer Barbara Muschietti shared the details on why they’re embracing the rating…and focusing on practical effects whenever possible.

When asked about the rating, Andy Muschietti confirmed that the studio always knew this was going to be an R-rated movie. “The project was always, from the early development, it was R-rated,” he said, elaborating:

It’s great that it’s R, you know, because it’s in the essence and the spirit of the original work. So it was good news that the studio wanted to make an R movie. Which is, you know, infrequent. So it’s rare.

Barbara Muschietti noted that knowing that they had the R-rating and knowing that they could be as intense as they wanted was something of a relief. “The MPAA is absolutely unpredictable…just like Pennywise! You don’t know!” she joked. And while the film will embrace the R-rating and provide its fair share of violence, she also insisted that it will value tension over gore:

At least you don’t have to limit the amount of times you can say “fuck.” You just go for it. We’re not necessarily gory people. […] There are a lot of bloody moments, that’s for sure, but the thing is, I think Andy’s a master builder and that’s where we operate better. That’s where we make the fear happen, when you’re just sitting on the edge of your seat shitting your pants rather than being splattered by guts all over.

When asked if those bloody moments will utilize practical effects over CGI, she insisted “Yes, as many as possible.” She adds:

I disengage when I see too much CG. That me and that’s Andy, and that’s actually New Line, too. And to be candid again, the effects budget is actually tiny [laughs]. There’s always support. We use CG mostly for transitions. So when you have things that are impossible then you have to do a little CG bridge, let’s call it.

And while Andy Muschietti promises that “the Georgie death is pretty gruesome” (referring to the murder that opens the story in the book and movie), he promises a film that is emotional and yes, even funny:

It is fun. It’s a horror movie, but it’s quite emotional too, and there’s a lot of humor. And I’m not saying this in a Hollywood way. It’s just part of the essence of the mood that I wanted to stick to and the characters themselves. Richie and Henry and Ben, these are characters that are colorful, and Stanley with OCD, there’s all kinds of neuroses in the group that if you don’t show them the way they are, with certain lightness, it gets too dour.

It opens in theaters on September 8, 2017.

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