James McAvoy Didn't Get Much Advice Out Of Stephen King While Researching His Role For It

When the "It" film series was preparing for its second installment, few were more jazzed than star James McAvoy, who would get to meet celebrated author Stephen King. "It: Chapter 2" is the latter of a two-part adaptation of King's behemoth 1986 novel, "It," released a couple of years after the first "It" in 2017. (Neither should be confused with the adapted 1990 miniseries, which enjoyed a streaming boost this summer.)

McAvoy stars as the adult iteration of William "Bill" Denbrough, whom audiences met in "Chapter One" as the adolescent, resolute leader of the ragtag Losers Club. Along with fellow kids Beverly Marsh, Richie Tozier, Mike Hanlon, Ben Hanscom, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stanley Uris, young Bill battles the supernatural entity of the title who takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a clown responsible for several cycles of child deaths in Derry, Maine. When Pennywise resurfaces 27 years after the Losers defeated him in 1989, Mike gathers the old band back together for a final showdown with evil.

McAvoy went into his meeting with King hoping to gain sage insight into his character, who suffers from intense guilt from the loss of his little brother, Georgie, to It. Then King delivered some heavy news about his recollections. McAvoy told Yahoo:

"It was pretty awesome, as a fan of his, and a fan of many of his books. And a lot of his books actually cross-pollinate as well, with characters and themes showing up, and realms, worlds, realties kind of blending into different series. It was really fun to kind of quiz him about some of that. But his answer was generally, 'Well, you know, James, the thing you have to remember is that I was high as a kite when I wrote that and I don't remember.'"

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The King of Horror hasn't been shy about his battle with addiction. Speaking about his early alcoholism, he once told the Guardian, "there was never a time for me when the goal wasn't to get as hammered as I could possibly afford to." That interview came in 2000, in the wake of a 1999 car accident that left the "Carrie" author with a shattered leg, a pulverized hip, a collapsed lung, and over a week's worth of surgeries. King returned to his desk shortly after recovering, and his master class memoir "On Writing" hit bookshelves the following year.

In it, he describes landmarks on the way to addiction: his first time getting drunk in high school on a senior class trip, delivering a eulogy while intoxicated, and adding cocaine and pill addiction to his routine in the '80s. With "a vague sense of sorrow and loss," he acknowledges that he can't remember writing "Cujo" — unfortunately, "It" was one of the great stories he wrote in a similar state. His demons found their way into his work, most notably in "Misery," King's 1987 novel about a writer held against his will by his biggest fan. He writes in his memoir:

"I did think, though — as well as I could in my addled state — what finally decided me [on quitting drugs] was Annie Wilkes. Annie was coke, Annie was booze, and I decided I was tired of being Annie's pet writer. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to work anymore if I quit drinking and drugging, but I decided that I would trade writing for staying married and watching the kids grow up. If it came to that."

King would embrace sobriety and keep writing all the while: "Needful Things" and "The Stand" would emerge from his recovery period.