it 2017 movie 3

In the book, the sort of burgeoning sexuality subtext stops being subtext at the end of the book. With the movie, you’re not doing that, but is there something you thought of to replace that or sort of get that feel across?

Well, I think the whole story […] approaches the theme of growing up, and the group sex episode in the book is a bit of a metaphor of the end of childhood and into adulthood. And I don’t think it was really needed in the movie, apart that it was very hard to allow us to shoot an orgy in the movie so, I didn’t think it was necessary because the story itself is a bit of a journey, and it illustrates that. And in the end, the replacement for it is the scene with the blood oath, where everyone sort of says goodbye. Spoiler. The blood oath scene is there and it’s the last time they see each other as a group. It’s unspoken. And they don’t know it, but it’s a bit of a foreboding that this is the last time, and being together was a bit of a necessity to beat the monster. Now that the monster recedes, they don’t need to be together. And also because their childhood is ending, and their adulthood is starting. And that’s the bittersweet moment of that sequence.

Was there a line where you were like, “I’m not going to go as weird as the book”? Or do you make a nod to the turtle, or the forest that’s behind what’s drawing them together, kind of equaling the forces behind Pennywise? Because he’s not a clown, there’s something bigger underneath it all.

I was never too crazy about the mythology, but it is mentioned, and the turtle appears, as a Lego. It’s a Lego turtle. It’s a presence that’s there in the key moments of the story. Especially when— there’s a moment where they’re all together — well, you’ll see in the movie. I won’t spoil you.

Is it referred to, or is it just like an Easter egg in the background?

It’s a bit of an Easter egg. There’s a scene where they’re screaming and it’s the first time the group comes together, and they’re in a quarry and they’re having fun, and you think there’s something under the water…  I think Richie says “Who the fuck was that?” And Bill goes under the water and says “It’s a turtle.” We don’t see it. And that’s it.

Some directors have a very whimsical, nostalgic perspective on childhood. Others have a much harsher viewpoint. Where do you sort of stand between say like, Steven Spielberg and Larry Clark?

That’s a great question. But it’s somewhere in the middle. It’s not like [an] idealized vision of it. And it’s a wide range. The movie, the tone of the movie regarding what childhood is and experiences of childhood is pretty wide. There’s the Spielberg moments and there’s the Larry Clark moments.

I think you reached out to Stephen King, but you weren’t able to talk to him, right? 

Yeah.

Is his sort of seal of approval maybe important to you guys, maybe down the line?

I’m very happy making an adaptation, my interpretation of the story, and I would be thrilled to meet Stephen King, but there comes a time in the process where you start feeling good with your interpretation of it, and your contribution to the story, and it doesn’t feel like I want to discuss my ideas with him, you know? I don’t know. It feels like something that I would be embarrassed to tell him, you know? “Your words and your moments don’t work,” right?

What part of Stephen King do you feel is the most cinematic, though? Because that’s always been a problem, that things are incredibly uneven, the language doesn’t really translate, or if you go too far away you have kind of high art like The Shining that doesn’t resemble Stephen King at all. So what do you feel the elements that are cinematic, especially the way that you’re viewing Stephen King?

I am a fan of his broad tone in general. But sometimes I think that he’s — he goes — there’s some extremes that I’m not crazy about. When he gets too scatalogical, it throws me off. Scenes like the orgy, the end [of the It novel], I never felt like the story needed it. But I don’t know what to say.

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How are you approaching the scenes with Georgie getting killed?  How are you approaching that in terms of making it fun for a horror audience, while still going, boy, we’re killing little kids here, you know, and making it horrifying?

Well, the Georgie death is pretty gruesome.

In your movie?

Yeah. But you have to know something, which is, maybe that you shouldn’t publish it, but in this story, there is no confirmation that Georgie is dead. He’s attacked by Pennywise, and he’s missing an arm, and he tries to get away from the sewer, like he’s dragged into it again, leaving a trail of blood, but his body is never found. And that’s what prompts Bill, that’s basically Bill’s motivation in the story, is finding Georgie alive.

Is this movie supposed to be fun?

It is fun.

Yeah?

Yeah.

It’s a good time?

Yeah. 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. And also, I have to say, the actors that I’m working with, they share the DNA of their own characters. In a way that there’s a point where I like to make them improvise, and the stuff that comes out of that freedom is amazing.

Barbara [Muschietti] mentioned a few things that you just couldn’t do for budgetary reasons. What is a moment from the book that you really, really wanted to do, but couldn’t do it? For that reason, too expensive.

So there’s not anything from the book that I couldn’t do for budgetary reasons, but there are two sequences that I thought of that I had to postpone until more money comes. One is a flashback, that sort of portrays the first encounter of It and humans, which is an amazing scene. And the other is a dream, where Bill sees— he’s leaning on a bridge, in Derry, and he’s spitting on the Kenduskeag Stream, and suddenly he sees the reflection of a balloon. And he looks up and it’s not one balloon, but a bunch of balloons, and then he starts to see body parts, and the shot goes wider and it’s a multitude of dead kids floating. I couldn’t afford it.

Can we talk about The Black Spot [a key location from the original novel]? Is that what you’re referencing? Because Barbara mentioned like opening the next movie with that would be pretty awesome, and I tend to agree.

The next one is a little warped, in the story. The ones who are going to die in a fire in this adaptation are Mike’s parents. And this tragic event is directly in relation with his fear, which is a traumatic image of his parents dying. And he witnessed this as a baby, and it’s an image that’s in his head, and comes back when Pennywise basically incarnates and this image, which is white, abstract, it’s not a monster, it’s just an image. It’s terrifying.

***

It opens on September 8, 2017.

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