While ‘It’ is undeniably terrifying the bond and dynamic between The Losers’ Club makes the film buoyant with heart and humor.
That’s primarily down to the terrific casting of Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, Sophia Lilis as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris, and Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, who imbue ‘It’ with a personality and charisma that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Of course, The Losers’ Club’s main duty in ‘It’ is to be scared witless and physically and mentally scarred by Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise The Dancing Clown. The fact that the audience is as equally petrified as the characters when we see them in these dire situations speaks volumes of author Stephen King, director Andy Muschietti, and the young cast themselves.
I recently spoke to the insanely talented group of actors about ‘It’, how they instantly became best friends, and what it was like being hounded by Pennywise. Not only did it quickly become apparent that the combination of their personalities is insatiable, but also that they each have the grace and intelligence of much older individuals, too. Basically, they’re better as teenagers than most of us are as adults. Read below to find out exactly why.
What was your first meeting like?
Jeremy: When we first met we really just clicked. It felt like we’d been friends for 27 years. I think we really won the lottery with this cast, and I don’t think you could have got a better cast.
Wyatt: The first time we all met each other? Wow, that feels so long ago. When we all first came together it was in our acting coach’s Ben’s room, and we just began to trust each other immediately. We went straight into trust falls, and doing scenes with each other, and singing songs with each other, it helped to develop our bond quickly. It was quite the journey.
Finn: Production had to make sure that we could ride a bike. So we had to go on all these bike rides together.
Chosen: I think Jeremy couldn’t ride a bike, so he had some extra training before we went to Toronto to film. And then he still picked the most difficult bike to ride out of all of us, so it was even more difficult for him.
How did you make the characters your own?
Wyatt: All the characters having such different traits. Being so different really helped us to bond with each of our characters, because that’s exactly why Andy cast us. That negated the effort that was needed to get into these roles.
Finn: We wanted to put as much of ourselves into these characters as possible.
Jaeden: For me it was kind of scary to play the character that I did and be in the movie like I did because Stephen King wrote these characters and put a lot of effort into them. And the people who already played the characters in the mini-series are brilliant. It was scary, but also a lot of fun, because a lot of us kind of seeped our own personalities into the characters in a way that I thought was interesting.
How was it being terrified by Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise?
Wyatt: The way they planned it was ingenious, because we didn’t get to see him for the first two months of filming. That’s when we shot the biking and the funny scenes. So the first time we saw him it was raw, because that was our natural reaction on the screen. Whenever Andy said, ‘Cut,’ though, he’d turn back into Bill Skarsgaard.. But he would always get prepared to turn into Pennywise because it was such a difficult transformation. Bill is such a sweet dude, but Pennywise is a child-eating monster.
Jack: There was a three minute period before the camera started rolling where he’d start talking to himself and getting into character, and I wouldn’t want to interact with him, because he might freak out. And once he is in the scene he doesn’t back down. There’s no more Bill Skarsgaard, he’s just Pennywise.
Sophia: I have a lot of scenes where he is choking me. And he is a really nice guy in person, and I talked to him about my school, and going into high school, and how I worked. But sometimes he’d have to try to choke me, so he’d put his arms around my neck. Sometimes the camera wasn’t on his side, though. So he’d have to keep his hands on my neck but you couldn’t see his face, and we’d just talk to each other.
What was it like working with Andy Muschietti?
Chosen: Part of ‘It’s’ genius is in the way that Stephen King writes the story, but it’s also down to how Andy tells the story. Because this film is so much more than a horror film. 'It' has such a hilarious and touching balance. It is extremely scary, but then the story is mainly about a group of kids who are just trying to make it in life, but people don’t even trust them. But within this group they can be trusted. It’s so crucial, and such a good message.
Jaeden: It was really awesome, because Andy was so open to us, and he allowed our suggestions, without ever being bossy about it. He would allow us to direct our own characters at the same time as he was. He’s still so talented, and helps us to understand who are characters are, and helped us to develop them.
Who should play each of you in It: Chapter 2?
Wyatt: I think for me it would probably be Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I think we’re kind of similar looking so it could work.
Chosen: I would love Chadwick Boseman.
Finn: I think Bill Hader would be great as Richie.
Sophia: I would pick Jessica Chastain. Especially because Andy has worked with her before in his other movie ‘Mama’, and she does somewhat resemble me in a way, and I think she’d be a perfect fit for Beverly.
Jaeden: Ewan McGregor
Jeremy: I think I’d want my character to be played by Chris Pratt. [My character] gets fit and buff, and Chris Pratt kind of looks like me.
Jack: Maybe Jack Gyllenhaal, because we have the same features.
Are you now terrified of clowns?
Finn: Kind of developed a little something.
Chosen: I didn’t really have a big fear of clowns at before, but now that I see Pennywise I get it.
You can develop your own fear of clowns and watch The Losers' Club in all of their glory when ‘It’ finally hits cinemas on September 8th.